Us Sending Tanks To Afghanistan

fox1371

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About all I know about tanks/tank warfare is that there's a phone on the back for when you want to talk to the people inside. Outside of that, I'm not really sure if this is a good thing or not. From where I was anyways, it seemed like trying to get a bunch of tanks around could prove to be more of a hinderance than a help.

Washington (CNN) -- The United States is beefing up its firepower in Afghanistan by employing heavily armored tanks in Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, a military spokesman said Friday.
The U.S. Marine Corps plans to use a company of M1A1 Abrams tanks in restive Helmand province by early spring, said Marine Maj. Gabrielle Chapin.
The M1A1 tank is the fastest and most deadly ground combat weapons system available. It will allow for more aggressive missions while mitigating risks to U.S. forces, the military said.
The tanks were used successfully by U.S. forces to battle insurgents in Iraq's Anbar province, Chapin said.
"They bring superior optics, maneuverability and precision firepower that will enable us to isolate insurgent forces from key population centers and provide the ability to project power into insurgent safe havens," he said.
Other coalition forces, including those from Canada, already have used tanks in Afghanistan.
The decision comes as Afghanistan tops the agenda at the NATO summit that starts Friday in Lisbon, Portugal and amid a public dispute between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO leaders over military strategy.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I don’t know about Afghanistan, but in Iraq I loved having the Bradley’s and Abrams as support. I am a firm believer in Tanks, Bradley’s and Stryker’s in urban environments.
 

fox1371

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I don’t know about Afghanistan, but in Iraq I loved having the Bradley’s and Abrams as support. I am a firm believer in Tanks, Bradley’s and Stryker’s in urban environments.

I am not sure where they're planning on employing these tanks, I have a pretty good idea though. Where I was in Afghanistan there was quite a bit of farmland, and the terrain just wouldn't support a tank...at least I don't think it would. We would catch rides with LAV's which were supposed to be able to handle any terrain and we were still getting stuck everywhere. I completely agree that tanks are an excellent tool. I'm just trying to figure out where they're going to employ them. Of course my experience is limited to southern Helmand.
 

surgicalcric

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My God...they just dont get it. It seems the more unconventional this conflict and the enemy moves the more conventional our response(s) become. A war of attrition isnt getting us anywhere...

Seems like we would have learned from the mistakes the Soviet Union made, with respect to using tanks or at the very least picked up on the sheer number of disabled T55/T72's scattered throughout Afghanistan and pondered to themselves why that might be...

Maybe an ODA or two will be un/lucky enough to find themselves TACON to a tank BN to provide QRF (between closing down COPs) when one gets shot in the ass/disabled by RPGs or turned over by an IED...

And before someone decides to take my comments out of context, I have no issues providing QRF for guys when needed but have a SERIOUS issue being told, by conventional commanders who cant spell UW, that providing QRF and COP closings is all my ODA will do...well that and provide HUMINT and analysis for such.
 

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Tanks could be useful in some situations, having that type of maneuverablitiy and speed (if they operate in a place where they can, in fact, maneuver) and firepower could be very helpful. At the same time, it could complicate logistics, and it will be a huge propaganda victory for the other side every time a tank is disabled/destroyed.
 

RackMaster

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I'm sure this has to due to our move to Kabul and ending combat missions next year; which includes sending our tanks home. From what I've heard our tanks were very beneficial in a lot of different situations. I think it's a great idea and should have been done years ago.
 

AWP

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Do they not understand that everytime we tell the locals we aren't like the Soviets we turn around and do some massively stupid shit the Soviets did? These people don't give a monkey's ass about geopolitics, al Q, or anything like that...not in some areas, so when they see the Afghan and Polish gov't flying Mi-24 variants or the dozens and dozens of Mi-8/ 17's around here, IL-76's, tanks, the increasing number of "we're here to help you" troops, the butt-fucking corrupt muppets we've placed in office......

and we expect the people to jump on Uncle Sam's bandwagon?

If we're going to be THIS culturally and historically insensitve, we might as well drop some nukes on Mecca and start the party right.

Fuck.
 

Hitman2/3

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Do they not understand that everytime we tell the locals we aren't like the Soviets we turn around and do some massively stupid shit the Soviets did? These people don't give a monkey's ass about geopolitics, al Q, or anything like that...not in some areas, so when they see the Afghan and Polish gov't flying Mi-24 variants or the dozens and dozens of Mi-8/ 17's around here, IL-76's, tanks, the increasing number of "we're here to help you" troops, the butt-fucking corrupt muppets we've placed in office......

and we expect the people to jump on Uncle Sam's bandwagon?

If we're going to be THIS culturally and historically insensitve, we might as well drop some nukes on Mecca and start the party right.

Fuck.

Couldn't agree with you more. Funny how they want more SOF but as Surgicalcric pointed out when they get you they want to use you all fucked up and not listen to what your telling them. The same people making the political decisions about Afghanistan don't even understand the political and cultural ground truth. The tribesman out in the middle of nowhere could care less about what some guy a couple hundred miles away says. In laymen’s terms he's not in his chain of command even if he is the appointed governor or president. Hell I'm not sure if you could ever understand all the little intricacies, but you would think they would at least pick up a "For Dummies" book to get a general idea. Here I am with a couple of college courses and I see what a couple hundred people who are "smarter than me" can't. Guess you really can't buy common sense.

On the tanks themselves, I could see some uses for them but not sure if Afghanistan is the right place for them. I guess time will tell.
 

fox1371

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Hitman and Freefalling, I couldn't agree with you guys more. Excellent points to bring to the table.

I don't think that tanks are fit for Afghanistan, especially when IED warfare is one of their main means of combating us. Tanks just aren't built to take direct hits to the undercarriage. They have an outstanding reactive armor system on the sides, but that's not going to help. The terrain out there is constantly changing so unless they intend on keeping them static, I don't see it being possible logistically to employ them. Maybe they can just fly it around hanging from a helicopter and have it shoot at things. That'd be pretty cool.

What happened to the COIN effort? Is rolling tanks into villages really going to help? I would be willing to bet that for the cost of shipping the tanks and manning them, they could just as easily boost up our air assets.
 

Marauder06

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I don't see the presence of tanks to necessarily be counter to the overall COIN strategy, although the financial cost-benefit analysis is an interesting point. I will say though that tanks could prove to be more responsive and more all-weather than air support, might be better precision in some instances too.
 

fox1371

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I don't see the presence of tanks to necessarily be counter to the overall COIN strategy, although the financial cost-benefit analysis is an interesting point. I will say though that tanks could prove to be more responsive and more all-weather than air support, might be better precision in some instances too.

From my experience, locals thought that we were the Russians coming back again. We had to convince the village elders that we were there to help them and not kill them. With all of those areas where the regions are tribaly controlled, I think that rolling through with tanks will only hinder the COIN effort. Especially when you have Karzai running around telling everyone that the Afghans will be assuming control of their own country soon. The tank move kind of contradicts that :)
 

Marauder06

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The tanks can roll back out in 2014, no drama ;)

I see this as a way to increase force protection, both from a physical protection standpoint and a fire projection standpoint. Will be interesting to see how it works out.
 

Manolito

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I can't believe what I am hearing here. If you could go back in time you would think you were in VN. we had Providence chiefs who were very local and only cared about their area. If we could do something to improve his standing in the area we did a good thing. Example village made gravel they each had a six inch square of steel and a hammer and sat around all day making little ones out of big ones. The A team asked what they could do to help the village chief. he said to help improve gravel production. The A team came to us and asked for help we put together an a frame with two garage door springs and a 8 inch diameter bar four feet long and a welding table. we set the hole thing up and increased production way beyond expectations. The Staff Sergeant came back later and told us how it had gotten him very valuable intel. The point being national didn't mean anything to these people it was all about today and village. Sounds a lot like what I am reading here.
PS Tanks sank where I was at so it wasn't an option. Could it be we didn't learn anything over the last 50 years?

Bill
 

SpitfireV

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I think that's where a lot of people fail when it comes to understanding Afghanistan- they see it as a proper state when you really need to look at it as cut up into big swathes of firstly ethnic areas and secondly tribal regions.
 

Mac_NZ

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I asked a Marine Coy Comd in a LAR Regt who just finished up in the area they want to send these to about this.

He is of the opinion that a lot of the terrain is suited to their employment.

Anyone know off hand the penetration of a 120mm on those god forsaken mud huts? I cant find it my MOUT small unit leaders guide but if it will get through those walls that laugh at .50 then I see it being a good thing to have on your side.

Dismounted Infantry moving up with Armd as a FSG is a tried and true method, I see it working well in areas where they are pretty much rolling out waiting for someone to hit them so they can then fuck them up. A lot easier to direct accurate fire with a tank then it is from a fixed wing and it might be a work around with the CAS restrictions.
 
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My God...they just dont get it. It seems the more unconventional this conflict and the enemy moves the more conventional our response(s) become. A war of attrition isnt getting us anywhere...

Seems like we would have learned from the mistakes the Soviet Union made, with respect to using tanks or at the very least picked up on the sheer number of disabled T55/T72's scattered throughout Afghanistan and pondered to themselves why that might be...

Maybe an ODA or two will be un/lucky enough to find themselves TACON to a tank BN to provide QRF (between closing down COPs) when one gets shot in the ass/disabled by RPGs or turned over by an IED...

And before someone decides to take my comments out of context, I have no issues providing QRF for guys when needed but have a SERIOUS issue being told, by conventional commanders who cant spell UW, that providing QRF and COP closings is all my ODA will do...well that and provide HUMINT and analysis for such.

I agree, you need tanks for support. But, I guess there are lessons too to be learnt from the previous Russian forces who's tanks still litter parts of Afghanistan.

However thou, you can agrue todays modern Abrams tanks or Bradley Fighting Vehicles are far superior in firepower, weaponary, speed, armour, countermeasures, better trained and equipped (rangefinders, nightvision; starlight scopes and passive infrared scopes) tank crews etc. to the some what much older outdated Russian designed T55 (1950's) or even their slightly more modern T62 & T72 tanks (1960's-70's production). All of which by the way are still used to the present day.
 

surgicalcric

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I agree, you need tanks for support....

Agree with who?

No one has made the argument that the M1 isn't sexy. Nor am I arguing that the ground commander shouldn't get what he asks for. What I am questioning is the decision itself in the context of COIN.

The trouble is us continuing to say we aren't an occupying force (similar to the Soviets) but our actions are saying something different. We were warned about this back in early 2002; we didn't listen then and it appears we still aren't.
 

pardus

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Could it be we didn't learn anything over the last 50 years?
Bill

The problem isn't so much with us learning Bill, it's remembering what we learnt.

This is particularily true when it comes to UW, conventional commanders through out everything learnt as soon as an UW conflict is over and re-concentrate their forces to "real" conventional issues/training/warfare.
 

Etype

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  • Tanks have awesome range with their main gun and it's instant firepower, no waiting for a CFF- big, big plus.
  • Tracks distribute weight over a larger surface area than wheels, tanks can go anywhere a wheeled vehicle can plus some more.
  • It would take a HUGE IED to flip a tank. it would take a backhoe to dig in an IED that big.
Tanks were the tits in 06-07 Iraq. We made good use of them for QRF. A tank can haul ass into the fight and not worry too much about IEDs along the route. Their 120mm has effects and range that can only be matched by a Javelin or TOW, however, it can be employed on the move and at a much higher rate of firepower. Not to mention all the high powered optics they bring to the fight.

RPG vs tank, ok, it's worked a couple times. RPG vs HMMWV works everytime. I'd rather be in the tank.

At the end of the day, force on force, the Taliban is in a bad way against a tank.
 
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