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panzersaurkrautwerfer

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panzersaurkrautwerfer last won the day on May 18

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  1. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    US Uniforms

    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.
  2. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Bundeswehr trains for a new deployment in the Baltics

    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.
  3. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Bundeswehr trains for a new deployment in the Baltics

    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.
  4. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Bundeswehr trains for a new deployment in the Baltics

    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.
  5. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Bundeswehr trains for a new deployment in the Baltics

    I think the amount of money is not as bad as the way in which the money is being spent. Basically Germany needs to decide. Is it going to have a small, low capability Army that's properly funded, or is it going to have this weird mish-mash of the ghost of the once highly capable West German military, with some COIN elements we don't like talking about, all of which is criminally undercapitalized. Seeing as this just popped up as a lovely way to illustrate my point: Germany needs to decide if it wants to have 105 tanks, or 224 tanks, not if it wants to pretend it has 224 tanks while funding 105, while pretending it's still 1988 and their armor force is still a cornerstone of European defense. It's also worth noting the USMC alone has more equipment, let alone more operational equipment than Germany if we're talking about defense burdens. Basically it's honesty of intentions. For many NATO partners it's readily apparent Germany's role in NATO isn't to contribute to the greater defensive mission, it's to benefit from other people's investment in their military forces. This isn't a slight against the German military, and as soldiers, airmen, and sailors I'd contend they're at least on par with most of Western Europe (I'd put them behind the French and the UK potentially). But the German civilian government's answer to the unfortunate legacy of their grandparents is to simply refuse the idea of having a military role now that it isn't likely a Soviet armor column clatters its way through Fulda and beyond, and worse to underwrite this behavior while expecting others to fulfill their military obligations, while remaining one of the richest nations in Western Europe. In so many words it can be contended that rebuilt with American dollars, defended with American, British, French, Dutch, Belgian (and others) blood and steel, Germany is now turning around, danke schone mine kamrade bitte hilfe, I cannot be bothered to help the Poles, the Baltic states, the Ukraine, I have too much prosperity going on to possibly be bothered with collective defense! This isn't to indicate a true rift with NATO, or a policy position of anyone. I'm certain if the balloon goes up, the 105 or so Leo 2s in running order will show up, if Russian cruise missiles are striking Berlin US and others ADA systems will be fully involved in that fight. but goddamned wouldn't it be cool if the Germans were fielding an armored division or two worth of effective troops instead of a few battalions?
  6. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Bundeswehr trains for a new deployment in the Baltics

    In NATO circles, Germany is especially noted for being in poor shape. If I had to summarize: 1. The German Government's lack of will to do anything military means that if Germans show up to a NATO deployment, it's going to be either very small, a support element, or it's going to have ROE that involves not being within the line of fire. 2. Germany's military equipment readiness is notably poor. 3. Culturally the German military is not a good spot, it has a problem attracting talent, and also attracting the sorts of Germans we might find objectionable from time to time. Basically if there's a nadir to NATO's large partners, it's present in the Germans. There's some question to if this is changing however. The Russian threat has caused some reversals in course and provided a realistic reason for the German military to have a conventional mission. There's a lot of institutional inertia, and the German Government's official policy is just short of openly being "American blood for German soil" in the event of external threats (to be fair, this is partly something America signed up to with the Truman doctrine, and there's a number of other nation's conventional warplans that are literally "our military exists long enough to hold on for the Americans to show up, and then to support them once they've shown up"). With that said, we're missing the forest for the trees in a lot of ways. We have a bit of a bias for conventional force on force given the game we play/tanks and bombs are likely more our area of interest. In talking about the value of NATO it's to impose sufficient cost or risk to an aggressor's actions as to make hostile action against NATO states unfeasible. The Russians would really like to have the Baltic states back because for a variety of reasons they do not recognize the people's of those countries as having a right to their own independence (as history shows on a few tragic occasions). NATO's mission in the Baltic countries could be best described as: 1. Prevent a "green man" invasion. Continued NATO presence, and the fact the Baltic states now know what "Russian Aid Convoys" are, and awareness of Russian info warfare tactics means there'd be no practical deniability to using "green men." I mean, it was blatantly, stupidly obvious the first time, but there's no longer the ambiguous legal nature to it, it's simply an unprovoked Russian invasion in need of proper military response. 2. Prevent conventional Russian invasion. In this regard it may not be possible to hold the Baltic states on a short notice (or sufficient time to deploy significant NATO ground forces to the region). However, by demonstrating NATO commitment to the Baltic states, that forces will be deployed, all demonstrate that while taking Estonia might happen, it might be at an unacceptable cost going in, and holding it might be beyond Russian resolve, resources, or capabilities. 3. Given sufficient warning, defeat Russian forces in open battle without loss of terrain. This would require some advanced notice, but once you start talking about US ABCTs, MEBS, and other BCTs, French, UK, Polish and other major forces, rounded out with the lower tier NATO forces, you're not going to get into the Baltic states without resorting to CBRN type assets, and that imposes a cost well beyond what anyone is willing to pay. None of these hinge on German readiness. It'd be nice if they lived up to their commitments considering how many thousands of NATO soldiers put their lives on the line to protect West Germany 1945 (I know, pre-NATO, but same players)-1990 though.
  7. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Vet Question - Tank infantry cooperation

    Generally as a tanker: 1. We don't like infantry close by. If something happens and I need to move the tank, I don't want to think about if I'm going to run over friendly forces. Moving close was also something we avoided, as infantry was safer in the terrain, while we were often safer where we could maneuver (like not open, but think rolling terrain that you can get some hull down on). Generally we practiced the push-pull method, whoever could best handle the terrain went first, and "pulled" the other unit behind them. So like infantry would move into the village and clear a path for friendly armor, if the armor needed to come forward, the infantry protected and guided the tank to a position to support them, vs the tank literally moving with the infantry, while tanks moving across open desert would set up in a support by fire to allow the infantry advance into a small village. Supporting doesn't have to mean close, just so long as we can still put fire on similar targets. 2. In terms of infantry close, it does happen sometimes. our rule of thumb was third road wheel back was "safe. for main gun operations. I feel this was likely conservative, but noone likes bleeding from their eardrums so that's pretty okay. Behind the tank, to include literally standing behind the tank, or head out when the gun was in action from the TC's hatch had no adverse affects. So yeah, space is helpful, and lets you get things. You don't want your infantry hugging you because it slows you down and makes your life difficult. When operating close additional coordination is also usually required in as far as making sure friendly locations are known (by markings or things like phase lines).
  8. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    Just had a tremendous ordnance shock

    On Iraqi T-72s: The Iraqis operated the following types of T-72s: T-72M T-72M1 T-72A The M and M1 models were both Polish sourced and otherwise identical to vehicles in service with both the Poles and other Warsaw Pact users of Polish production (inclusive the silly little fan the constituted the entire turret cooling system). The T-72As were much the same, identical to T-72As of that 80's vintage from the Soviets. Basically the Soviets supplied some tanks out of the box (60ish T-72As if I recall correctly), then decided they wanted to pursue the Iranian market, so chose to pass the Iraqis as a client off onto the Poles (the remainder, T-72M and T-72M1). Some of the T-72s from Poland were provided as "knockdown" kits which basically were plug and play assembly (by East German technicians) and did not use Iraqi components. The "IraqI" variant T-72 myth comes from: The Iraqis showcased a T-72 of some origin claiming it to have been indigenous production. For a time the Iraqis certainly did explore the idea of being able to build their own tanks, but likely correctly figured out they neither could afford, or likely sustain such an operation Some of these T-72s were modified with various indigenous or non-Soviet hardware. Chinese EO jammers, exhaust diverters, etc all made appearances, which lead to the impression that they might be Iraqi production models vs modified Polish tanks given the earlier showcase display. The frankly disastrous display of T-72s during the conflict was at odds with the impression the tank was reasonably good. That these weren't "real" T-72s seemed to jive well with the earlier analysis. Tying into the previous comment, the re were still people trying to market and sell T-72Ms after 1991, and to be able to pretend that was all the result of some terrible not-actually-T-72s made by those Stupid Iraqis was helpful in sales pitches. As to defeating a T-72 with 25MM, I've heard a fair enough of anecdotes enough to say I wouldn't feel confident doing it, but I've met people claiming to have: 1. Engaged T-72 Frontally from 1000 Meters with 25 MM HE (was attempting to suppressing tank while breaking contact). Tank was unable to acquire Bradley in time to engage, wing Bradley fired TOW and destroyed target (1991). 2. Engaged T-62 frontally 800 meterish, claimed penetration and vehicle kill. I asked him to confirm because I didn't hear him right. Resulting conversation with other cav scouts sitting around brought up some vaguer stories about killing Iraqi tanks with 25 MM fire. Basically it seems like concentrated 25 MM has an effect on Soviet tanks of a certain generation, but at the same time I wouldn't feel supremely comfortable banking on the anecdotal stuff, and we were always told to hit tanks with TOWs from Bradleys. If I somehow were back in the Bradleyworld, I would initiate fires with a TOW if it was reasonable (or better, with a dismounted Javelin, then TOWs at the non-Javelin targets, mo' missile's mo' problems if you will*). I wouldn't engage with 25 MM unless I was seen, or it was mission critical (basically it makes sense to seek the sure kill than it does to chase the 10% p/ks unless you have to). *What you really want to do is "mass" fires, in that your TOWs to their tanks are followed by 25 MM to the IFV/PC targets in the same formation once the missiles are on target. Basically if you play the max range game (going by the book, using the "safe" book and 80% p/k answers vs what the system is capable of), you're putting out TOWs at the 4 KMish mark, tank main guns and Javelin at 2.5 KM, then 25 MM around 1.5-2KM, followed by infantry small arms around .5-.8 KM. This sounds cool, but the first eight (say it's a mech heavy combined arms team, so 8 BFVs, 4 tanks) TOWs accomplish kills....but the survivors now know what's up and are moving to not get wacked. This makes everyone else's job a lot harder now. What you really want is something closer to a 2-2.5 KM point to open fire, as then instead of 8 TOWs heading towards this formation....you've got 8 TOWs, 8 Javelins, and 4-8 tank rounds (first and second shots are likely going to be out before the enemy realizes what's up). Assuming the 80% p/k at 2 KM, someone is now down about two companies of AFVs in a few seconds. 25 MM and follow on tank shots work on anyone who's still got the fight in them, artillery comes in on pre-plots at the 2 KMish line (which also gives the team time to displace to follow on fighting positions). Anyway. Lengthy ramble, but there's a video gamism to seek kills that do not make a lot of sense in real life (or the value of a lost asset isn't well reflected in game, nor the "long game" of losing battles but winning the war sometimes.
  9. FFS just quit. This has nothing to do with anything in this thread except for positively D grade "Whataboutism" Russia Today makes Fox News look like completely unbridled sober truth. In terms of images presented, those sure are likely to be Aleppo, but the context needs way more verification before we give it too much credence. It's actually getting back to the Russian infowar perspective (not "inforwars" mind). Coming out of the Soviet experience, reporting falsehood/expecting resonance of Soviet world view in settings with freedom of information failed and failed horribly because simply put anyone with half a brain, and a radio could see how incorrect the Soviet narrative was. The Russian modification to Soviet active controls isn't to present an alternate, and frankly poor substitute for the truth it's to throw out as much garbage as possible so that the "Truth" is buried in a mix of signals designed to variously enrage or validate existing biases. It's much easier to degrade information fidelity to the point where most observers reach "no one cares" state, or where we're simply equating the effects of 18 odd howtizers in action with supporting a country that's literally dropping sarin on civilian targets in the name of keeping a hereditary dictatorship in place.
  10. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    wel moves reality in line with the game backstory rather nicely

    If we were looking at crossing the "berm" (interesting how that phrase endures!) in the near future, full stop APSes being bought on a government purchase card, contractors working at profound hazard pay despite being safely in Germany gogogogogogogogogogoputthemonnowcongresswillfrysomeoneelselater. Right now with things simply trending "bad" to "bad-neutral" there's not an incentive to do this with reckless abandon. Making sure the engineering is 90%, doing the purchases correctly, through normal channels is something we have time for. 2020 is pretty reasonable. Things go sideways sure we'll see it sooner, but for now, there's not really a profound rush.
  11. Mostly because I find this somewhat interesting in the wild/it's important to counter some narratives. Basically we're dealing with one of those fun rhetoric games to try to level the "moral" playing field in that 18 howitzers shooting a whole lot somehow equates to more or less the rampant clusterbombing of residential blocks carried out by some folks that I'll just imply are actors here. I wouldn't call it "Whataboutism" because the point isn't to distract from the argument, as much as it is to narrow everything to the same gray-ish moral area in which it's really okay the Syrian government uses chemical weapons on civilians because it's like strategic bombing in World War Two, gotta kill them headchoppers amIrightguys? As to the on topic, precision artillery has taken a fairly interesting role in that it provides the same sort of fires that used to be the domain of fixed wing or rotary wing assets, only with a persistence measured in ammunition stocks vs flight time. This is sort of a big deal in that it open a whole new can of worms in terms of striking targets/makes the concealment/counter-recon element of the fight much more profound. As it was, with only 18 guns tied into a fairly comprehensive sensor network it became very hard to go anywhere within the range of those guns without incurring great risk of artillery fire. Into the future it will be intesting seeing this interact with EW/cyber assets that will make the ISR element a lot less durable, and certainly counter-battery will play a part. Also as we increasingly see open architecture software and applications grow, it might be possible to see an insurgent group cobble together some manner of precision fires (in as far as digitally computing fire missions vs the "allah akbar?" we used to see). Of course seeing what the Russians did with similar applications against the Ukrainians also indicates this might become more of a conduit for doing bad things to bad people in addition to it's role as a red-enabler (And at that, opens some interesting ideas as far as employing applications nominally to "help" our brave patriotic whatevers that are actually enemy malware)
  12. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    M60 MBT Modifications Opinions

    To be honest, I only know vaguely of the product. I've been stupid levels of busy over the last few months so haven't been following too closely. If they said no new modules then I imagine no new modules. However if there are new modules, the Turks seem like the best bet.
  13. panzersaurkrautwerfer

    M60 MBT Modifications Opinions

    Turkey doesn't really well fit the scenario. I think if you worked hard you could fit in most NATO countries as part of a training/deterrence mission that as in country/theater when the fight kicked off. This fits most of the Western NATO countries quite well. Turkey though isn't really a frequent contributor, and it's current and recent political posture makes its presence in Eastern Europe doubtful. With that said, I think they're a shoe-in for a CMSF 2.0 module.
  14. Sigh. My contention is this: We throw a wild party for Battlefront, and all of us are in attendance. We all get positively rip-roaring drunk, do stupid things. At the height of the party I'm demonstrating armor maneuver by going full sprint through the office swinging my arm wildly to indicate turret direction while screaming "Death before dismount." I certainly 100% do damage. However it's hard to separate the next morning what specifically was damaged by my "Thunder Run" vs what other parties did too. Sure there's my tanker boot treads all over the shattered remains of someone's desk...but I "ran" it over after someone else already kicked it down screaming "THIS IS SPACE LOBSTER COUNTRY!" I contributed my share to the massive pile of bottles yes....but I wasn't even the one who drank the most. Within the context of both fights, US artillery and aviation certainly did destroy things. This is a known variable. However pointing to the rubble of Mosul and chittering how it was all those damned Americans and their bombs, or Raqqah and placing all the blame on 18 heavily abused 155 MM howitzers is a bit disingenuous. ISIS vigorously practices scorched earth type tactics. Our "Friendly" and friendly forces all practice firepower warfare vs manuever (or they're going to shoot the objective with every weapon they have for an hour, THEN move to a closer firing position to repeat the same tactic, and then maybe five hours later, short on ammo move onto the objective). Both of those cities felt the full weight of a 3rd World conventional military attack, a suicidal bomb happy defender, and then some Western precision fires. Between those three, those fires certainly did their part in damaging those cities. But again the contention that basically, without those fires the attacks would have left either of those cities pretty much intact is very much a falsehood. Aleppo for instance serves as a really good example of what happens without the US precision fires, and with the opposition not being generally ISIS tier individuals. So. Again not denying there's collateral damage, but it's just idiotic to lay the preponderance of the damage at the feet of 18 howitzers while ignoring the effects of thousands of ground combatants, tanks, conventional artillery from both parties, IEDs in all guises all duking it out in close quarters.
  15. One of the more common tactics used by ISIS, and to a lesser extent before them, AQI is the "House Born IED" or "HBIED." There's a variety of tactics involved with it: 1. The simplest and most direct is just a conventional booby trap. ISIS does this TONS in places they are anticipating losing or placed they are evacuating. This are sort of hit/miss, the detonation means are usually mechanical which again your success rate varies, and can range anything from something designed simply to cripple/main the person who triggers it, to full stop leaves a 3 meter deep crater where the house used to be. 2. A tactic preferred during Mosul/Raqqa type fights is to strongpoint a house into a fighting position (element size is usually team or squad, but sometimes up to platoon), and then equip that building with large scale explosive devices. In urban operations, the attacker is usually obligated to clear hostile occupied structures (to make sure the folks within are really dead vs waiting for the lead elements to pass), so the structure serves the dual purpose of serving as a place to fight from, and killing enemy forces once the position is taken out/no longer tenable. 3. Sometimes buildings that offer cover within an engagement area will be rigged, so direct/indirect fire is used to force the attacking element to seek shelter near the booby trapped buildings, which are detonated when most convenient for the defender. Beyond the structure based devices, ISIS loves vehicle borne IEDs, and many of these are quite large in terms of explosive potential. So yeah ISIS bombed "itself" pretty often, frequently using quite large devices in urban settings. As far as 155 MM, again while that's a lot of rounds, that's a lot of rounds spread over dozens of miles, inclusive rural targets. Without getting into a lot of detail, the US howitzers are not used for mass barrages because simply put there's not that many guns (again there was only 18 guns+crews, while guns were replaced, to the best of our knowledge there were never more than 18 firing weapons), and our Allies/"Allies" are doing the massed fires themselves. What the US brings to the table is precision/semi-precision (or more like, guided, and highly accurate conventional fires) synced to intelligence gathering and surveillance tools well beyond what most countries are capable. What this often works out to is hitting enemy VBIED concentrations while they're massing, firing on ISIS artillery assets, killing enemy supply elements (both the more conventional truck based, but also smuggler "ratlines") or killing enemy strongpoints that are "danger close" to friendly forces. A lot of these missions/desired effects would fall more on direct fire/aviation/missiles in the historical context, but the capabilities of tube artillery have grown, and their battlefield persistence vs say, helicopters simply mean the system is getting a lot of use.
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