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ray243

M1 Abrams Tanks Slated for Deployment in Afghanistan

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The U.S. military is sending a contingent of heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, defense officials said, a shift that signals a further escalation in the aggressive tactics that have been employed by American forces this fall to attack the Taliban.

The deployment of a company of M1 Abrams tanks, which will be fielded by the Marines in the country's southwest, will allow ground forces to target insurgents from a greater distance - and with more of a lethal punch - than is possible from any other U.S. military vehicle. The 68-ton tanks are propelled by a jet engine and equipped with a 120mm main gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away.

Despite an overall counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes the use of troops to protect Afghan civilians from insurgents, statistics released by the NATO military command in Kabul and interviews with several senior commanders indicate that U.S. troop operations over the past two months have been more intense and have had a harder edge than at any point since the initial 2001 drive to oust the Taliban government.

The pace of Special Operations missions to kill or capture Taliban leaders has more than tripled over the past three months. U.S. and NATO aircraft unleashed more bombs and missiles in October - 1,000 total - than in any single month since 2001. In the districts around the southern city of Kandahar, soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division have demolished dozens of homes that were thought to be booby-trapped, and they have used scores of high-explosive line charges - a weapon that had been used only sparingly in the past - to blast through minefields.

Some of the tougher methods, particularly Special Operations night raids, have incensed Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who told The Washington Post last week that the missions were undermining support for the U.S.-led war effort. But senior U.S. military officials involved in running the war contend that the raids, as well as other aggressive measures, have dealt a staggering blow to the insurgency.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss specific tactics, said the combination of the raids, the airstrikes and the use of explosives on the ground have been instrumental in improving security in areas around Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold that has been the focus of coalition operations this fall.

"We've taken the gloves off, and it has had huge impact," one of the senior officials said.

That, in turn, appears to have put U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander, in a much stronger position heading into a Friday meeting of NATO heads of state in Lisbon, where Afghanistan will be a key topic of discussion. It also will help the general make his case that the military's strategy is working when President Obama and his advisers conduct a review of the war next month.

A U.S. officer familiar with the decision said the tanks will be used initially in parts of northern Helmand province, where the Marines have been engaged in intense combat against resilient Taliban cells that typically are armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and homemade bombs. The initial deployment calls for about 16 tanks, but the overall number and area of operations could expand depending on needs, the officer said.

"The tanks bring awe, shock and firepower," the officer said. "It's pretty significant."

Although the officer acknowledged that the use of tanks this many years into the war could be seen as a sign of desperation by some Afghans and Americans, he said they will provide the Marines with an important new tool in missions to flush out pockets of insurgent fighters. A tank round is far more accurate than firing artillery, and it can be launched much faster than having to wait for a fighter jet or a helicopter to shoot a missile or drop a satellite-guided bomb.

"Tanks give you immediate, protected firepower and mobility to address a threat that's beyond the range" of machine guns that are mounted on the mine-resistant trucks that most U.S. troops use in Afghanistan, said David Johnson, a senior researcher at the Rand Corp. who co-wrote a recent paper on the use of tanks in counterinsurgency operations.

The Marines had wanted to take tanks into Afghanistan when they began deploying in large numbers in spring 2009, but the top coalition commander then, Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, rejected the request, in part because of concern it could remind Afghans of the tank-heavy Soviet occupation in the 1980s. As it became clear that other units were getting the green light to engage in more heavy-handed measures, the Marines asked again, noting that Canadian and Danish troops had used a small number of tanks in southern Afghanistan. This time, the decision rested with Petraeus, who has been in charge of coalition forces in Afghanistan since July. He approved it last month, the officials said.

Use of intense force

Although Petraeus is widely regarded as the father of the military's modern counterinsurgency doctrine, which emphasizes the role of governance, development and other forms of soft power in stabilization missions, he also believes in the use of intense force, at times, to wipe out opponents and create conditions for population-centric operations. A less-recognized aspect of the troop surge he commanded in Iraq in 2007 involved a significant increase in raids and airstrikes.

"Petraeus believes counterinsurgency does not mean just handing out sacks of wheat seed," said a senior officer in Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency"doesn't mean you don't blow up stuff or kill people who need to be killed."

Since his arrival in Kabul, Petraeus has permitted - and in some cases encouraged - the use of tougher measures than his predecessors, the officials said. Soon after taking charge, he revised a tactical directive issued by the commander he replaced, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, to prohibit subordinate officers from placing additional restrictions on the use of air and artillery strikes.

"There is more top-cover support for appropriate aggression," said a civilian adviser to the NATO command in Kabul.

The adviser said McChrystal, who spent much of his military career in secretive Special Operations units, might have been reluctant to increase the tempo of night raids and airstrikes because it could have created the perception that he was not sufficiently supportive of the counterinsurgency strategy. McChrystal also sought to limit raids and airstrikes because errant missions had resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians, stoking Karzai's anger and threatening to disrupt relations between the two countries.

"Because Petraeus is the author of the COIN [counterinsurgency] manual, he can do whatever he wants. He can manage the optics better than McChrystal could," the adviser said. "If he wants to turn it up to 11, he feels he has the moral authority to do it."

Despite Karzai's recent criticism of the raids and the overall posture of coalition forces - he said he wants military operations reduced - there have been relatively few reports of civilian casualties associated with the recent uptick in raids, airstrikes and explosive demolitions. Military officials said that is because of better intelligence, increased precautions to minimize collateral damage and the support of local leaders who might otherwise be complaining about the tactics. In Kandahar, local commanders have sought the support of the provincial governor and district leaders for the destruction of homes and fields to remove bombs and mines.

"The difference is that the Afghans are underwriting this," said the senior officer in Afghanistan.

Repeated complaints

But many residents near Kandahar do not share the view. They have lodged repeated complaints about the scope of the destruction with U.S. and Afghan officials. In one October operation near the city, U.S. aircraft dropped about two dozen 2,000-pound bombs.

In another recent operation in the Zhari district, U.S. soldiers fired more than a dozen mine-clearing line charges in a day. Each one creates a clear path that is 100 yards long and wide enough for a truck. Anything that is in the way - trees, crops, huts - is demolished.

"Why do you have to blow up so many of our fields and homes?" a farmer from the Arghandab district asked a top NATO general at a recent community meeting.

Although military officials are apologetic in public, they maintain privately that the tactic has a benefit beyond the elimination of insurgent bombs. By making people travel to the district governor's office to submit a claim for damaged property, "in effect, you're connecting the government to the people," the senior officer said.

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111806856.html

Pic of area:

Fig-3-final.jpg

Fucking finally

Edited by ray243

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It worked well for the Russians.. Granted they're only going to be in Helmand, but I still believe tanks and Ghanny don't mix well.

Anyways for shits and giggles I'll post this. Funny comic of tanks in ghanny

Edited by Big Mac

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It makes sense to me economically, at the moment Javelins are being used for what a tank's HEAT rounds would typically be used for, but guided missiles are about twenty times the price of a tank's HEAT.

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That said Javelin's don't have the logistic chain of a battle tank.

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That said Javelin's don't have the logistic chain of a battle tank.

Try to take a wheeled vehicle to where a tracked vehicle can go and you'll get a logistical chain of tyres in Afghanistan. :D

Seriously though it's clear the Americans learnt from the Canadians (and Denmark) with their use of Leopards. Tanks can be used for fire support from base, spotting IED emplacement, to go where the wheeled vehicles can't go to disrupt the 'rat lines', and a major role is as a deterrent.

---------- Post added at 05:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:34 PM ----------

It does'nt matter what kind of equipment is deployed to A-stan...this "war" can't be won with military actions.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/25-Oct-2010/Afghan-war-cant-be-won-militarily-Holbrooke

Wait, you're talking about a country that declared a war on drugs then a war on terror...

Edited by MrBump

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Thanks Daniel ..... But I seem to remember that the Russians didn't achieve much with their tanks either. Tanks rounds may be cheaper but loosing tanks a groups of fast paced RPG hunters is also costly. Am I wrong here?

And as far as the war in Afan-Land, well it all depends on the right weapon and HOW far you want to take it. Any war is winable. It's just HOW bad you want to win.

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Thanks Daniel ..... But I seem to remember that the Russians didn't achieve much with their tanks either. Tanks rounds may be cheaper but loosing tanks a groups of fast paced RPG hunters is also costly. Am I wrong here?

Yeah I agree we should look to the soviet's experience in the 80's rather than the present Canadian's experience, an experience that caused them to cancel their replacement of Leopard tanks for LAV-III vehicles as the Leopards had been so valuable in Afghanistan. Why can't the Americans just learn?

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i wonder why they simply dont deploy stryker MGS (aside from being army units, not marine) in the place of tanks. it is what the damn thing was designed for :p

i mean i see MGS and stryker TOW carriers just sitting around parked here in iraq all the time.

course they could actually be using them in a'stan and I dont know about it... meh

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More nails in the coffin - policy is being followed up-to the letter. Don't quote me on this but by the time the US is ready to pull out of Afgan, you'll be seeing more domestic warfare than in the whole decade of dick flapping in the valleys of this mountainous country.

Here's hoping the Citizen have some sense left in them, otherwise the men in uniform will uphold their oaths to protect the land from both, foreign and domestic enemies.

P.S. There was a request for a platoon of tanks a few years back and this tank company is too little too late. Pray to your g-ds that Pakistan will be willing to supply the US with fuel till 2014. :icon_rolleyes:

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Yeah I agree we should look to the soviet's experience in the 80's rather than the present Canadian's experience, an experience that caused them to cancel their replacement of Leopard tanks for LAV-III vehicles as the Leopards had been so valuable in Afghanistan. Why can't the Americans just learn?

I'm probably going to draw alot of flak for this but I think it's due to our reliance on technology and young age as a nation compared to everyone else. Our signature state is "Shock and awe" but that only lasts so long and is amazingly costly.

Less is more, a less technologicly advanced truck with more mobility, less moving parts and complexity would be far more effective for these types of environments, same with tanks.. I can't remember what it was but there was a British tank that took part in many war games, scoring some of the lowest many marks and in terms of tech would be an M60A1 (or A3) to an M1A2, yet in the gulf war hardly anything from weather or environment could take it down and it didn't require tons of maintaining.

I think we rely upon out technology far too much, we turn to it when things get rough and we're always trying to improve it. Even now with all the debt we have it amazes me that we STILL want to push our military technology further with multi billion dollar deals. One thing is for sure, we were born by war, revived by war and will be crippled if not ruined by war.

Edited by NodUnit

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Merkavas would be more useful in A-stan then M1 IMHO

Jst think what could happen to Talliban IF IDF took the job??

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Merkavas would be more useful in A-stan then M1 IMHO

Jst think what could happen to Talliban IF IDF took the job??

Just think what could happen if people actually used their brains..

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I can't remember what it was but there was a British tank that took part in many war games, scoring some of the lowest many marks and in terms of tech would be an M60A1 (or A3) to an M1A2, yet in the gulf war hardly anything from weather or environment could take it down and it didn't require tons of maintaining.

Chieftain and Challenger 1 suffered greatly in the later CAT trophies, but both served with distinction in the middle east.

They did, however, require a HUGE logistics chain. Including "deployment" of many specialists from the actual companies that produced the various parts/systems, as well as the complete cannibalisation of vehicles and parts stocks back in the UK and Germany (in the case of the Challenger 1 and Chieftain engineering vehicles) Chieftain gun tank was operated successfully by Iran during the Iran/Iraq war, and accounted for its self very well, but I have no idea what their supply chain was like in 70's Iran.

For example, the air filters on Challenger 1 during Desert Storm were expected to last for several months in European conditions were lasting days or even hours in some conditions in the Middle East. This put a huge strain on the logistics chain, and by no means could be classified as "not requiring tons of maintenance" ;)

And dont even get me started on Chieftains L60 engine :j:

More modern tanks, while certainly much more complex, also require relatively less maintenance. Countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, especially in the desert areas put huge strain on all sorts of components, from simple seals to air filters right down to tracks (the desert does tracks NO favours what so ever), even the vision blocks and optics can suffer from the abrasive effects of the dust...

Edited by DM

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All i can say is... I wish we would have had them when i was there.

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Chieftain and Challenger 1 suffered greatly in the later CAT trophies, but both served with distinction in the middle east.

They did, however, require a HUGE logistics chain. Including "deployment" of many specialists from the actual companies that produced the various parts/systems, as well as the complete cannibalisation of vehicles and parts stocks back in the UK and Germany (in the case of the Challenger 1 and Chieftain engineering vehicles) Chieftain gun tank was operated successfully by Iran during the Iran/Iraq war, and accounted for its self very well, but I have no idea what their supply chain was like in 70's Iran.

For example, the air filters on Challenger 1 during Desert Storm were expected to last for several months in European conditions were lasting days or even hours in some conditions in the Middle East. This put a huge strain on the logistics chain, and by no means could be classified as "not requiring tons of maintenance" ;)

And dont even get me started on Chieftains L60 engine :j:

More modern tanks, while certainly much more complex, also require relatively less maintenance. Countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, especially in the desert areas put huge strain on all sorts of components, from simple seals to air filters right down to tracks (the desert does tracks NO favours what so ever), even the vision blocks and optics can suffer from the abrasive effects of the dust...

Ah, well that's me told..do the homework before you open your mouth..I shall now take my foot out of my mouth and exit stage left.

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For example, the air filters on Challenger 1 during Desert Storm were expected to last for several months in European conditions were lasting days or even hours in some conditions in the Middle East. This put a huge strain on the logistics chain, and by no means could be classified as "not requiring tons of maintenance" ;)

I read the same for the Challenger 2, it apparently effected it's reputation and effected overseas sales. Didn't one of those British tanks require extra dust skirts over the tracks due to the bad positioning of the air intake?

On the topic of air filters I read that during the first Gulf war, Abrams and Bradley crews were writing home asking for panty hose to cover the air intakes to act as preliminary filters. The air filters were later redesigned.

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i wonder why they simply dont deploy stryker MGS (aside from being army units, not marine) in the place of tanks. it is what the damn thing was designed for :p

i mean i see MGS and stryker TOW carriers just sitting around parked here in iraq all the time.

course they could actually be using them in a'stan and I dont know about it... meh

Because they needed something heavy. If you notice, Strykers are very prone to IEDs

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I'm probably going to draw alot of flak for this but I think it's due to our reliance on technology and young age as a nation compared to everyone else. Our signature state is "Shock and awe" but that only lasts so long and is amazingly costly.

Less is more, a less technologicly advanced truck with more mobility, less moving parts and complexity would be far more effective for these types of environments, same with tanks.. I can't remember what it was but there was a British tank that took part in many war games, scoring some of the lowest many marks and in terms of tech would be an M60A1 (or A3) to an M1A2, yet in the gulf war hardly anything from weather or environment could take it down and it didn't require tons of maintaining.

I think we rely upon out technology far too much, we turn to it when things get rough and we're always trying to improve it. Even now with all the debt we have it amazes me that we STILL want to push our military technology further with multi billion dollar deals. One thing is for sure, we were born by war, revived by war and will be crippled if not ruined by war.

This is why the Marines use donkeys, but I don't think putting a precision cannon on one is a good idea. :D

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That said Javelin's don't have the logistic chain of a battle tank.

Neither does a recoiless rifle.

It's £50 a shot though instead of £100,000 (to blow up a mud hut).

Fits on the back of a donkey too.

Edited by Baff1

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Neither does a recoiless rifle.

It's £50 a shot though instead of £100,000 (to blow up a mud hut).

Fits on the back of a donkey too.

Recoilless rifles that are donkey portable can't destroy an mbt. You get what your pay for. I get your point though that if there was tanks to worry about in Iraq, there certainly aren't anymore in Afghanistan.

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