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panzersaurkrautwerfer last won the day on May 18 2018

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  1. Small arms like the MGs on the roof have certain rules regarding being left unattended. It's likely just easier to keep plywood weapons mounted and not have to mount/dismount the real MGs each time the garage is closed for the day. This is rather obviously a "US Army future platforms" exhibit of sorts judging by the M1's stablemate in any event.
  2. It's pretty close to a chow truck/maintenance vehicle. Both US Mech infantry and Armor companies have the M113 in the Company HQ, but in practical terms it's a way for the Company 1SG and HQ personnel (mechanics, clerk, chemical protection NCO etc) to have a protected ride. You also generally have an M113 ambulance attached. By 2014 the M113 was really very rare outside of HQs from my experience. 1 ABCT 2 ID back when that existed (2014 weirdly enough!) only had them in the Company HQs in the base model, plus ambulances and the various command post/mortar carrier variants. The engineers were all in M2s of some vintage (I think they might have been in A2 ODSes, but might have also been A3s as thats what the rest of the BCT used).
  3. You poor bastards. Like no sarcasm at all there. Whatever gripes I might have about MTV/LMTV/etcs, at least it's not a that.
  4. Try this one for size: Who's after Putin? The state really doesn't have anyone on the bench. And from the not-state factions, well, they keep dying. Somehow. So Putin dies in a car crash. Not even a "car crash" just an errant Lada falls off a building onto his limo and explodes. Who steps up? There's a few answers to that question. But that's the problem, there system and means to put those folks into a position to be elected can be more than a little messy.
  5. Pfft. My wife would have been pumped to tank. She's a bit small to do manual loading but the rest is right up her ally (she's a country girl, shooting and off roading are kind of her thing). Again, my concern is stupid games and stupid prizes. I don't think Russians realize how isolated they've become, nor how much weaker they are "alone." It's not even a matter of sanctions at some point, its a matter of a bad harvest, or internal strife/crisis and Russia just doesn't have the strategic depth economically or politically to weather that well.
  6. I don't think the Armata was ever intended as a serious piece of hardware. Least cynically, I think it was a test bed for some ideas for future tanks and upgrades. More cynically it was a propaganda stunt to make it look like Russia's conventional forces are on the march to parity. It never really made a lot of practical sense though (especially in light of the concept of it being a "universal" platform relative to available resource/production capability). Russia's primary means of achiving it's national goals remain largely in the information warfare realm, use of proxies/unconventional forces (such as deniable assets), paired with a capable nuclear deterrent. Armata is not the first, nor the last high tech "Abrams beater" or "F-22 killer" or other system that will exist in small amounts to give the perception of capability while the remainder of the Russian conventional forces serves mostly as a lower tier contingency/non-NATO neighbor beater force. As discussed a few times, CMBS opted to inflate some capabilities that weren't too out there. My gripe is not that T-90AMs, US APS, or the like made it in, it's that we didn't get the "real" force structures with more lower capability forces (like the actual M1A2 SEP v2s, more of the less capable Russian stuff etc). The use of proxies by the Russians is one of the more upsetting things they're working with now. The issue isn't that the link between these proxies and the Russian government isn't known eight ways to Sunday, it's that the Russians remain convinced they will remain an asset that can be employed without it coming back to bite them ("THEY ARE JUST PATRIOTIC BIKERS FROM RUSSIA!" "Please stop shooting the Russian "mercenaries" we denied were attacking your troops America!"). It's basically something that has allowed Russia to make bets that are normally too risky to dare (best case national aims achieved worst case a few dozen dead "civilians with airsoft gear"). The problem is it's worked in the short term because the national aims of Russia have been generally in places the west have been loath to send people to die over. The issue will come when Russia makes a "safe" bet that in reality will be the trigger for more drastic retaliation, and what happens next will depend on who folds.
  7. Kinda gets to the point of having modular systems vs complete upgrades for systems that are not always required. The boathull armor from the TUSK kit, and the commander's protective kit are really super useful...in Iraq/Afghanistan. Otherwise it's just added weight. Same deal with the APS, while it's pretty useful in many settings, it's most optimal in conventional settings where long range ATGMs are an issue. Realistically in a more COIN or urban fight the ERA fit is a better choice for the flanks. Conversely if weight/transport is a premium, or it's a "as many tanks as possible" sort of deal, sending Abrams naked works well. It's also a neat concept when you look at how big the US tank force is, or what elements of it might be on the frontlines vs not (or it'd be entirely possible to throw ERA/APS on a M1A1HC pulled out of storage at NTC vs it being something that only some sort of M1A2BM1 carried or could carry). An integrated APS, especially one that's something closer to what quick-kill was supposed to do seems like the optimal choice. But looking at the legacy force into the future (or all the M1A2 SEP v2s that will be still kicking around in 2025 when the fleet standard is v3/M1A3 or something), or the need to fit tanks to theater, the modular TUSK/APS systems are a good fit.
  8. Looking at how they're mounted, its likely just a series of lugs onto the bars on the exterior of the sponson boxes (these are usually used for hanging gear off of). Power supply likely just branches off of the other roof top harnesses. There's some stuff that draws power external to the tank's main armor on the roof so there's some wiring up there to work with. If you wanted the ultimate in ghetto-rig you could just mount one of the bustlerack APUs and run the wiring directly through that, but that seems more complicated than linking into the CROWS/BFT/other equipment on the roof "grid" and takes the APU if mounted away from it's real mission. As far as the radar "not liking it" there's already a lot of electronics that have been pretty well soldierproofed. This is a tank, it's going to go over some rough terrain/hit some brush regularly. It doesn't look like the kind of thing you'd do with just the tank crew (for the danger to the APS unit being dropped alone), but it certainly looks within the means of the Company maintenance team (either going overkill and using the M88's boom, or potentially just having 8-10 guys manhandling it off vs 4 is safer). First installation likely takes some doing, although with how MWOs work, it's possible there's a team from TACOM out there putting the electrical hookups on all available tanks (or just the ones getting ready to deploy to Europe as they go through), but after that, the APS modules themselves look like they just need electrical input and have their mounting lugs well secured.
  9. It's worth keeping in mind this is the initial/test fielding on otherwise unmodified Abrams. Additionally there's some rumblings that this might be similar to the TUSK kit in that it's not part of the tank, but an additional capability that can be mounted as mission/theater requires. If I had to conjecture, the side sponson storage might go away in the future, or the system might be better distributed under/over armor in a built in-vs bolted on application.
  10. The contractors had basically two roles as I saw them: 1. They'd check your ID and make sure you had your weapon before going into the dining hall/other locations. This was largely to keep out contractors/local nationals not allowed to use those facilities out. It made a lot of sense because otherwise there'd be some US guy or two protecting our cantaloupe from pilferage. Anything that was actually a no joke secure location (command post or something) had US soldiers guarding it. 2. Some FOBs had them in the towers/gate areas. This was sort of hit or miss, and there was usually a US contingent on hand (so like, there might be a squad sized element of contractors, but there's also a US team on hand to handle anything that needs more detail than verifying your MRAP convoy isn't secretly filled with Iranian terrorists. In practice the trip wire is most accurate, they were there to keep from "easy" enemy things from happening (recon, trying to sneak into places they didn't belong) but also force the enemy to commit to a full fledged battle before they'd gotten close to the US (or they had to attack the contractors first, even if the contractors rabbitted, it was still enough warning to go full force protection fast enough to limit causalities. My two years overseas they didn't do much but keep people out of uniform from getting into the dining facility. A few of them died manning a tower before my second deployment, but that was basically the insurgents dumped an RPG into one of the towers on a larger FOB and that was all (no follow up attack). The contractors also if allowed would utterly destroy bathrooms but that's a different issue.
  11. Canadians: Generally rather quiet, professional, but they tend to react with shock and horror during live fire exercises the first time we reload, under the impression we have already shot our entire annual ammunition allowance in that round/magazine and should be stopped before we empty the entire budget with a second engagement. Also constant apologies ("it appears we were not budgeted for food for this exercise, sorry," "We actually were denied procurement for the systems we're supposed to have that replace the 1950's era equipment you gave us for Korea, but we are all out of vacuum tubes so that doesn't work either, sorry" "It appears you ran over our command post again, we are terribly sorry for not thinking you would drive an armor company through this area that was clearly marked off not for tracked vehicle traffic, that was our mistake, sorry") As additional commonwealth commnetary; Australians: As a brand new 2LT, I as sitting by myself at the dining facility at Victory Base Complex. Two RAAF Warrant officers asked if they could sit at my table. Imagine two massive, practically identical, virtually beet red men, with not a hair between them, and tiny squinty eyes hidden behind tiny wire framed glasses. Listening to their conversations, and attempts to converse with me. it sounded something like this: "WALL ALLTEEE BILLABONG STEVE IRWIN STINGRAY RIOUGHT NOW CROCODATOR GONNA SCAVVY SOME UP TO NED KELLY GONNA STAB EM RIGHT IN THE NEW GUINEA." Some ten minutes later, dining complete they laughed with a sound like the world ending slapped me on the back and told me I was a "right mate" (or "big date" "slight plate" or possibly "Kite Hate") and disappeared into the heat. NOTE: I just want to make it clear, of all the not-Iraqi security forces elements I've worked with, there's none of them I wouldn't work with again. As much as I've just listed off funny stereotypes, with all credit to the JGSDF, working with them I found they were a bunch of smart folks in an organization that is rapidly transforming into one that's trying to be part of regional security rather than trying to figure out what it's defending against. As much as I just talked of some of the most digger to ever digger Australians, equally did I learn tons from my Australian Cavalry Leader's Course Instructor, and his keen intelligence on keeping a force that hits like a ton of bricks but crumples in a stiff wind in the fight. Germans may be a more hat than cowboy than they should be, but the cowboy part knows it's trade well enough to stack green men if we ask them to, and when their government lets them, they're fine soldiers. I'm glad to be on the "right" side of the security equation. We're not perfect, but it's a scary world, and certain actors would rather rule the ruins than live in a community, and in that, again, I'm glad to have served, and hope to continue to serve, with the partners I have (and will likely continue to) somewhat gently lampooned here.
  12. That's kind of the direction I took it too. If you looked at my old Company at a few weeks into a gunnery/training exercise, we'd only be slightly better shaved (because the US Army is still pretty serious about that, although tanker mustaches wouldn't be uncommon), a lot of our gear would look pretty trashed (well worn, but also knocked around/we'd wear our most torn up stuff to the field). Simply a lot of dirt, lowered hygiene, some unbuttoned pouches doesn't make for a non-functional unit. The German solider has a highly inflated opinion of his own capabilities from my experience, but it's in the way they're within the realm of being "very capable" just they look around the room and believe themselves to be a few dozen steps above their peers because Deutsche! * but I'd still put good money on them in a fight if it came down to it. *Take his all with a grain of salt, but working with other countries: French: The most frustrating mix of very component and very relaxed you will encounter. Like I imagine a French pilot in a crashing plane would do everything reasonable to keep it from crashing, once that had happened mutter "merde" to themselves, shrug and have a smoke waiting for the plane to explode while the American would die trying to fashion a new engine from the gum wrappers in his pocket and some duct tape up to the point of impact. British: They're very tired. Like they're professional but they're really quite sick of whatever nonsense you colonials/continentals are rousted up about. It doesn't matter if the field itself was invented last week, somehow they'll act as if Wellington himself had an Electronic Warfare Company at Waterloo, and the British have been doing it forever. In the event they are incorrect this will rarely be acknowledged. Whatever kit you have is also entirely too much for the job. You have two radio nets available in your tanks? We get by with one. You have only one radio? Our tanks are connected by no 4 wire and a Lance Corporal or something. Poles: Less exposure, but they seem constantly a little amused. Americans have tanks? Who knew? These computers you have, they turn on when you want them on? Magic! Your food, has it caused anyone to explode. No, I don't mean in the bathrooms I mean literally, do not ask. Fascinating! May I have? You're never sure if they're taking the piss or actually impressed. Generally good dudes though, if absolute murder to get their names right. German: Thinks they're the legacy of the Prussian military machine that made Europe quake, is the legacy of social welfare state that has money for post kindergarten's omni-sex bathroom and masseuse for teachers, not for fuel for tanks. Japanese: Everyone is in total agreement with this plan we made two weeks ago for the operation we are committing to in two hours. The movements of the enemy are inconsequential to this fact, we are all in agreement, this is where we are going to go because we are in agreement (this is where I had to add in one caveat. The Japanese are aware of this, and getting a lot better at working on the fly, it's just when they're not a "good" unit they default a lot to "this is the plan we follow because it's the plan we agreed on" vs "this best meets the intention") Russian: I'm a spy. You know I'm a spy, I know I'm a spy, I'm going to pretend to be sneaky about this because we are playing a game about it, but we all know why I'm here. Yep, I just took out my camera and took some shots. Oh bother the Chinese guy is in the way again. Chinese: YOU STUPID AMERICANS DO NOT KNOW I AM SPY. I AM CLEARLY NOT AN INTELLIGENCE AGENT I AM JUST A CHINESE PERSON MYSTERIOUSLY APPEARING IN A PLACE WITH NO CHINESE PEOPLE. I AM SNEAKILY TAKING A MILLION PICTURES OF EVERYTHING YOU HAVE BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO ME. I AM SO SNEAKY. I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THIS ****TY AFRICAN VILLAGE IN PERFECTLY CLEAN KHAKIS, MY SHOES ARE NOT DUSTY, AND HAVE THREE THOUSAND DIFFERENT SENSORS HANGING OUT OF MY BACKPACK BUT YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO SEE ME BECAUSE I AM A SPY. HAHA DUMB AMERICANS WHY ARE THEY ALL LOOKING AT ME SO MUCH? Thai: WE ARE ALL GENERALS PLEASE DIRECT US TO THE ONE PRIVATE IN THE THAI ARMY SO HE CAN CARRY OUR BAGS. Korean: It's a lot of solid, squared away soldiers with a generous helping of weird people hiding out in weird corners (the ROKA captain showing up with a Gucci tote and an umbrella to a field exercise was a major wtf) and a dose of semi-subversive conscripts ("Hai, Mr American Captain Man, please allow me to tell you how terrible my chain of Command is and are you in needing of a KATUSA by chance?") Americans: WE ARE HERE TO HELP BY IGNORING WHATEVER WISDOM YOU MAY HAVE AND ATTEMPTING TO AMERICAN OUR WAY OUT OF ALL PROBLEMS WITH MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY, EXPLOSIVES, OR BOTH WHICH WE WILL FLAGRANTLY LORD OVER YOU WITHOUT REALIZING IT ON ALL OCCASIONS.
  13. Which is rather rage inducing on some level, because much of the stability Germany relies on isn't the result of German political masterstrokes*, but of a security stability underwritten by other people's spending on greenly painted equipment of narrow utility, young Americans living overseas in various oddly located gated communities, and so forth. It's a bit like in arguing you don't need to bother with road taxes any more because you can do everything over the internet now, you don't really have the internet without the physical infrastructure to allow it to exist. And it's very frustrating because the Germans will not pay for the structure that allows them the peace to be who they are, and often, their political class sees fit to lecture other countries on the validity of their "new" way, while ignoring it only exists because of the rest of NATO (especially one English speaking, multi-ethnic, hamburger devouring country's) sacrifices. It's a bit like being told how we should all be more thrifty like zee Germans while ignoring they have reduced expenses because they're living in the house we bought for them, and they're getting their electrical power from an extension cord they've plugged into our house. This isn't to imply Germany's post war success is entirely on the backs of other people, but it does again, make their lack of contribution to Western security rather a fly in the ointment, and you can see some of the discontent resulting from this. *Like as a lovely case in point, please note the failure in German engagement with Russia. This warmer, fluffier more open approach was supposed to bring the Russians in from the cold. Instead it hooked the Germans on GAZPROM, Putin did whatever he was going to do any way, and the Germans were sort of standing around blankly like "but we were friends!" The Germans believe they're a lot better at diplomacy than they are, largely because the protections they have from the failure of that diplomacy are absorbed by others.
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