Stryker stuff

First, some photos from Frontline Photos (Jan 17 and 18):

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Also, Stryker Brigade News points out a bunch of good photos on Yahoo! News.

Next up, a reader alerted me to a story in The Irish Times about the incident near Mosul where a car tried to drive through a patrol and was shot up by Stryker soldiers. The incident left two Iraqi civilians dead and five children spattered with blood and without parents. A photo of a crying, bloody Iraqi child is on the front page of the Irish Times’ paper and website with the headline “Troops kill Iraqi couple in front of children”. Do I detect a hint of bias there, or am I just oversensitive?

This is, of course, a terrible incident. The Army is investigating it, and I hope that things are handled properly. I expect that they will be.

It’s been known pretty much since March 2003 that Iraqis don’t seem to take things like roadblocks, checkpoints, armed patrols, and firing tanks very seriously while driving. In fact, I noticed a post on A Day in Iraq a couple of weeks ago (but relating a story from April, 2003, apparently) that included the following:

All day we layed on the pavement pulling guard and watching the Brads shoot at cars that wouldn’t turn back. Bazarre thing to watch. On a few occasions, after warning shots were ignored, the Brads would fire at the tires or hood, disabling the vehicles. I couldn’t help but wonder what these people were thinking. Why would they keep driving towards two Bradleys shooting at them. Why don’t they just turn around. I was happy to see that the people in the disabled vehicles walked away unharmed. One man, the hood of his car in flames from three rounds of HE, casually got out of his car and walked away. He acted as one might act after discovering they had a flat tire.

Besides pulling guard and watching cars get shot at, there were other strange sights to be seen considering our locale. Guys eating MRE’s while in the prone, looking up from there meal to see which car was getting shot at.

I’ve seen this sort of tale over and over. I’ve heard that the two things soldiers like about the Stryker’s slat armor are that it 1) stops RPGs and 2) keeps Iraqi drivers at least a couple of feet from the vehicle. Iraqi drivers just won’t stop sometimes. Many times they end up with a destroyed car. Sometimes they end up wounded or even dead. But what are our guys supposed to do about it? It sounds like they acted appropriately in this case.

Taiwan unveils armored vehicle
Like the Israelis, the Taiwanese have opted against buying Strykers and instead are going to go with a home-built vehicle:

Chen lauded the military research team responsible for developing the CM-32 vehicle as a “warrior for life” for its ability to complete research and development on the project at a very low cost.

One military observer said the CM-32 represented an effort by Taiwan to become less dependent on foreign defense contractors.

Wendell Minnick, Jane’s Defence Weekly Taiwan correspondent, said that many in the United States wanted Taiwan to kill the project.

“The U.S. wants Taiwan to buy the eight-by-eight Stryker light armored vehicle, and there are many in the army here who would like to buy it, due to its dependability and proven war record.”

The CM-32 is called the ‘Yunpao’, or “Cloud Leopard”. They admit that there are a few problems to work out yet, including stability while firing a 105mm main gun on some versions (cough, cough). But it’s passed a major test already:

Then it went down a 40-degree slope in second gear without breaking.

I imagine they meant “braking”, but come on. That’s funny.

Stryker Brigade Concept Proves Itself in Ninewa
There’s no doubt that the Stryker has certain limitations. But when it’s used for what it’s designed to be used for, it seems to be performing exceptionally well.

“But it’s important to remember that it’s not an ‘either-or’ proposition,” he continued. “There is a definite place for Bradleys and main battle tanks. We have tanks in Mosul right now, and I’m here to tell you that the insurgents don’t like them.”

Although the Mosul area has been the Stryker Brigade’s AOR since the first Stryker unit took over from the 101st Airborne in early 2004, recently the Mosul area has been beefed up by other Army units. It seems to me that many of the insurgents that escaped from Fallujah are trying to make Mosul their new home, and the Army wants to discourage them. (Pics of non-Stryker armor unloading in Mosul here.)


  1. Re: Murdoc From time to time, the decision to buy foreign weapon or use homegrown devices are balanced between the practicality (proven and someehat inexpensive foreign systems) against nationalism and good ole fashion job farm. I’m not quite certain of IDF’s decision, but in the Taiwan’s case, having your own program and the jobs is probably the primary factor.

  2. It is a real pity when people use children in war to try to prove a point. I would not be too surprised if we get suicide bombers riding with kids in their car, just to try to make it look like a normal civilian car. Drug smugglers have known this tactic for a while, as the presence of children makes people feel like noone could mean to do harm.

  3. I don’t get it, I live in Lebanon, the Army sets up road blocks from time to time to control people’s papers (they don’t really care if ur drunk or underage, that’s the cops job). Occasionaly a guy doesn’t stop at the checkpoint, he just keeps on cruising (fast), and surprise-surprise………he gets shot, usually by the M-2HB sitting on the side of the road. It won’t make the front page of any newspaper here. The guy would be considered a moron and that’s that.

  4. I’ve been working a contract in the Mid East for the last 7 months. Despite many positive attributes…….Arabs (not all of them, of course)do have some genuinely detrimental cultural traits (as do we all). One is a very pronounced ‘me first’ driving attitude. I’ve seen hundreds of totally bone moves by Arab drivers; their capacity for self centeredness, being oblivious and disdainful of other drivers and pedestrians, and ‘doing their own thing regardless……..’ is a source of amazement to me. I’m not in Iraq, and my observations are obviously anectedotel. However, the comments in this article about the morons driving into checkpoints and patrols etc are way similar to what I’ve observed. Fortunately (for the people I’ve seen exhibiting this kind of behavior) I haven’t had a belt fed, or 25mm (otherwise the hand wringers would be all over me too LOL!). I may be calloused or crass……..but I think people that self centered or stupid (regardless of ethnicity) should be taken out of the gene pool.

  5. You should check out the driving here, not exactly what you’d call ‘safe’. It’s not an infrastructure problem really, we have traffic lights, lane seperations and all the bells and whistles; but try getting a guy to follow the rules! I’ve seen countless people drive ON the lane seperation lines, it drives me crazy, there’s nowhere to go especially on a 2 lane road! And speeding is a serious problem, last year 1776 people died in car accidents alone, with a population of 3 million, that’s enourmous! Eventually you yourself gets the hang of it, and start off driving the same way as everybody else, you’d probably sweat like a pig in the beginning but it end up being second nature.

  6. Gab………we must have been watching the same people drive! That’s exactly the type of garbage we see/get here (Israel) too! The Israelis (not all, but too many of them) don’t drive any better, and tend to be even more arrogant in their ‘me first’ attitude (at least the ones in the area I’m working in). When I go home on leave I have to remind myself to ‘slow down…….you can’t drive as fast as you want, and sidewalks ARE NOT under utilised parking space!’ Stay safe up there!

  7. Funny how they are so alike (Leb and Israeli) yet can’t stand each other, a shame. I know what you mean about ‘returning to civilization’, my mother spends 3 months here then 3 months in Montreal, in the first few days in Canada she freaks out any passengers she’s driving with. But it seems more and more Canadians are driving like her now, apparently Lebanese expats have been teaching the Canadians a thing or 2 in the art of ‘agressive’ driving.