12:40 11 Apr 2003

StrategyPage has some info about airlifting armored units into Iraq via C-17. Notable is

This tank moving capability was part of the basic specification for C-17s. But it is rarely used because the concentration of weight puts a lot of stress on the C-17, especially during landings. In fact, the air force refuses to land a C-17 carrying a Abrams on a dirt landing field. The C-17 is built to land on such crude fields, but this also puts a lot of extra stress on the landing gear. So adding a rough field and a C-17 with an Abrams is considered too risky. The C-17 can also carry two Bradleys. These, together, are nearly as heavy as one M-1, but the weight is distributed more evenly.

I had read previously that only 1 Bradley could be flown per C-17. Either way, it’s a slow process. Still, airlifting in a major armored unit is quite a feat. The story says that “as many as a hundred” armored vehicles have appeared up north. Incredible. (See? I told you we wouldn’t be flying much armor in!) The story goes on to say that the tanks and IFVs are probably from the 4th ID in Kuwait, but we know that some armor in northern Iraq is from the 1st ID in Germany. Is this maybe a separate force? Honestly, I would have thought that the 4th ID would drive from Kuwait to Tikrit. We’ll see.