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I recall reading about a major speech the Secretary of Defense gave to the graduating class at West Point. In it he forecast the obsolescence of the tank as a battlefield concept. That speech was given *early June 1950*,  just a few days before the unexpected start of the Korean war. Not long after, the Pentagon held the first 'Questionmark' conference to discuss the future shape of the tank force.

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The whole analysis treats tanks as infantry support.  That's not what they do.  It's about full mechanized warfare on large scales and, lately, NBC capacity too.  Against fixed defensive infantry tanks have lots of problems.  That's why part of the combat team is SPA and nastier things, which hopefully will never be used. 

No realistic situation for the USA will involve tanks operating under hostile air superiority.  At worst if that happens, the attrition rate for aircraft will be higher than that of the tanks.  They aren't that easy to find, and tanks can "go to ground" and hide in ways that aircraft can't. 

The whole error is in an original assumption that a tank is supposed to be a monster in a pitched battle.  That's not what they are about.  They are challenging to deal with in a pitched fight but that's not what they do.  They mobilize firepower enormously along with the whole rest of their division as part of a team. 

As old as Guderian. 

Airpower has it's own sphere too which is getting bigger.  But it needs to be considered with all the support it requires too.

"Tanks" or "Fighter Bombers" or any weapon like that needs to be considered as part of the team.

 

The team *is* the weapon.  Not just one type of machine.

 

imho.  <3

 

 

Edited by KL2004
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7 hours ago, KL2004 said:

The team *is* the weapon.  Not just one type of machine.

Absolutely. Scissors, paper, stone. That's how it has always been since somebody got the idea of combining infantry, cavalry, and peltists or archers. Each arm has its strengths, limitations, and vulnerabilities and they have to be combined in such ways that they function complimentarily.

Michael

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14 hours ago, KL2004 said:

The whole analysis treats tanks as infantry support.  That's not what they do.  It's about full mechanized warfare on large scales and, lately, NBC capacity too.  Against fixed defensive infantry tanks have lots of problems.  That's why part of the combat team is SPA and nastier things, which hopefully will never be used. 

No realistic situation for the USA will involve tanks operating under hostile air superiority.  At worst if that happens, the attrition rate for aircraft will be higher than that of the tanks.  They aren't that easy to find, and tanks can "go to ground" and hide in ways that aircraft can't. 

The whole error is in an original assumption that a tank is supposed to be a monster in a pitched battle.  That's not what they are about.  They are challenging to deal with in a pitched fight but that's not what they do.  They mobilize firepower enormously along with the whole rest of their division as part of a team. 

As old as Guderian. 

Airpower has it's own sphere too which is getting bigger.  But it needs to be considered with all the support it requires too.

"Tanks" or "Fighter Bombers" or any weapon like that needs to be considered as part of the team.

 

The team *is* the weapon.  Not just one type of machine.

 

imho.  <3

Arguably tanks are more part of the combined arms team. Infantry supporting tanks is part of that. but it would be more accurate to say this is only one facet of the job

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3 hours ago, LUCASWILLEN05 said:

Arguably tanks are more part of the combined arms team. Infantry supporting tanks is part of that. but it would be more accurate to say this is only one facet of the job

Frankly, I'm not at all sure that I get what you are trying to say. Are you saying that tanks are the more important members of the combined arms team? And are you saying that the infantry does things besides support the tanks?

Michael

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5 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

Frankly, I'm not at all sure that I get what you are trying to say. Are you saying that tanks are the more important members of the combined arms team? And are you saying that the infantry does things besides support the tanks?

Michael

No, I am saying that all members of the team are as important with the caveat that this depends on the tactical situation.. For example, in combat i desert or steppe terrain tanks and mechanized infantry are likely to be more important than leg infantry. In urbban terrain leg infantry is likely to be more useful with the tank playing a more supporting role

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57 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Is that the hissing of a lit fuse?  :blink:

Shhh!

:)

A really much more challenging argument would be whether armored divisions are obsolete as means towards any potential ends that normal real people could approve of.  I'm not talking about the guys in the bunkers, i.e.

I could offer my opinion if asked, but I'm not trying to do that.

 

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I recall reading a history on US tank combat in the Vietnam war. There was a map of the country with blacked-out 'no-go' areas for armor that covered about half the country. When you look at a sexy photo of a super-tank against a forest backdrop remember the tank cannot go into that forest. There's never going to be a perfect universal fighting machine. It'll always be able to do some things, unable to do others, invulnerable to some things, vulnerable to others. Rumored plans for a future M1A3 Abrams with drastically lighter turret might have more to do with avoiding bridge weight restrictions while deploying than with increased combat capability. Sometimes one is as important as the other.

About the fate of Armored Divisions. I'm reminded of WWII anti-tank battallions that never got to fight as unified battalions. They were always doled out piecemeal as mobile guns and infantry support, often as platoon-size units or smaller. So perhaps 'armored divisions' will stay relevant as an organizational entity (who keeps the pay records?) but operationally perhaps they're a white elephant.

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9 hours ago, MikeyD said:

I recall reading a history on US tank combat in the Vietnam war. There was a map of the country with blacked-out 'no-go' areas for armor that covered about half the country.

That sounds like a book I read thirty some-odd years ago, except the point of the book and the map was to show how much of the country was in fact accessible to tanks. The same map showed that two-thirds of the country was accessible to the M113. The argument of the book was that we could and should have committed more armor to Vietnam.

Michael

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Woods and armor. In WWI, the woods were found to make excellent fortified areas. (Concealment, obstacles to movement, on-hand supplies of wood for bunkers, etc.) After that, Germany purposely left forested areas in specific zones to use as future fortified areas. They showed their utility in WWII.

The concept is still applicable.

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Quote

That sounds like a book I read thirty some-odd years ago

It might've been the same book ;).

---I just got back from my bookself. In my hands is very worn and very yellowed copy of "Mounted Combat in Vietnam" part of 'Vietnam Studies;' by  Starry, from the Dept of the Army. Printed 1978. Indeed thirty some-odd years ago. If I try leafing through it I'm afraid it'll fall apart.

Hey, the book's available free online! Though the pdf is a 265 page beast to download.

http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/090/90-17-1/CMH_Pub_90-17-1.pdf

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8 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

Well...there is the newer version of the Daisy Cutter. It's advertised as able to clear out several acres at a time.

I actually meant if we had thermobaric artillery in CM:BS.....Buratino was what I had in mind TBH (include it in CM:SF II please).  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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