Gavins in recent combat!

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This web page is dedicated to our good friend, retired armored vehicle engineer Bill Criswell who passed away this year. A courageous and wise voice of reason against the wheeled truck madness infecting the Army and DoD, the picture above was his favorite of 11th Combat Engineers leading the way into Baghdad using M113 Gavins with gunshields. Bill you will never be forgotten!

m113a3: greatest afv in the world!

See Swiss Army M113 Gavins firing 120mm mortars video clip!

Warning: Don't try this in a Stryker truck!


Notice that more Soldiers have died in 300 Strykers in only a few months of Iraq duty with all kinds of armor slapped onto them at the cost of millions of dollars than the few who have died in over 1,700 "vanilla" applique' armor-neglected M113 Gavins already in combat in Iraq for over 2 years!. Now with the situation desperate and the Army having wasted $BILLIONS and years of preparation time on inadequate Strykers and Humvees, the American Soldier turns to the greatest armored fighting vehicle of all time, ever--the M113 Gavin to save the day and bring him and his buddies home alive to be living not dead heroes.
We still have a long, long way to go to fully adapt the U.S. Army to the non-linear battlefield..our light units need M113 Gavins starting with Delta Weapons companies and supply & transportation units with XM1108 cargo carrying variants...we still have thousands of M113 Gavins in storage that need to be put into service....but it was at this moment that the tide finally turned against the wheeled madness threatening to destroy the U.S. Army and our Soldiers...

American Iraq War Casualties

Army armors 700 Iraq-bound troop carriers

January 6, 2005
WASHINGTON, Jan 05, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Army is sending more than 700 newly reinforced armored personnel carriers to Iraq to boost troop protection.
It will spend $84 million adding armor to 734 M-113/A3s and M-577s personnel carriers, making them more protected than the several thousand "soft-skinned" Humvees in use in Iraq, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., hailed the move Wednesday. He had sent a letter to the Pentagon in December asking that the old vehicles be pressed into service.
The level of armor on Army and marine vehicles has been a contentious issue since October 2003 but took center stage in December when a reserve Soldier challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about it in Kuwait.
The military says soft-sided Humvees are generally only used on military bases. However, trucks that do not carry additional armor routinely travel on Iraq's roads and are frequently targeted by roadside bombs.
United Press International
Army to upgrade armor on older personnel carriers
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - The Army, beset with complaints that its troops are going into combat in inadequately armored Humvees, will send an older and less used class of armored personnel carriers to Iraq after spending $84 million to add armor to them.
These vehicles, both veteran warhorses, are the M113/A3 armored personnel carrier and the M577 command post carrier. Both will be tougher and safer than newly armored Humvees.
Army officials who pushed hard over the last two years for getting the M113 into duty in Iraq said it was more useful, cheaper and easier to transport than the Army's new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle, which also is in use in Iraq.
The Army and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found themselves at the center of a firestorm last month over the pace of adding armor to the Humvee, a small transport vehicle that's been pressed into service in Iraq as a combat vehicle. Critics have charged that even with armor the Humvee is too easily destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
An Army representative, who didn't want to be identified, said Monday that $84 million was being spent to add armor to 734 M113/A3s and M577s.
For the M113s, that includes hardened steel side armor, a "slat armor" cage that bolts to the side armor and protects against RPGs, anti-mine armor on the bottom and a new transparent, bulletproof gun shield on the top that vastly improves gunners' vision.
The M577, nicknamed the "high-top shoe" for its tall, ungainly silhouette, will get only slat armor and anti-mine armor. Its high sides can't take the steel armor without making the vehicle unstable and even more liable to roll over.
The slat-type armor essentially is a metal cage designed to detonate RPGs before they breach the steel armor and the light aluminum wall. Similar slat armor has been added to the Stryker vehicle.

The armor kits will be produced in the United States, the Army representative said, and installed in Kuwait.

The representative said the M113 upgrade was requested by Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the ground commander in Iraq, and approved by Gen. George Casey, the commander of multinational forces in Iraq.
The M113 typically carries a driver, a commander and 11 infantry Soldiers. It can be fitted with a .50-caliber machine gun or a MK19 40mm grenade launcher. The M113/A3 version, introduced in 1987, has a bigger turbo-charged diesel engine, an improved transmission, steering and braking package, and inside liners to suppress spall, the superheated molten metal produced by RPG and tank-round hits. It has a range of 300 miles and a road speed of more than 40 mph. It also can swim.
More than 80,000 M113s in 28 configurations have been manufactured since they were introduced in 1960, and they still do yeoman duty in many of the world's armies.
At around 13 tons, the M113 is much easier to transport than the behemoth M1A2 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle or even the wheeled Stryker.
The Army has spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying armored Humvees at $150,000 each and buying and making special tempered-steel and bulletproof-glass kits to add armor protection to the thin-skinned variety. The demand for armor on the Humvees grew as insurgents began pouring RPGs onto American patrols and convoys, and detonating deadly homemade bombs in the late summer of 2003.
The current demand in Iraq is for more than 22,000 armor-protected Humvees, a goal the Army says it will meet sometime between now and March. Its prime focus has turned now to armoring the five models of trucks that travel Iraq's dangerous roads to supply American forces.
Rumsfeld recently told a Tennessee National Guard Soldier, who asked why his outfit had to scavenge dumps in Kuwait for scraps of armor for their Humvees, that "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might like to have."
One serving officer, who asked not to be identified, said Rumsfeld "didn't even let us go to war with the Army we had; he made us leave half our armored vehicles at home in pursuit of lighter, faster and cheaper."



SFC Smith died because the Army did not supply a GUNSHIELD to the top of his M113 Gavin tracked armored fighting vehicle (TAFV) despite us knowing from the 1963 Vietnam Battle of Ap Bac that they are needed and then they have been available for years! After Vietnam, the Army went back to non-warfighting mode as it will after Iraq is done. The 3rd ID is going back to Iraq and we had to fight to get them their shields since the current Army leadership would rather waste billions on handfuls of Stryker trucks deathtraps than on war-winning TAFVs.

Local Man To Receive Medal Of Honor


TAMPA - Raised in Tampa's Palma Ceia neighborhood, Paul Ray Smith found his home in the Army. A demanding, driven platoon leader, he worked his troops hard and brooked no excuses.
Smith was killed by enemy fire in Iraq nearly two years ago. His tenacity, passion and bravery have earned him the nation's highest award for courage in combat, the Medal of Honor.
Smith's family was informed of the decision Tuesday by an Army officer close to the process. The medal is to be presented to Smith's widow, Birgit, by President Bush at a ceremony in Washington. No date has been set.
Birgit Smith said she was asked by Pentagon officials late Tuesday not to discuss the award until it is announced formally. That was expected to happen within days.
"Obviously it's a great honor for him," close friend Greg Harris said Wednesday. "I'm very happy for his family that he'll receive the medal."
Smith, a sergeant first class, joins an exclusive group. Millions of Americans have served in combat since the Civil War, but the medal has been awarded just 3,459 times after being created in 1862, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
There are 129 living recipients, including retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Littrell of St. Pete Beach.
"It's for an act above and beyond the call of duty." said Littrell, a Vietnam veteran. "If there's anyone who deserves the Medal of Honor, it's Paul Smith."
Smith was killed April 4, 2003, when his unit was attacked by more than 100 Iraqi troops east of Baghdad International Airport.
Serving with a team of about two dozen combat engineers, he jumped on an armored vehicle and sprayed the Iraqis with a .50-caliber machine gun. According to Soldiers who were in the battle, Smith fired for nearly 10 minutes, squeezing off as many as 500 rounds.
Behind the machine gun, he could see the enemy forces. But they could see him as well.
Smith, 33, was hit in the neck by a single gunshot. He died less than an hour later.
Smith's actions allowed injured Soldiers to be evacuated and others to escape the enemy fire, according to the Army's account of the battle.
Before Iraq, the last combat action in which the Medal of Honor was awarded was Somalia in October 1993. The medals were awarded posthumously in May 1994 to Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart, members of the Army's secret Delta Force who died protecting the crew of a downed Black Hawk helicopter.
A "Straight-Up" Guy
Smith was born in September 1969 in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Tampa.

Harris, 32, met him at south Tampa's Corona Playground more than 20 years ago. They spent their time playing football, riding bikes and listening to Top 40 music on Q105.

"He was a straight-up, honest guy," said Harris, who doesn't recall Smith ever getting into trouble.
Smith was a pack rat, collecting marbles, screws, and other odds and ends. As an adult, he steered toward anything with bald eagles or Marilyn Monroe on it.

He was a curious youngster, too. He would take a radio apart and then put it back together. There would be parts left over, but the radio would work.

After graduating from Tampa Bay Technical High School in 1989, Smith enlisted in the Army. Harris drove him to boot camp. After that, Harris did not see him more than once or twice a year when he would come home on leave.
The reunions weren't all fun and games, however. During one, Smith spent three of his four days off putting cabinets in a new glass and mirror shop that Harris and his father had opened on Busch Boulevard.
Harris last saw Smith in November 2002 when their families went for a day trip to Savannah, Ga. Smith said he likely would go to Iraq if there was a war, and that he would be on the front lines.
Harris learned of his friend's death when he got a call from Smith's older brother, Tony.
"Paul won't be coming home," Tony said.
"You mean anytime soon?" Harris asked.
"No, I mean not at all," Tony replied.
Life-Altering Experience
Harris said he was not surprised when he learned of Smith's heroism.
"I knew he would do whatever he needed to do to get his guys home," Harris said.
Lisa DeVane, Smith's sister, said Army life suited her brother. To him, issues were framed in black or white, right or wrong. There were no shaded areas.
Smith served during the first Persian Gulf War, and it was a life-altering experience,
DeVane said in an e-mail in June.
"I think it stripped him of any innocence he had left of boyhood, and he became a man of driven purpose," she said.
As he moved up the ranks, Smith drilled his troops incessantly on the need to be prepared, to be ready for any situation and to watch each other's backs.
Smith did not talk in detail about his first combat experience, but DeVane recalled one story he told her.
As the war began, thousands of Iraqi civilians began fleeing the country and were put up in tents. One of the refugees was a young mother who clutched her baby tight. After a few days, Smith realized the child was dead, and the woman could not bear to let it go.
"It broke his heart," DeVane said.
The fanfare surrounding the Medal of Honor is ironic. Smith, a modest man, would have had none of it.
"If there hadn't been reporters in the field that day, we probably wouldn't have known his story,'' Harris said. ``He would have considered it another day at work."


There are 1, 775 Gavins in combat in Iraq now. Time is of the essence. The Army over the years has refused to attach the spaced armor they are supposed to have. We do not have to wait any longer! There are 1, 600 old M2A0 Bradley fighting vehicles (BFVs) here in the U.S. that have thin laminate armor skirts that are of no use to them since these beat up and rotting BFVs need to be completely refurbished and fitted with thicker skirts to hold explosive reactive armor (ERA) tiles since the skirts are bolted directly to the BFV hull without separation to pre-detonate RPGs. These old BFV skirts sitting at Red River Arsenal and on decaying BFVs in other locations can be cut and fitted to Gavins for only the cost of installation. These "A0" kits can be sent forward to Iraq for Soldiers to attach to their Gavins themselves. The A0 armor kits can remain in Iraq when units rotate out to help the incoming units prevail in combat.
1. To get A0 armor kits for your Gavins, have your unit send up an Operational Needs Statement (ONS) through your chain-of-command to get the BFV skirts sret aside.
2. Contact UDLP, maker of the mighty M113 Gavin and alert them of your combat need:
UDKP Larry Clark (703) 312-6127
The A0 kit also includes extra armor plate for the front glacis of the Gavin!

Note the separation for the skirt to act as a "strike face" for incoming enemy fires. Most M113 Gavins come with mounting provision bolt attachment holes or they can be added easily.

Notice how the BFV skirt is cut by high-pressure water cutters to fit the compact M113 Gavin.

Notice the extra front armor plate attached to the Gavin's front.

Replace the hopeless Humvee, Pentagon chiefs are urged

By David Rennie in Washington

(Filed: 28/04/2004)

Armoured cars being sent to Iraq are not up to the job, according to a senior United States army general, prompting calls for Pentagon chiefs to swallow their pride and reactivate thousands of mothballed Vietnam-era armoured personnel carriers.
With improvised bombs, rifle fire and rocket-propelled grenades taking an ever deadlier toll on coalition forces, the Pentagon is spending £225 million to replace thin-skinned versions of the Humvee, the US military's ubiquitous jeep-like transport, with an "up-armoured" model, as fast as they can be churned off the production line.
Humvees are proving easy prey on the streets of Iraq
Commanders have shuddered as troops attached home-made armour plating and even sandbags to ordinary Humvees, whose thin skin, canvas doors and shoulder height windows have made them highly vulnerable to attack.
The new, armour-plated Humvees have been touted by Pentagon chiefs as the best solution to complaints from the field about the standard version of the vehicle.
But Gen Larry Ellis, the commanding general of US army forces, told his superiors that even the armoured Humvee is proving ineffective.
In a memo leaked to CNN television, he wrote: "Commanders in the field are reporting to me that the up-armoured Humvee is not providing the solution the army hoped to achieve."
Reports from the field say that even with armour plating, the Humvee's rubber tyres can be burnt out by a Molotov cocktail, while at two tons, it is light enough to be turned over by a mob.
Gen Ellis said it was "imperative" that the Pentagon instead accelerate production of the newest armoured personnel carrier, the Stryker, which weighs 19 tons and moves at high speed on eight rubber tyres.
But the Stryker has many influential critics who say it is too big to be flown easily on the military's C-130 transport aircraft, and too cumbersome to manoeuvre in narrow streets. Instead, they want the Pentagon to turn back the clock and re-deploy thousands of Vietnam-era M-113 "Gavin" armoured personnel carriers, which are still used by support and engineering units, and are held in huge numbers by reserve units.
Gary Motsek, the deputy director of support operations for US army materiel command, said: "I have roughly 700 113-series vehicles sitting pre-positioned in Kuwait, though some are in need of repairs. I have them available right now, if they want them."

General David Grange calls for decisive action to reverse situation in Iraq: M113 Gavins to the rescue!

DOBBS: The U.S. Army is sending hundreds of armored Humvees to Iraq to protect troops from attacks by insurgents. But tonight, there are new fears that the armor on those reinforced Humvees is still inadequate to provide protection for our Soldiers.
Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the report.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With U.S. troops still dying in deadly roadside attacks, the Pentagon is spending $400 million racing to replace the Army's basic thin- skinned Humvees with reinforced up-armored versions. But the better armor is still not providing adequate protection, writes a four-star general in a memo obtained by CNN.

"Commanders in the field are reporting to me that the up-armored Humvee is not providing the solution the Army hoped to achieve," writes General Larry Ellis, commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, in a March 30 memo to the Army chief of staff.

Critics say, even with better armor, the Humvee's shoulder-level doors make it too easy to lob a grenade inside. Its four rubber tires burn too readily. At two tons, it is light enough to be overturned by a mob.

General Ellis wants to shift Army funds to build twice as many of the Army's newest combat vehicle, the Stryker, which has eight wheels, weighs 19 tons and when equipped with a special cage can withstand an RPG attack. "It is imperative that the Army accelerate the production of Stryker vehicles to support current operations," Ellis says.

But critics say the Army is overlooking an even cheaper, faster solution than the $3.3 million Stryker, the thousands of Vietnam era M-113 Gavin personnel carriers the Army has in storage which can be upgraded with new armor for less than $100,000 apiece. Neither the Stryker nor the Gavin offer 100 percent protection. Some U.S. troops have been killed in the top-of-the-line M1-A1 Abrams tank. But the more armor, the better chance of survival.
MCINTYRE: In his memo, General Ellis pleads for quick action, lamenting that, while the U.S. is at war, some in the Army seem to be in a peacetime posture. He writes: "If our actions impede the ability to train, equip or organize our Soldiers for combat, then we fail the Soldier and the nation" -- Lou.
DOBBS: And General Ellis' remarks and note come a year after that war began in Iraq. What is -- what is taking so long for the command structure of the U.S. Army, the U.S. military, to provide the equipment that our men and women need in Iraq?
MCINTYRE: Well, I think the short answer is that they misestimated the threat that they would be facing at this point. They have been trying to adapt as time went on. They have been rushing the armored Humvees into theater, but now they are realizing they don't provide enough protection either. What General Ellis wants to do is quick action to get the authority to shift some funds around and ramp up production of the Strykers, so you can get more of those into the combat theater.
But, as I said, some of the critics say they should look to some of the vehicles they already have in storage. They think they can get them there even faster. I think General Ellis is reflecting some of the frustration that the Army feels it can't act fast enough to get enough protection to its troops.
DOBBS: General Ellis, a four-star general. Who put him in charge of looking into this? What is, if you will, his portfolio?
MCINTYRE: Well, he is commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command. So his main job is training and equipping. And, of course, he's writing this memo to the Army chief of staff, who is the main person in charge of training and equipping the Army, General Schoomaker. So the right people are focused on the problem. The question is how soon will they have the solution?
DOBBS: Well, for the sake of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, let's hope very quickly.
Jamie, thank you very much -- Jamie McIntyre, our senior Pentagon correspondent.
The military believes about 2,000 insurgents and foreign fighters are now holed up in Fallujah. The marines are hoping those insurgents will surrender their heavy weapons. But the troops are preparing to assault the city if the insurgents do not disarm.
I'm joined now by our CNN military analyst, General David Grange.
General, good to have you with us.
DOBBS: I have to ask you, first, what is your reaction to Jamie McIntyre's report and the statement by General Ellis that, point blank, our command structure seems in some respects to be in a peacetime posture, while our men and women in uniform are in war in Iraq?
GRANGE: Well, Lou, I know the leadership of the Army and I don't think they are in a peacetime mind-set.
However, I do agree totally that armored vehicles need to be sent to Iraq immediately to solve some of these problems with the Humvees. First of all, the -- any armored vehicle can take a certain kind of hit and be destroyed or incapacitated. However, Humvees are not the answer. It's too light-skinned, even the up-armored, for some of these actions, whether it be reply or combat missions that the troops have.
The interim solution is to take the inventory that was just shown on the broadcast of the old '113s, armor those, and use those immediately in Iraq to protect the troops.
DOBBS: General Grange, you are talking about what was popularly known as the APC, the armored personnel carrier, thousands of them, Jamie McIntyre reported, in storage and ready to be rearmored if necessary.
Under current armor, could the APC still be serviceable, that is protect our troops in Iraq?
GRANGE: There's no 100 percent protection, but it would provide much more protection than a Humvee and they are readily available and can be up-armored quickly. The Stryker is going to take too long to produce that many. So I'd get something out there now during this very intense period in Iraq.
DOBBS: General, the question has to be asked, this is the 21st century. The U.S. military is supposed to be the most advanced and focused and technologically advantaged force in the world. Yet what appears to be at least at first blush when we have men and women without sufficient armored vests, when they don't have armored vehicles, even the old APC, it does raise a question, what in the world has gone on with our command structure? Because we've got men and women dying there.
GRANGE: Well, that's true. And it's -- when you are a commander on the ground, it's very frustrating when you don't get the things that you think, at least you think that you need. We relearn lessons from every war.
DOBBS: General, excuse me. Let me be clear in my question, if I was not. I'm not worried about the commander at the company level or the battalion level. I'm talking about the command structure of the United States military, the Pentagon.
GRANGE: Yes, the upgraded vehicles need to be sent to Iraq immediately. They should have already been there. The Humvee is not the answer. I think there was the -- the assessment that the transition after the maneuver warfare to the stability and support operations were not be as violent as it's become was off-base a little bit. But it can be fixed now. Let's do something now and at least provide the needed protection and maneuverability that can be afforded now with the assets that we have. It's still not too late to do something.
DOBBS: Twenty-two -- 2,500 Soldiers, rather, now around Najaf, the U.S. marines surrounding Fallujah. Negotiations continue, which are being honored in the breech here. What is your -- your assessment as to the risk and the necessity of entering in particular Fallujah?
GRANGE: Fallujah, I have a problem with the cease-fire. There are some people that generally want it in Fallujah, some of the civilian leaders. But the hard-core insurgents are going to continue when they want to attack coalition forces, unless they are disarmed.
The city has to be continue to be isolated. You have to separate as many of the civilians from the insurgents as possible. You have to control key terrain and the services provided to the city itself. And you have to take down enemy strongholds as you find them. It's the only way to ensure lasting peace in this particular city. I believe there's a lot of them, insurgents, in there and that's one reason they want to negotiate.
DOBBS: Do you think we should not be negotiating? Mark Kimmitt, General Mark Kimmitt, said capture or kill Muqtada al-Sadr. And the response so far has been, negotiate.
GRANGE: Well, in Fallujah, that out to be taken care of right now. I think there's some time for Sadr. Even though he's maintaining weapons, he's building up his supplies for a fight, I think that that can be worked out, I really do, with some senior Shiite clerics. But, in Fallujah, that's the immediate problem. That has to be taken care of. I think it's OK to have a cease-fire to give it a chance.
The coalition should give it a chance. But I would not test it too much with those marines. In other words, if it looks like it's not working, then be on with it and get on with it and take care of the insurgents in that town once and for all.
DOBBS: General David Grange on point, thank you.

The airdroppable light tracked armored fighting vehicle is the creation of legendary Airborne General James M. Gavin, who proposed it in his visionary book, Airborne Warfare in 1947. He wrote:

"Using a 150-foot canopy singly, or in combination with a 90-foot canopy, it is practicable to drop an artillery piece and its prime mover. Some visionary individuals have even suggested that personnel carriers be dropped in this manner. The idea has merit...

....Organizations created to fight the last war better are not going to win the next. Nor is building an airplane around the ground weapons that won the last war an assurance that we will win the next. Keeping foremost in our minds the functional purposes of our means of ground combat, these means must be developed and produced so that they can be delivered to the battlefield in sufficient quantity to gain the decision. ..not only must our airplanes be developed but our ground fighting weapons and equipment as well. Only thus will we attain a position of dominance in Airborne Warfare"

Up to that time, mechanized infiltration "maneuver warfare" or "blitzkrieg" tactics to breakthrough WWI-style linear defensive fortifications were hampered trying to exploit opportunities created by light tracked tanks transporting infantry with vulnerable open-topped half-tracks or worse unarmored, air-filled, rubber-tired trucks, both vehicles unable to go where tanks or infantry's own boots took them. The cause of this was in 1940, the Army's Chief of Cavalry, General Herr refused to mechanize and wanted to keep horse cavalry, so the Army decided to work-around him by creating an "Armor" branch with no sound battlefield function when it should have fired General Herr and made Cavalry branch mechanize so tracked tanks for infantry break-through and all-around mobile combat to include air-delivery alongside the Airborne--had a home. Furthermore, tracked tanks as Sapper siege engines should have found a home in Army Combat Engineer branch so the U.S. Army could have had an armored-protected obstacle and mine defeating capability like the British Army's 79th Armored Division ("Hobart's Funnies") had on D-Day to prevent heavy casualties from enemy fire like we experienced on Omaha Beach. After WWII, General Gavin saw the foot mobility and lack of armored protection that beset his beloved Paratroopers dropped by parachutes from fixed-wing aircraft deep into enemy territory in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Holland and Germany and did something to correct it; setting the requirements while Army Chief of Research and Development in the 1950s which later resulted in the amazing M113 in 1959. General Gavin saw the future, non-linear battlefield and wanted robust, initiative-taking Paratrooper units that could achieve decisive maneuver results. In 1954, General James M. Gavin wrote in his Harper's magazine article, "Cavalry and I don't mean horses":

"Where was the cavalry? ...and I don't mean horses.

I mean helicopters and light aircraft, to lift Soldiers armed with automatic weapons and hand-carried light anti-tank weapons, and also lightweight reconnaissance vehicles, mounting anti-tank weapons the equal or better than the Russian T-34s...If ever in the history of our armed forces there was a need for the cavalry arm--airlifted in light planes, helicopters and assault-type aircraft--this was it... Only by exploiting to the utmost the great potential of flight can we combine complete dispersion in the defense with the facility of rapidly massing for the counter-attack which today's and tomorrow's Army must possess"

John B. Wilson writes in his excellent book, available online, MANEUVER AND FIREPOWER: THE EVOLUTION OF DIVISIONS AND SEPARATE BRIGADES, CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY UNITED STATES ARMY WASHINGTON, D. C., 1998 Chapter 26 "The Army and the New Look"

"To provide the weapons and equipment for the nuclear Army, scientists, engineers, and designers, among others, combined to produce a steady stream of new or improved items. From rifles, mortars, semiautomatic and automatic weapons, and recoilless rifles at the company level to powerful rockets, missiles, and artillery in the support commands, more efficient instruments of war were fashioned to increase the firepower of the combat forces. Whole new families of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles emerged, with both short- and long-range capabilities. With the emphasis on mobility, even the larger and heavier weapons and equipment were designed to be air-transportable.

A program to produce ground and air vehicles with the necessary battlefield mobility led to the development of armored personnel carriers, such as the M113 with aluminum armor, that could move troops rapidly to the scene of operations while providing greater protection for the individual Soldier. Since highways and bridges might be damaged or destroyed, dual-capability amphibious vehicles that could travel on rough terrain and swim across rivers and swamps freed the fighting units from total dependence upon roads".

Major Robert A. Doughty writes in, The Evolution of U.S. Army Tactical Doctrine, 1946-76, Combat Studies Institute U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, August 1979:

"Following the shock of the North Korean tanks in the summer of 1950, intensive efforts were devoted to developing tanks. In a remarkably short period, the Army produced the M41, M47, and M48 tanks, and it soon produced the M59 armored personnel carrier and began developing the APC M113. Such vehicles and units were considered ideal for operating on the atomic battlefield and for conducting a rapid and violent strike against a numerically superior enemy.

At the same time, armored units were 'best suited for the mobile defense or for use as the mobile reserve for a larger force.' [76] Given the specter of a dispersed atomic battlefield in which mobility provided the extra ingredient for rapid strikes and counterstrikes, the mobile defense-for the moment-seemed to provide a logical solution to the perplexing and difficult problem of balancing the need for dispersion against the need for mass.
During the same period, Major General James M. Gavin, while commander of the U.S. VII Corps in Germany ran exercises on tactics for the atomic battlefield and noted that World War II-type organizations could not 'adapt themselves to nuclear tactics. The one exception was our armored divisions.' Gavin concluded that it was necessary to redesign the infantry division into relatively autonomous and widely dispersed 'battle groups, each one capable of sustained combat on its own'. [80] Interestingly enough, Colonel Reinhardt and Lieutenant Colonel Kintner had reached the same conclusion in their 1953 book on atomic warfare. [81]
The major results of the tests were suggested by Major General Gavin in a news conference in February 1955 when he explained that the new concepts envisioned a 'cellular rather than linear' battlefield. Gavin also explained that the new standard divisions would be prepared for atomic or non-atomic warfare, but the non-atomic war was more likely. [83] The tests also indicated that improved communications permitted a division commander to control more units than the traditional three regiments, and that the 'optimum number of subordinate units' was probably five... [84]
Armored Personnel Carriers were maintained under the centralized control of the transportation battalion.
Greater emphasis was placed on strategic mobility. With the exception of the tanks, a division's equipment was supposed to be transportable by long-range aircraft, Such mobility was essential given the emerging concept of rapid employment of ground forces throughout the world in 'limited' engagements. In many ways, the emphasis on strategic mobility made the late 1950s the golden age of the Airborne units which were also organized under the pentomic concept.
According to the Army's new concept, the combat zone in an atomic war would be vastly larger in width and depth than those of previous wars. Army leaders concluded that many more ground troops would be required on the extended nuclear battlefield than on the comparatively smaller conventional battlefield.

Army leaders also believed that large massed troop concentrations could not remain in an area for an extended time without becoming an extremely lucrative target for the enemy. Combat units must be dispersed and must be organized in 'checkerboard' fashion with considerable gaps between units. Each Pentomic battle group was designed to operate and sustain itself on this 'cellular' battlefield, and each was capable of all-around defense. An atomic strike might damage a battle position or cause some disruption, but it would not result in a complete 'fracturing' of the entire position. As for tactical mobility, units were to be rapidly shifted from one position to another within a battlefield. Indeed, small, highly mobile tactical units were one of the most important elements in the pentomic concept. The division's tactical mobility ranged from foot mobility to the use of trucks, armored personnel carriers and aircraft. Army units were designed to converge rapidly from dispersed formations in order to make an attack, exploit the effects of atomic weapons or to destroy enemy forces. Then, they were to disperse rapidly to minimize their vulnerability to enemy counteraction.

Being able to concentrate or disperse quickly was the key to success and survival on the atomic battlefield. In the offense, atomic weapons could destroy major enemy concentrations while highly mobile infantry and armor forces could rapidly exploit deep into the enemy's position. In the defense, some penetration between the dispersed defensive positions by the enemy was unavoidable. However, once his attack was disrupted by the series of battle positions, he would be vulnerable to the defender's atomic weapons or to counterattacks on his flanks or rear. General C. D. Eddleman explained, 'Flexibility and rolling with the punch, rather than rigidity, will be the keynote of the defense.' [89] Flexibility was also the keynote of the offense".

After it was discovered that the command & control technology for the Pentomic concept was not up to the task, the ROAD force structure was created. Major Doughty continues:

"One of the major changes under the ROAD concept was the creation of mechanized infantry units of division, brigade and battalion size. Under this concept, mechanized units mounted their fighting elements and supporting weapons in fully tracked, lightly armored vehicles (the M113 armored personnel carrier). The vehicles provided a high degree of cross-country mobility, protection from small-arms and fragmentation, and substantial protection from the effects of nuclear weapons.

Mechanization permitted the rapid massing or dispersal of units, as well as enabling them to maneuver under enemy fire and to exploit the effects of supporting fires. Because the typical mechanized division had three tank battalions, it possessed a significant offensive as well as anti-tank capability, and the mechanized elements were better able to "complement and enhance" the capabilities of tank elements.
However, the mechanized division was distinctly different from the armor division. The mechanized division placed the greatest emphasis on the infantry while the armored division placed the greatest emphasis on the tank. This was clearly evident in FM 7-20, Infantry, Airborne Infantry, and, Mechanized Infantry Battalions, which stated: '[A] mechanized infantry battalion in an armored division is normally employed to support the advance of tank elements. In the infantry and mechanized divisions, the reverse is true-armored elements are used primarily to support the advance of infantry elements.' [103] While this might vary within normal operations since brigades could be tailored to be infantry or armor-heavy, the title 'infantry' or 'armor' usually suggested the focus of the operations.
Although all the combat arms were affected by the adoption of the ROAD concept, the doctrine for the employment of tank forces was the least affected by these changes. The artillery was only slightly affected since it had already made important steps toward increased mechanization. The infantry was the combat arms branch most affected by the new ROAD concepts which included increases in mobility and mechanization of the infantry. The formation of mechanized infantry units forced the infantry to adopt many of the practices and thinking of the armor and irrevocably linked a significant portion of its resources and intellectual energies to the mechanized battle. Tactical doctrine, nevertheless, stressed continuity rather than change.
When FM 7-20, the manual on the different types of infantry battalions, discussed the characteristics and capabilities of the various battalions, its major point was that the mechanized infantry battalion had a 'sustained capability for rapid movement' while the airborne infantry battalions had the 'capability to conduct frequent airborne assaults.' [104] Once dismounted, infantry techniques theoretically remained similar to those of the past two decades. To accomplish its mission, the infantry was still required to dismount from its vehicles which primarily were viewed as a means of allowing the Soldier to enter combat faster and better prepared to fight. Little or no emphasis was placed on the infantry fighting from its armored vehicles. A 1965 manual on the mechanized infantry battalion, for example, noted that the infantry should not remain mounted too long because of the danger of 'group destruction by short-range weapons.' [105]
The increases in mobility and firepower supposedly did not change the basic function of the infantryman; they only improved his ability to accomplish that function. Yet important doctrinal questions appeared that were not directly associated with traditional infantry doctrine. The debate over the proper dismount point for mechanized infantry units in a tank-infantry attack illustrates the increasing complexity of accomplishing infantry functions in the traditional fashion. Changes in mobility made the responsibilities of the infantry commander much broader and much more complex, forcing him to consider his 'traditional' problems in an entirely different manner. The entire realm of mechanized warfare, with all its complexities, was now added to an already long list of infantry tactical skills which would become even more complex when airmobile operations captured the attention of the Army".

Simon Dunstan writes in The M113 Series, that the Army's requirement for the M113;

"...was to provide a lightweight, armored personnel carrier for armor and infantry units capable of amphibious and airdrop operation, superior cross-country mobility and adaptation to multiple functions through applications of kits and/or modifications of its superstructure, under the designation Airborne, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle Family (AAM/PVF)".

The AAM/PVF which became the M113 Gavin was the infantry-carrying counterpart to the Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle (AR/AAV) which eventually was fielded as the M551 Sheridan light tank. The intent of both light tracked armored fighting vehicles was to be aircraft-transportable and highly cross-country mobile which both succeeded in doing in combat, the M113 living on to the present day with no end in sight.

Operation Defensive Shield, April 2002: IDF M113A3s leading the way into enemy urban areas---4 decades after its creation, the design of the light tracked M113 is far superior to rubber-tired armored cars, would you want to send a force rolling on rubber deep into hostile lands surrounded by enemies in all directions? What about tracks "hurting" the paved roads? What about "operational mobility"? The M113 has these problems solved and more--in spades. Again, another brilliant battlefield MANEUVER by legendary General/Leader Ariel Sharon, who has saved Israel on numerous occasions; the 1956 Mitla Pass Airdrop, the 1967 seizing the Sinai, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon which ousted the PLO, and today Operation Defensive Shield where M113A3 infantry in Palestinian territories separate civilians from terrorists to stop their violence. The halls of freedom's heroes include men like Gavin, Ridgway, Patton, MacArthur, Carlson, Chamberlain, Sherman and Sharon.

Take all of the mobile formation and movement capabilities a light tracked AFV provides through the M113 Gavin which was done to avoid the effects of nuclear weapons (still a battlefield threat) and apply them to today's precision guided weapons in a surveillance strike complex (SSC)---the same cross-country go-anywhere mobility is needed TODAY, in 2002. And the vehicle that can do this is the light tracked 10.5 ton M113A3 Gavin, not bloated, overweight 20-24 ton LAV-III rubber-tired armored cars or even 33-ton tracked M2/M3 Bradleys. Only the light tracks of the M113A3 Gavin can prevail against future enemy SSCs by unpredictable, bold and decisive air/sea/land maneuver; to include world-wide rapid, mass delivery by cargo 747s to nearby staging bases then parachute airdrop, extremely short landing by small C-130 Hercules turboprop aircraft, swimming ashore from Army sealift ships and CH-47D/F Chinook helicopter sling-loads. If the battlefield is a fraction of how lethal the precision-strike, RMA firepower hubrists think it is to justify their mouse-clicking firepower constructs, then the battlefield is going to be full of civilian refugess, wrecked and burning cars, broken glass, fallen power and telephone lines, burning and demolished homes and factories, exploding bombs and missiles everywhere---in short an almost nuclear "hell" created by "precision" and non-precision "low-tech" weapons---then the U.S. Army must roll on off-road capable, obstacle-crossing light tracks not air-filled rubber tires. And the light tracked armored fighting vehicles have to be small and light enough to get there by aircraft and prepositioned sealift without needing airfields and ports to get there IN TIME or we will lose the war by default-failing to show up--the enemy wins. He who lands the first blows in SSC warfare has the advantage and there may be no recovery to the defender unless he has a SUPERIOR Surveillance Strike Maneuver Capability (SSMC).

"The Americans will always do the right thing... After they've exhausted all the alternatives."

-- Sir Winston Churchill
Therefore, arguably, 4 decades later, the M113 is the greatest armored vehicle of all time, ever---because its basic combat design requirements are valid and enduring. The U.S. Army just hasn't realized this yet as it wastes billions on bullshit lav3stryker rubber-tired armored cars that are failing in field exercises and quasi-tests. Churchill's quote about the American penchant for BS until forced by circumstance to do the right thing is absolutely true. The design of the light tracked M113 Gavin meets the needs of present and future battlefields where lethal weaponry effects, man-made and natural debris are the rule; ill-conceived, vulnerable, air-filled, rubber-tired, road-bound armored cars created to just peacekeep-on-the-cheap, do not meet the requirements of the entire spectrum-of-war from stability and support operations all the way through to major nation-state warfare. The basic 1970s design of the LAV armored car is based on faulty assumptions and cannot be excused away by posturing that it was done 10 years after the sound M113 light tracked design was created. 10 years is a "drop in the bucket" time-wise in vehicle development and usually and easily wasted in vehicle fabrication and testing not necessarily any thoughtful analysis, or "revolutionary" technical progress. To think that an armored car built on faulty assumptions about the battlefield 1-10 years after a sound light tracked design enters service is anything other than faulty and is somehow more "advanced" is ludicrous and a sign of either ignorance and/or naive avant garde' human progress arrogance. A non-combat capable armored car is still a non-combat-capable armored car regardless of whether you choose to build it immediately or 10 years from now.

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