Paul at Wizbang didn’t link to the story he quoted from his local paper, but it’s probably just like this one:
…the AAV “is a lightweight amphibious personnel carrier not intended to be a fighting vehicle or anything like a tank. It’s one of the more vulnerable vehicles on the battlefield.”
That assessment, from Coffey and others, was echoed by Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, deputy director for regional operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has held senior combat command in Iraq. “Clearly the AAV does not offer the same protection as a tank,” Ham told reporters at the Pentagon.
Murdoc couldn’t see this one coming. Not after years of “but just because the Stryker doesn’t have as much armor as an M1 doesn’t mean it’s a deathtrap”. No sirreee, Bob.
Two days ago I noted that this latest incident where 14 Marines were killed by a roadside bomb wasn’t the only time that the AAVP7A1s had been hit. And I marveled during the initial invasion of Iraq that it was remarkable that the AAVs were going so far inland.
One evening (I think during the initial invasion but maybe shortly after) I watched old Greta van Sustren on FOXNews going on and on about, if helicopters are so dangerous, why do we keep using helicopters. She wouldn’t let it go. A helicopter had crashed, and she wanted to know why, since they’ve got a tendency to crash from time to time, do we still use them? I noted a similar outburst (of course, after another incident where a large number of troops were killed) early this year about the whirlybirds.
I don’t want to go into it for the millionth time, and most of you already get it. Everything is a compromise. You basically have mobility, offense, and defense. Then you determine your priorities based upon the mission this particular vehicle is going to be used for. Since the Amtrac needs to swim to be, well, “Am”, designers wisely decided to forego 40,000 pounds of armor.
Doubtless someone will hold this up as another example of Rumsfeld not caring about the troops.
A commenter on Wizbang noted:
That AAV article is probably part of a series, to be followed by:
‘The M16 Rifle Is No Tank Gun’
‘Abrams Cannot Fly’
‘Aircraft Carriers Cannot Submerge’
‘New Attack Subs Unable To Move Inland’
Well, that last one has already been covered by Andy Rooney:
We have nuclear submarines for sneaking up on enemies under water. One nuclear submarine costs $1.6 billion. We have 50.
They don’t dive in sand.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Anyway, I left a couple of comments myself there before deciding to post on this myself, and I hope that it’s okay if I quote myself here. The first was in response to someone who said they heard the Marines were using Amtracs because they were patrolling a swampy river area and they came in handy:
The Marines use Amtracs because that’s what amphibious Marines need to use.
While they may come in handy crossing the Euphrates or in swamps or something, you don’t just switch vehicles all of a sudden. This unit is an amphibious unit, so it uses Amtracs.
This isn’t the first time Amtracs have been blasted badly, and the large number of troops each carries means that casualties can be high when one gets hit. A Bradley doesn’t carry as many men, so even a total loss won’t kill as many. But then, a big complaint about the Bradley for a very long time was the low number of men it carries.
While it’s not reasonable to criticize the Marines for using Amtracs, a fair question might be: Since the Marines are going to be in the Peace & Stability business for the foreseeable future, might it make sense for some Marine units to make a switch to Bradleys or Strykers or M113s?
I had wondered about this earlier and Shek pointed out that it wasn’t only the infantry that would need to be reorg-ed but that additional vehicle crews would be needed. D’oh. I still wonder, since the Marines are bound to be in this business for some time, if they should at least look at it.
And finally, my anti-media rant:
This story is a simple illustration of maybe my biggest pet peeve: ignorance of military affairs by 99% of journalists.
I think all most journalists and editors know about the military is My Lai, the Pentagon Papers, and the words “Tet Offensive”.
Look. Although the military is complicated and sometimes just plain bass-ackwards, you’d think that people who were paid to cover the military would at least have more than an introductory understanding of military matters. But, sadly, we rarely see that.
I’m not genius. I’m just this guy, you know? Sitting at a desk on his luch break. I’ve never been in the military. So why is it that I can at least write competently (most of the time, anyway) about the military IN MY SPARE TIME when professional journalists fail so badly?