Strykers Gear Up for First Crack at Taliban


Verified Military
Verified Military
Oct 24, 2006
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Strykers Gear Up for First Crack at Taliban


News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2009 -- The Army’s Stryker armored vehicle will get its first crack at the resurgent Taliban and terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan this summer when the 2nd Infantry Division’s 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team hits the ground there.

Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, said at a Pentagon news conference yesterday that he specifically requested the Stryker brigade for its versatility.

“I asked for a Stryker capability, with one of the brigade combat teams, so that it could provide the mobility, the situational awareness, the protection,” McKiernan said. “And, quite frankly, it provides a lot of infantrymen. And that would give us an ability to maneuver capabilities in the southern and southwestern parts of Afghanistan.”

The brigade will bring about 4,000 soldiers and nearly 300 Strykers to the fight in Afghanistan. They will be operating in the country’s southern region and along the Pakistan border, areas that don’t have a sufficient security presence, preventing governance and infrastructure progress, McKiernan said.

“We need persistent security presence in order to fight a counterinsurgency and to shape ‘clear, hold and build’ in support of a rapidly developing Afghan capacity,” he said, referring to the strategy of clearing an area of insurgents, preventing them from returning, then taking advantage of the improved security to build governance and infrastructure.

The additional troops also will have a dual responsibility in training and organizing Afghan police forces and army, he said. Military leaders there hope to double the size of the Afghan army to 134,000 troops as soon as 2011. Mentoring and training Afghan forces is necessary for success there, the general said.

“Our goal [is] to attempt to accelerate the growth of the Afghan army,” McKiernan said. “But we need to do that in a smart way. We need to do it in a holistic way, so it's not just a question of numbers; it's a question of training, equipping, leader development and their employment.”

The Army brigade’s deployment was officially announced this week as part an additional 17,000 soldiers and Marines President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed the deployment orders at around 7:25 a.m. on Feb 17, and Obama’s announcement was pending notification of the soldiers’ and Marines’ families, Pentagon officials said.

The Strykers originally were slated for an Iraq deployment this summer, but anticipated the switch “some time ago,” a brigade spokesman said yesterday.

Army Maj. Mike Garcia wouldn’t give specifics as to when the soldiers were notified of their new Afghanistan mission, but said it was enough time to adjust their training before arriving at the National Training Center earlier this month at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“Their training scenario is focused on an Afghanistan fight,” Garcia said. “We knew this some time ago and had enough time to modify the scenario.”

The brigade started its training at the National Training Center on Feb. 15, learning the various cultures within Afghanistan. Persian Farsi, Pashto and Urdu are some of the languages and customs they’ll get a crash course in. They’ll also learn what to expect regarding Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, weather and type of insurgency they may face, based on military experiences there.

Their training will continue through the end of the month, Garcia said.

The Stryker brigade concept has proven successful in urban warfare since it was first introduced to live combat December 2003 in Iraq, but it has never been used in Afghanistan. The Stryker community recognizes the challenges, but is confident in their capabilities.

“Yes, it is a different theater,” Garcia said. “Combat is never easy, but they’re still prepared, mentally and physically, to go to combat. It’s just a different place on the globe to us.”

Afghanistan’s mountainous and rigid terrain, freezing weather and the freedom of movement insurgents have enjoyed there will be new challenges for the Stryker. There are distinct differences compared to Iraq regarding the terrain and culture, but Garcia said, “the basic tenets and concept of fighting a counterinsurgency remain the same.”

“Stryker brigades are very versatile,” he said, echoing McKiernan. Strykers can travel long distances very fast. The 10 different models of Stryker vehicles include infantry, engineer, reconnaissance and medical evacuations variants, and can carry as many as 14 soldiers, Garcia explained.

“With the incredible capabilities they have to conduct reconnaissance and target bad guys with precision operations while mitigating collateral damage, Strykers are probably one of the best formations that the Army has put on the fields in decades,” he added.

The 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team will be making the unit’s first combat deployment. It was activated at Fort Lewis on May 4, 2007, as the Army’s seventh Stryker brigade.

More to follow.

(Report by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden, American Forces Press Service.)

Did they bring the Mobile Gun variant over? I'd be curious to see how it performs in combat, considering we decided against the purchase of them and went back to the old faithful Leo tanks.

As for the rest of the fleet, as long as the crews are well trained; they'll perform well. It's basically the same fleet we have and I've heard mostly good but some bad from the guys using them.
The Stryker vehicle that the Americans deploy is essentially the same vehicle as the Canadian LAV 3 - however, the Canadian version is armed with a 25mm chaingun while the American Stryker is not.

Both vehicles come in a variety of versions, based on the Pirannah 3 vehicle chassis. For the purposes of this article, the Stryker being mentioned is essentially the same as the LAV 3 - minus the deadly firepower the LAV 3 can unleash.

The 25mm firepower from the LAV 3 can be extremely effective in engagements - just look at the footage from Kesterson to see what I mean. "Mouse-holing" the mud brick structures is a great way to kill bad guys - and the 25mm is pretty good at it. With various kinds of ammunition, the lethality of that 25mm only goes up. The 105mm and 120mm firepower that MBT's bring to the table are great for destroying targets in a way that the 25mm just can't.

The American stryker vehicle lacks this firepower - so while great for protection and mobility, it isn't going to bring a whole lot of firepower with it.

**One thing I forgot to mention is mobility. One of the downfalls of the LAV 3 is that it is a wheeled vehicle. While it has great performance in general - sometimes, wheels just can't go where tracks can go. This doesn't mean the vehicle is bad at all - different tools for different jobs, thats all. While highly mobile and speedy, sometimes wheels just can't go where tracks can go. Also - the LAV 3 tends to be a bit top heavy & has been prone to long as the crews are aware of this & know how to handle their vehicle in the Afghan terrain, they should be fine.

*On a side note - agreed, thank goodness we did not go through with the purchase of the Mobile Gun System!! What a horrible idea from dinosaurs who were trying to be cutting edge & transform the military to fight a type of warfare they didn't have much experience in. Thank goodness the armoured corps straightened that mess out - and the new Leopard 2A5's are proving themselves quite nicely!
I've seen numerous photos of Apache and A-10 rounds that did not penetrate some of the mud huts and compounds around here, your fire would have to be very precise in order to be effective. Javelins are a popular item in some units because of this.

At least one allied nation brought their version of the mobile gun system, it is working well over here.
The Stryker vehicle that the Americans deploy is essentially the same vehicle as the Canadian LAV 3 - however, the Canadian version is armed with a 25mm chaingun while the American Stryker is not.

I don't think you needed to go into such detail... I'm Canadian and military... thanks for the essay though. ;)
Which nation brought their version of the MGS over to the sandbox??

I've seen Dutch MBT's and British 155mm's...haven't seen any MGS style vehicles though. Can I inquire as to which nation?? Curious - gonna geek it out & research it a bit.

As for the essay, sorry :p Maybe someone else will find it useful though -
I was in a stryker unit, and although it doesn't have a 25mm, we'd still fuck your world up.

I know they'll work great for a large portion, but where I was... have fucking fun with that shit LOL... hmmwv and SA baby... S A.
Hey Ranger,

If you guys didn't have a 25mm mounted - what weaponry did you guys throw on the vehicles?? No doubt even without a 25mm the Stryker can be a deadly vehicle - I was simply pointing out that 25mm allowed us to reach out & touch people at a further distance with increased lethality.

Also, is the American version as top heavy as the Canadian version? You can google some images of flipped Canadian vehicles - but without the 25mm and with a different turret, did you find your vehicles were overly top heavy as well??? Curious.