Someone I know sent me this link. A friend of hers has a nephew in the Stryker Brigade now in Iraq.
Insurgents made a coordinated rocket and mortar attack against Forward Operating Base Pacesetter, the Stryker brigade’s base camp near Samarra. Apparently, the barrage continued for twenty minutes (!) before the brigade’s 155s counter-fired and drove off the attackers.
No one was injured, and no damage was inflicted on the camp. About 20 107mm rockets were found in a position about 6 km away, propped up against a small berm and held in place by branches. A mortar position was found nearby.
Why did it take so long for the counter-battery artillery to react?
Earlier that day, an imporvised explosive device blew the tire off of a Stryker. No one was hurt, and the ambushers were caught fleeing the scene. On December 13th a Stryker was destroyed by an IED in an attack that wounded one GI.
Last week, a Stryker travelling cross country rolled into an irrigation canal when an embankment gave way. No one was wounded. A similar incident on December 8th put two Strykers into a canal, killing three. Both incidents are under investigation.
This is the trial by fire for the Strykers and the men who operate them. Although I think we’re badly overpaying for them (the machines, NOT the men), I’m expecting them to be pretty successful in Iraq. They are the perfect mix of mobility, protection, and firepower that we need for the current operations against insurgents. A year from now, if lessons learned are implemented, they will be just that much better. No amount of practice or testing can simulate a live operational environment or real combat. Already, the Army wants to upgrade the communications system, although this has been a complaint about the Stryker for some time.
Just today, Strategy Page had a post (Dec 22) about the continuing shortage of tracks for Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
To keep the Bradley’s in Iraq supplied with replacement tracks, the army’s only depot that refurbishes worn tracks (about 80 percent of the track is reused) has had to go from one shift a day, five days a week, to 24/7 production. Even at that, stocks world wide are being depleted. That’s one reason for the rush to get more armored Humvees over to Iraq.
The Bradley has better protection than a Stryker, and much more firepower. (I still think that we should have a “Super Stryker” variant with a 25mm chain gun like New Zealand is ordering.) But the primary reason for the Stryker’s existence, other than a bone for the Military-Industrial Complex, is the fact that it’s lighter and it’s wheeled rather than tracked.
The Marines were quite happy with their LAV’s in Iraq. The Stryker is based on the LAV, although the Marine versions sport that 25mm Bushmaster. The Stryker can’t take the place of a tank or a Bradley, but it’s not supposed to.