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Schlagen aus der Nachhand

    What you call "mobile defense" (otherwise known as "elastic defense") was called by the Germans "Schlagen aus der Nachhand" (can't translate that; Nachhand is a highly unusual word now).


Ed: I've read that "elastic defense" is a better translation from German, but the US Army uses "mobile defense," probably because some may assume elastic defense means "defense in depth."  Another crafty WW II German tactic was to abandon the frontline when a Soviet offensive seemed imminent, leaving behind a few reconnaissance units to keep the front looking active.  Then the Soviet's massive artillery barrage would cause little damage and Soviet assault troops would run into the main German defense line two kilometers later, untouched by the barrage.

Intercepting Fist in Iraq ?

Did the Iraqi ‘resistance’ use this tactic of counterattack you refer to as Intercepting Fist in March of 2003?  Allowing the US spear to penetrate deep into Iraq, then counterattack the supply chain, spread out US troops,  and weaken allies of the US?  


Ed: An intercepting fist was used in small battles, accidentally.  It seems their defense plan was so screwed up they just attacked whatever they encountered. 

Great issue as always! 

The intercepting fist tactic is what is being used against us in Iraq.  Ever heard the old infantry adage, "if the enemy is falling back, its an ambush coming up."

Chess is good but the game of "Go" from Japan may be much better with its concept of territory acquisition.

Agree on seabasing.  I just think its a new way to spend money for something that U.S. industry can build.

Small commercial trucks - Great idea!

Films - no "Blackhawk Down?"  Please reconsider.  I could just be too influenced by the book.


I'll add "Blackhawk Down."  I was disappointed in the movie the first time I saw it because it was much more shallow than the great book.  I saw it again a couple months back; it's unique and has great combat scenes so I'll add it to the G2mil list.

Modern Jeeps

Wow. Excellent points. The Toyota is prevalent in the third world shitholes we fight in, they can be had in various configurations, 4wd, and diesel power. They're fast, agile, and pretty damn tough, considering. Basically, I support stripping them down to CUCV type specs. Goal is a light, mobile vehicle for scouting, loggo support, light-and-fast moves, spec ops, general a-to-b transit, and sale on the surplus market as a BOV.

Start with a base model. As stripped-out-work-truck as you can obtain it as. Even if it is special order. This means crank windows, manual door locks, bench seats, and a hose-out interior. Get Hi-Lo 4wd, automatic trans, everything possible heavy duty, and off-road options, such as limited-slip and low (numerically high) gear ratios. 4wd must be engaged with a lever, and hubs must not rely on electricity or vacuum to lock, IE they must be twist to lock, cable-pull-lock or full-time locked. AC is only allowed if they put it on a separate drive belt, instead of being part of the serpentine. That way when the compressor locks up it only snaps one belt, and it's a hot ride home instead of a long hot walk home. Color should be some kind of olive green or brown or other low-observable color, but do not make it look overly 'military.' Tan might be acceptable, or even white (which becomes dirt-road camo after operating in dusty areas.

Mount a stout yet compact front bumper and push-bar unit, and make it compatible with a winch. Not all will be equipped, but make the bumper the same. Try to make it not affect approach angle too badly. Consider a pre-screen for the radiator that can be removed and cleaned quickly to restore airflow to radiator. Consider if not a snorkel at least a high air intake not prone to flooding when fording water. Also put all vents (axle, PCV, etc) high on vehicle.

Consider a ballistically protective set of glass if not cost prohibitive. Do not alter appearance of truck. Also make sure mirrors are adequate and fold rather than fall off when struck.

Put mounts in cab for equipment. Install switches for dim-lights and other features. Consider a sun-roof design. Place it so it can be used as a top hatch to observe/fire from.

Mount good tires and wheels. Consider beadlocks and a CTIS system if not cost prohibitive. Any protective guards for driveline, if not expensive, would be nice. If stock pieces inadequate replace springs, shocks, bushings, stabilizers, and other such pieces with commercial off-road equipment, but do not modify mounts so that stock equipment could not be used for spares (IE you're in East Elbonia and need a shock, don't make it so you have to wait to install a Rancho RS9000 shipped from the US when he's got piles of stock Toyota shocks.) Make these aftermarket parts available as spares. Do what is possible to protect fuel tank, see about an auxiliary.

Make the bed from composite or spray in a Rhino-liner on pickup bed models. Come up with a way to securely mount light crew-served gear in there. Also come up with a seat and canopy system. Mount a stout rear bumper with a military standard hitch and hook-up.

The reason we need this is that:

The Hummer is expensive, consumes more resources, doesn't 'blend in', uses GM and proprietary components that may not be common outside the US, and is kinda big and heavy to use places where we could do better with a light civilian type vehicle. Armoring a Hummer is expensive and makes it perform poorly, and all you have is a heavy high consumption pickup truck with less payload and a slight protective level from small arms, IEDs, and light munitions. Sure, the Toyota "CUCV" would be even less armored, but the point is that it's not a tank, it's a pickup truck. If we can economize by using these for general purpose, then we can use that money to buy Strykers, Bradleys, M1s, armor vests, and other stuff that will help our soldiers more than just slapping hundreds of pounds of armor on an already heavy truck and telling them to leap into the fray, at least in my understanding. The Hummer, while an awesome off-road machine, has its limitations, due in part to its bulk. I think using a lighter vehicle for general purpose would free up Hummers to do jobs they're better at, and would let money be better spent. Plus, consider the possibilities for the surplus market!


Ed: I was surprised to come across this article http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2005/Feb/SB-Army_Not.htm in the excellent National Defense magazine which describes how the Army's Detroit research branch has been pitching the idea of a small, low-cost, reliable commercial truck.

Go is Better than Chess

     I was amused by your article on chess. I know it has a serious intent, but the simplicity caught my attention. At no time in my army training was something so simple mentioned.  But there is better; I think the Japanese game of 'Go' is superior to chess. It has only two pieces: white and black stones; which are used to 'capture territory' by some very simple rules. However, like a lot of oriental things, the simplicity belies a great complexity of thinking required for mastery. I still can't beat my computer in a 16 square game, let alone the full board, after a few years of on and off


Ed: Yes, others have said Go is a superior war game, there was a recent article in the Economist about it.  It seems the Chinese and Japanese are upset because this young Korean guy has beat all their champs.  (They consider Koreans inferiors.)  However, Americans don't know Go.

V-22 Update

Ed: The G2mil Winter issue included an internal USMC briefing as to why the V-22 Osprey is unsafe.  I have been provided with an updated and expanded version which I used to update that article:  Why the V-22 Osprey is Unsafe Note this new section:

The results of these numerical calculations confirmed my rough calculations and raised my concern level, which I communicated to DOT&E. Pursuant to this issue, in mid-2001, XXX, through DOT&E, requested the Program to conduct flight testing with V-22 to include three evasive maneuvers that I believe pilots might resort to in combat to avoid enemy fire.

In a subsequent technical interchange meeting in late 2002, the Bell/Boeing-NAVAIR team agreed, in principle, that the maneuvers should be done and embarked on an flight test program to include these maneuvers. To date these maneuvers have not been accomplished because the V-22 rotor control system repeatedly exceeded rotor disk flapping limits while approaching the requested conditions. The inability to maneuver V-22 in this fashion without exceeding rotor flapping limits is a serious safety concern in itself and argues against the ability of V-22 to safely perform evasive maneuvering in a combat environment.


This matches comments later in that article:

      Because of this lack of blade flexibility, sharp maneuvers have caused new lightweight composite parts in V-22s to break during testing, so further tests were recently cancelled. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an investigative report on September 26, 2004 by Bob Cox on recent V-22 testing which noted: 

Some testing was done. But a series involving specific, sharp defensive maneuvers was skipped after Bell engineers warned that it would severely damage the rotors, according to a source within the testing program who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job.

Several people told the Star-Telegram that the canceled tests are important.

Program officials feared the maneuvers would damage the aircraft.

Tom Christie, the chief weapons tester for the Pentagon, acknowledged to the Star-Telegram that the "most severe maneuvers" were not conducted during recent testing. When asked whether the skipped tests signal shortcomings that could affect the V-22's performance in combat, he did not answer directly.

"The tactical implications of this limitation have been carefully considered and will continue to be reviewed," he said.


In short; the V-22 cannot perform combat maneuvers around an LZ, or turn sharply to avoid small obstacles in an LZ, lest it roll over and kill everyone.  When flying into unknown LZs at night or in poor weather, it is not uncommon for a helicopter crew to notice a fence, ditch, large hole, cow, telephone wire, or other things right where they want to land, so the pilots must make a sharp maneuver to land nearby, which may surprise other helicopters in a formation causing them to maneuver sharply.  

However, the V-22 is not a helicopter, it is more like a carrier aircraft.  It may look nimble during demonstrations when it has no payload and little fuel.  But when fully loaded, the V-22 must make an "approach" on a nice steady glide path.  If pilots attempt evasive maneuvers to avoid ground fire or obstacles, they may cause a rotor thrust imbalance and roll over, or may overstress the rotor system, causing something to break, resulting in an instant snap roll.  This tendency to roll over is deadly, and only occurs in tiltrotors like the V-22 due to the side-by-side placement of the rotors. 

So will the V-22 pass the current four months of operational evaluation?  Maybe, because this recent GAO report GAO Defense Acquisitions Assessments states that it may go through this final test phase with safety restrictions in place which limit the type of maneuvers pilots are allowed to perform.  And keep in mind the final V-22 design will not be complete until 2009 (or later) when the "Block C" design is ready, which calls for dozens of changes and weight additions; like the gun and external hoist.  

So when they state they are almost finished with testing, keep in mind they are really testing incomplete prototypes which may not be required to perform combat maneuvers. And they still haven't solved several subsystems issues.  For example, the engine oil cooling fan (blower) has been a critical problem since 2001, and it continues to fail so is replaced every 100 hours.  Apparently, the rotor downwash is so great that it becomes clogged and they have no solution.  

Three years ago, after over a decade of development, the V-22 was declared ready to resume flight tests after a 17-month stand down to redesign this aircraft after its fourth crash.  Marine Colonel Dan Schultz, the V-22 program manager, proclaimed: "All of the things that were wrong with this airplane have been fixed."  Yet we still see:

Inside the Navy  Date: April 4, 2005

The V-22 Osprey program reached a watershed moment on the morning of March 28, when the Navy officially began the operational evaluation for the Marine Corps version of the aircraft, but not before the program wrestled a bit more with proprotor gearbox problems that resurfaced last month, shortly after a senior Navy acquisition official declared them resolved.
Bell Helicopter Textron is teamed with Boeing on the V-22 program, which is being developed primarily for the Marine Corps. The Osprey has the capability to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but also to rotate its nacelles in flight to fly like a plane.
Ultimately, the proprotor gearbox problem was deemed a low risk in terms of safety of flight, clearing the way for the start of the operational evaluation, said Ward Carroll, the Navy’s V-22 spokesman. A Pentagon source confirmed that account.

The operational evaluation (OPEVAL), which is expected to run through the end of June, will determine if the Marine Corps MV-22 is operationally suitable and effective for military use. Two fatal crashes during operational testing in 2000 led the Pentagon to restructure the program. Since then, a lot of improvements have been made to the aircraft and the overall program, officials maintain. If the Osprey performs well in the new test phase, it will increase the likelihood the Pentagon will buy the aircraft in large numbers.

But getting the new operational evaluation under way took a bit longer because of a recurrence of proprotor gearbox problems March 11, which prompted further investigation of an issue the Navy had described as resolved.  The gearbox is supposed to translate engine power into rotor torque. But the mechanism can fail if small bits of metallic particulate matter get into the Osprey’s engine lubrication system. For that reason, the proprotor gearbox is hooked up to a warning light that illuminates if chips of metallic particulate are detected in the system.

In January, the Navy announced VMX-22, the V-22 Osprey test squadron in New River, NC, had halted Osprey flights because several aircraft experienced gearbox problems. The program office said Jan. 18 that sensors had detected that problem six times, including three incidents “in the last month.” When encountered in flight, this kind of emergency requires the pilot to land as soon as possible. At the time, the program office blamed manufacturing errors for the problems, noting those causes had been identified and were being addressed.

Initial engineering investigations revealed two root causes, both relating to components in the proprotor gearbox, the program office said in a statement to the media. Investigators discovered “improper torquing of the planetary support bearing nut” occurred during the assembly of the proprotor gearbox. This “has been remedied by a modification of shop floor procedures affecting a stricter adherence to published torque specifications,” the statement said.

The second root cause was “improper chroming of bearings within the input quill during the bearing manufacturing process,” the program office said. The input quill is the first point of attachment between the proprotor gearbox and the engine’s drive shaft. Ultimately, the program decided to address this issue by having industry qualify, build and deliver non-chromed bearings.
But the statement failed to mention that one of the six incidents -- a Dec. 20 event that affected Osprey No. 41 -- had an unknown root cause. Carroll acknowledged this last week after being questioned by Inside the Navy.

“The third root cause was originally unknown and, due to the fact it had occurred only once, resolution was prioritized behind solving the chroming process,” Carroll told ITN last week.  By late February, the program and a senior Navy acquisition official characterized the gearbox problems as resolved. Thomas Laux -- the Navy’s program executive officer for air anti-submarine warfare, assault, and special mission programs -- issued a certification Feb. 24 declaring the V-22 Osprey program ready to begin an operational evaluation. This signaled Laux’s “satisfaction with the resolution” of the gearbox problems, a statement from the program office noted at the time.

But there was still the matter of the Dec. 20 incident with the unknown root cause. A reminder came March 11 when there was a seventh incident involving a gearbox problem that experts later decided was similar to the Dec. 20 event. Carroll acknowledged the March 11 incident for the first time in comments to ITN last week, noting pilots flying Osprey No. 56 had a chip caution light on the left-hand proprotor gearbox. The “initial teardown and metallurgical analysis” determined that that gearbox had also experienced a failure of the high speed planetary support bearing, he said. Further, the failure mode was identical to the “other unknown root cause,” he said.

  Rear Adm. David Architzel, commander of the Navy’s operational testing force, insisted on a complete root-cause analysis and sought assurance that the problems would present a low risk in terms of safety of flight, said a Pentagon source. Carroll said the engineering team’s focus “shifted to solving the previously unknown root cause.”  V-22 officials have since modified flight procedures during deceleration with the expectation that this will prevent the problem, said the Pentagon source. A long-term solution might involve changes for components in the gearbox, said the source.

Carroll said deeper investigation of in-flight data for these two occurrences revealed that “the most likely root cause was also an excessive axial load on the support bearing.” This was due to “a zero mast torque flight condition” (when the gearing has little to no friction and therefore is not providing torque to the proprotor) that engineers believe was caused by a routine procedure for V-22 pilots.  This procedure was an unloading on the assembly that occurred when the throttle was abruptly pulled to the aft stop and proprotor speed was increased from 84 percent to 100 percent, Carroll said.

For the time being, the V-22 test squadron and the program office have jointly developed a standardization manual change and flight clearance update to limit the zero torque condition. The safety assessment remains low risk, said Carroll.  Architzel and other defense officials held a V-22 meeting March 25 to discuss the gearbox problems and solutions, paving the way for last week’s announcement on the start of the operational evaluation.  The Air Force version of the aircraft, called the CV-22, is scheduled to undergo a separate operational testing phase late next year.

-- Christopher J. Castelli

Fluid leak starts fire on Osprey

By Bob Cox

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Thu, Apr. 07, 2005

Leaking hydraulic fluid triggered a fire in the engine compartment of one of the Marine Corps' newest V-22 Ospreys last week, the latest in a string of technical problems for the Bell Helicopter-built aircraft.

Navy and company spokesmen downplayed the seriousness of the fire, which they said was quickly extinguished and did little damage.

"There was never any danger to personnel or the aircraft," said Ward Carroll, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems V-22 Program Office.

The fire occurred March 28 on Osprey No. 53 at the Marine base at New River, N.C., just before the aircraft was to be flown to Nevada for extensive testing.

Fluid from a leaking hydraulic line dripped onto hot engine components and ignited while the aircraft was on the ground with its engines running.

The Marines announced later that day that they were beginning a long-awaited critical series of operational tests to determine whether the V-22 is suited for demanding military operations.

Pentagon officials will use the results of the fairly rigorous operational tests to evaluate how many V-22s to buy.

The tests were scheduled to begin as early as mid-January but were delayed while engineers investigated several incidents of damaged bearings in the gearboxes of the tilt-rotor V-22.

Carroll said engineers were still investigating the cause of the hydraulic leak, which occurred in a low-pressure hydraulic line, not the more critical high-pressure lines.

Two V-22 crashes have been attributed in part to failed or leaking high-pressure hydraulic lines. In 1992, a leak led to an engine compartment fire that destroyed the drivetrain of a V-22 and caused a crash at Quantico, Va., that killed seven people.

A ruptured hydraulic line triggered a chain of events that led to another crash that killed four Marines in December 2000.

Carroll insisted that a hydraulic-fluid leak in flight similar to the one March 28 would not have caused a crash.

Bob Leder, a Bell spokesman, said the incident was not alarming.

"They had something happen, they fixed it, they determined there was no risk to anybody or to the aircraft and they moved on," he said.

Before the Marines could begin the operational evaluation testing, the Navy and Pentagon were required to certify to Congress that a number of major issues had been adequately resolved, including the reliability of the V-22 hydraulic system.

Former Marine colonel and test pilot Bill Lawrence of Aledo, who has been critical of the V-22, said the fire was not a good sign for the safety and reliability of the Osprey.

"There are a ton of airplanes out there flying around with hydraulic fluid leaking and they don't catch on fire," Lawrence said.

Both the hydraulic leak that led to the fire and the gearbox problems, Lawrence said, are indications that wear and tear on V-22 components is greater than anticipated now that the aircraft is being flown in real-world conditions by regular Marines.

But Carroll said the problems are not serious and are not "due to increased operational tempo."

Bell Helicopter and Boeing jointly build the V-22, which has been under development since 1982. Aircraft components are manufactured by Bell in Fort Worth, and the aircraft is assembled at the company's Amarillo plant.

Bob Cox, (817) 390-7723 rcox@star-telegram.com

Ed: The Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) is the final phase of testing.  It is the final exam where an outside group from the Pentagon verifies that the aircraft is safe, effective, and can perform the missions the testers claim it has ALREADY proven.   However, they are pretending that this is still the development phase where problems are solved and new tests are attempted.  For example, during the decade of testing they still have not demonstrated the oft advertise V-22 capability to fly to Europe with one aerial refuel.  In addition, pilots are prohibited from attempting certain maneuvers, and they still have a dozen components "in redevelopment," like the blower, external hoist, gun, gearbox, extendable fuel probe, and comm system.

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