Skip to comments.U.S. sending tanks to hit harder at Taliban
Posted on 11/19/2010 4:32:04 AM PST by Pan_Yan
The U.S. military is sending a contingent of heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, defense officials said, a shift that signals a further escalation in the aggressive tactics that have been employed by American forces this fall to attack the Taliban.
The deployment of a company of M1 Abrams tanks, which will be fielded by the Marines in the country's southwest, will allow ground forces to target insurgents from a greater distance - and with more of a lethal punch - than is possible from any other U.S. military vehicle. The 68-ton tanks are propelled by a jet engine and equipped with a 120mm gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away.
Despite an overall counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes the use of troops to protect Afghan civilians from insurgents, statistics released by the NATO military command in Kabul and interviews with several senior commanders indicate that U.S. troop operations over the past two months have been more intense and have had a harder edge than at any point since the initial 2001 drive to oust the Taliban government.
The pace of Special Operations missions to kill or capture Taliban leaders has more than tripled over the past three months. U.S. and NATO aircraft unleashed more bombs and missiles in October - 1,000 total - than in any single month since 2001. In the districts around the southern city of Kandahar, soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division have demolished dozens of homes that were thought to be booby-trapped, and they have used scores of high-explosive line charges - a weapon that had been used only sparingly in the past - to blast through minefields.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
*Any* other U.S. Military vehicle? I think the pilots of our A-10s and Spectre gunships might have something to say about that, to say nothing of our sailors manning any of our ships of the line. Any other land vehicle, maybe.
Just hope they don’t do it like they did to us in Somalia. We had tanks, but no tank rounds. They just used the 50’s mounted on top...
Ah yes. The M1A1 - the world’s most powerful and accurate sniping weapon system. I can’t call it the most accurate and powerful sniper rifle, ‘cuz, well, it’s not rifled ;-)
If you can spot it, the M1A1 can kill it with direct fire. One shot, one kill, WELL over a mile.
With apologies to all the cannon-cocker and jet-jockey fans here, the M1A1 *IS* a one shot, one kill “sniper”. (JDAMs don’t fit my analogy, because they have terminal guidance)
The Wapo is barely usable as a fish wrapper- the Baltimore Sun only works as a bird cage liner.
Legitimate concern, but that’s not the mission profile, really.
The tanks can reach out and touch the small groups of gomers ABOVE the roads with direct fire. They tend to shoot down from above and then scoot after hitting our squads with small arms, mortar and RPG fire.
The M1A1 can acquire and accurately shoot REALLY fast, AND hit with enough explosive power to kill the gomers up amongst the rocky formations.
The M1’s munitions can destroy any dwelling or structure the commander is ordered to demolish. Better than placing Marines at risk to place charges.
Plus, SO FAR the gomers’ fire teams in Afghanistan don’t operate with anything that can kill an M1. (IEDs not withstanding).
Lastly, the sight, presence and threat of an M1A1 WILL motivate the enemy to break cover and move away and/or not fire (and thus draw fire).
We haven’t had tanks over there during this entire time?!?!
Better than walking, I guess.
Reminds me.... if you haven’t seen the film ‘The Beast’ make sure to get it.
Golan Globus production. TOOOOOOO good!!!
ditto, but isn’t this starting to sound like the USSR’s attempt?
Apparently not. Wouldn’t want to scare anyone.
That was my first thought.
Watch Obama cripple the effectiveness of the tank with more ridiculous ROE. BTW, my stepston served in Iraq as a tank driver for the 1st Armored Division.
If its needed, then why has it taken 9 years to get them in theatre?
As I heard the heroic story of the new MOH recipient, my thought was that a platoon was not the right size force for the plan. Or if a platoon was out in front, then there should have been a mighty force on the other side of the hill able to respond within minutes.
How about a couple of clusters??!!!!
But in the meantime it does provide a long-range, accurate, mobile, multi-purpose, mostly indestructible pillbox. The imaging/targeting systems should also provide some very helpful early warning views of approaching enemy units.
I agree that the M1 is an awesome weapon, but hitting a house a mile away is no great feat. That would have been a gimme forty years ago in an M60A1.
It’s not about hitting the house, although that’s a part of the mission of course. I think it’s more about acquiring/targeting the small mobile squads of gomers up in the hills.
We can hit ‘em with small arms fire, but the rocks tend to protect them in their hidee holes.
The M1A1 can put an HE round *ON* them, while they move, or where they hide.
The M1s will quickly earn a rep for killing jihadis wherever they ‘hide.’ M1s are a great deterrent to courage under fire, AND recruiting ;-)
Think about it: would YOU want to see that turret sweep around to YOUR vector? Wipe yourself off, you’re dead!
Actually it does have a rifled barrel.
Does the M1 use the APDS (sabot) like the 105 in the M 60? That was an awsome round.
Is it “If you can spot it, the M1A1 can kill it with direct fire. One shot, one kill, WELL over a mile.”? Or is it “Its not about hitting the house, although thats a part of the mission of course.”?
While you make up your mind I will repeat my point: Hitting a house at just over 1600 meters was a piece of cake forty years ago.
They used to have went back to smoothbore.
Will the weight of this tank be a problem on the Afghan plains as the seasons change?
Even high deserts get heavy rain.
The original standard 105mm gun tube was rifled, but ...
“The main armament is the 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, developed by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Germany. The 120mm gun fires the following ammunition: the M865 TPCSDS-T and M831 TP-T training rounds, the M8300 HEAT-MP-T and the M829 APFSDS-T which includes a depleted uranium penetrator. “
“M256 120mm Smoothbore Gun: The M256 120mm gun is the primary armament on the U.S. M1A1 and M1A2 series of main battle tanks. The M256 is a high velocity, quick-firing, accurate, direct fire weapon used primarily against enemy tanks and hard targets. “
REM: I’ve never had the honor of firing (or loading) one, so I only ‘know’ what I read, and what I hear from my treadhead friends. I could be wrong. I don’t think you want a sabot round coming out spinning from a rifled barrel, and I think there was an issue with velocity that shifted to a smoothbore design. Actual treadheads can provide 1st-hand facts.
I thank you for the correction.
Your post #5 is yet another example of why Free Republic is superior to Democraticunderground. We get the Weaponry Geeks where as they get the Code Pink Pantie Doves.
Don't we have any jets with laser bombs?
How about back to the future and carpet bomb the mountain passes between afgahnistan and pakistan.
If the feds wants to spend money, buy and use more bombs.
Because this is a further shift to "less counterinsurgency and more counterterror"
The first shift was last fall during the policy revue prior to to sending more troops.
That resulted in McCrystal's plan to limit his COIN mission to the population centers, major roads/highways, and broad valleys. The COIN missions in remote areas such as the Korengal Valley were shut down and/or converted to counter terror missions. Whereas there were 8 US compounds in the Korengal there in now only one.
As the WaPo article points out, Petraeus is the father of the counter-insurgency movement in the US Military, or the top COINdinista, so it has been unknown whether he would resist this shift away from COIN.
You need to understand that the US can reduce troop levels in Afghanistans and reduce the amount of money being spent there, over time, by gradually shifting to "less counterinsurgency and more counterterror"
The US has a significant counterterror mission underway in Yemen and this is being done with no military boots on the ground. It is all CIA and contractors. Likewise in Somalia.
Uses the M829. Very similar, but much higher muzzle velocity and kinetic energy.
Close to zero, but there are some.
WASHINGTON Seldom visible in the Yemeni mountains, the elite U.S. commandos training the Yemen's military represent the Obama administration's quest to fight terrorism without inflaming anti-American sentiment.
A Predator with JDAMs or Hellfire missiles can do all that, be on station faster, and do it cheaper. Particularly when you consider the cost of getting fuel convoyed into Afghanistan, and how much fuel an M1 uses.
I’m confused about what you think we are in disagreement about. Indeed a static M60 could nail a static structure decades ago.
The current mission is clearly at least to kill fixed structures AND also flush & kill gomers in the rocks.
Another part of the mission is morale and confidence. Positive for us and negative for them.
Happy to try again if I missed your point.
True about fuel consumption, the old M60’s got about 4 gallons per mile.Those v-12 continentals realy drank the fuel.
Perhaps not, but hitting a house a mile away while scooting along at 30 mph over rough terrain would have been quite an accomplishment for an M60A1 and her crew. For an Abrams, it's pretty much all in a day's work.
Most of it really isn’t tank country - its hilly, mountainous, lots of broken terrain. There’s not much of a need for tanks. What’s really needed is more mobile artillery, more tactical close air support and (especially) more helicopters.
You raise several good points. I want to respond with depth but I am traveling. Be back later; promise.
APFSDS I understand (which is even better).
There is no DoD "clear-hold-build" money being spent in Yemen.
You are correct. We have some troops in Yemen, but only as trainers. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Not quite. Petraeus had a lot of help in "fathering" this baby from James Mattis who was the co-author of the final draft of the counterinsurgency manual.
“The 68-ton tanks are propelled by a jet engine and equipped with a 120mm gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away.”
This line from the posted article is what prompted me to comment in the first place. Bragging about something that dated casts doubts on the reliability of the entire piece. And I am just too lazy to also take issue with the “jet engine”.
And Blueflag, My memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but I think the old APDS round from the rifled 105 didn’t spin in flight either as it was also fin stabilized.
I am in no way criticizing the M1. Our military fights as a combined arms team which needs both armor and aviation. Neither is a substitute for the unique capabilities of the other.
“Watch Obama cripple the effectiveness of the tank with more ridiculous ROE.”
Something along the lines of “only engage if the source of fire is another armored vehicle”.
Originally 105mm sabots were "spin stabilized". Later on, the M900 round used what was called, IIRC, an "obturator" which minimized the rotation imparted on the actual projectile by the 105mm's rifling, and in fact allowed the penetrator to be fin stabilized.
John Nagl not only served on the team to revise the manual and served as consultant to Petreaus, but also is/was the Rhodes Scholar of COIN and wrote the book "Eating Soup with a Knife"
Also, as pointed out at the link, Nagl became president of CNAS when Flournoy left there to become DoD undersecretary for policy under Gates. In fact, there were about 10 individuals at CNAS who took jobs in Obama's administration. Nagl does get to testify at numerous congressional committee hearings, and write articles published in major media outlets.
And it is possible that he could eventually get a job at DoD.
The only thing that Petraus has over Nagl is rank. General vs Lt. Colonel.