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Stupidest. News. Story. Ever.

I opened my morning paper to read what is, I'm quite sure, the stupidest news story I've ever read. The subhead alone should be a capital offense.

Amphibious vehicle weakness exposed
Personnel carrier not 'anything like a tank'

WASHINGTON -- The 14 Marines killed in Iraq on Wednesday were riding in a 28-ton, lightly armored amphibious behemoth that experts say was "never intended" for inland urban operations where it is "one of the more vulnerable" combat vehicles on the battlefield.

The Marines -- members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, a Reserve unit from Brook Park, Ohio -- were killed outside the town of Haditha about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated near or beneath their Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

Until now, the Marine AAV, normally launched from ships and moved ashore protected by tanks and artillery, was considered safe for operations in Iraq.

Protected with an inch of aluminum armor -- less than that carried by the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle or Abrams tank -- they hold up to 25 combat-loaded Marines and a crew of three.

So let me see if I understand about this new "weakness" that has been "exposed."

An Amphibious vehicle does not have the same armor as a tank. -- I'll type that again in case the shock of this sudden revelation might be too much to comprehend.... An Amphibious vehicle does not have the same armor as a tank.

[It pains me that I have to type this next part...] Could that be because if it has as much armor as a tank it would SINK!?!?!

AAVs in Iraq have additional armor designed to protect them from the blast of a 155 mm artillery shell at a distance of 25 meters or about 80 feet, said Doug Coffey, a senior official at BAE Systems, the London-based international defense and aerospace company that designed and manufactured the vehicle in the early 1970s.

Even so, Coffey said, the AAV "is a lightweight amphibious personnel carrier not intended to be a fighting vehicle or anything like a tank. It's one of the more vulnerable vehicles on the battlefield."

NEWS FLASH- Amphibious vehicles are not anything like a tank. Neither are Helicopters you idiot.

That assessment, from Coffey and others, was echoed by Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, deputy director for regional operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has held senior combat command in Iraq.

"Clearly the AAV does not offer the same protection as a tank," Ham told reporters at the Pentagon.

Well, I was skeptical at first but not that they had 3 different people say it, I guess it must be true. An Amphibious vehicle does not have the same armor as a tank.

Damn those Marines for not putting an extra 30,000 pounds of armor on a vehicle they wanted to float.

When did it become written in stone that the only vehicle allowed in Iraq was a freaking Abrams tank? The AAV can take 155mm shell at near point blank range and they still float! If the media were in charge of military purchasing (Well OK if the media were in change of military purchasing we wouldn't have a military...) If the media were in charge of military purchasing we would only buy one vehicle- the Abrams tank. Then when a few Abrams were destroyed in combat the media would try to buy something even heaver.

Humvees? Not enough armor! Amphibs? Not enough armor! They even knocked the Bradley's for a while.

It's just stupid. How are you going to move 25 people in Iraq? Use 13 Abrams? Then the media would bash the military for being wasteful. By (practicle) definition any vehicle designed to carry that many people cannot have the same armor as a front line tank. So what do we do? Not move 25 people? No, we use the best tool available.

It is an obvious tragedy that we lost 14 guys in one blast. Does that excuse this worthless reporting - um no.

(/rant mode)

And yes we all know where it is going. It's Bush's fault for using an Amphib. I say the only people allowed to complain about the equipment we have in inventory are the Senators and Congressman who argued IN FAVOR of a bigger military budget. What we will have instead is the same people who oppose military spending whining that we don't have enough armored vehicles. Pathetic!

The military constantly tries to make multipurpose vehicles then when they are not all tanks everyone whines. (I thought I closed rant mode?!)


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Comments (16)

I heard on the radio early ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I heard on the radio early this morning that they were in an amphib because Haditha is on the Euphrates River and they are actually patrolling in the river and some marshy areas where tanks can't go.

Unfortunately, the media ha... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately, the media has gotten the idea, and can always find some pinhead to quote, that war is a videogame, you blow up the bad guys from the safety of an armchair while looking at your TV screen. During the actual invasion of Iraq, every firefight involving a squad of soldiers was portrayed as the Battle of Armageddon. If WWII had been "covered" according to the standards the media uses in covering Iraq, Ike would have been court martialled and shot after the troops were pulled off the Normandy beaches because things weren't going as planned...that's assuming that we hadn't just gone ahead and surrendered the afternoon of December 7th.

Instead of buying Abrams ta... (Below threshold)

Instead of buying Abrams tanks, the US could buy the Israeli Merkava tanks, which can field troops through its rear door.

bullwinkle: Are you seeing the forest through the trees? That's not allowed. The MSM are going to flag you for pass interference.

The A-10 however _is_ like ... (Below threshold)
Al:

The A-10 however _is_ like a tank.

Just height challenged.

No no no no no. If we used... (Below threshold)
Vanshalar:

No no no no no. If we used Abrams tanks, the media would complain that they don't float. "But they can't cross the Euphrates River! It's all Bush's fault!"

What I want to know is what else Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham told the reporters that didn't make it into the article, such as the likely next sentence of "AAVs float, tanks don't." How about making that an alternate caption contest? Rather than provide the caption for a picture, provide the next sentence that was "inadvertently" left out of a newspaper article's quote.

This is such common sense t... (Below threshold)

This is such common sense to any person with a modicum of intelligence. Not all armored vehicles are designed the same way. The level of armor has to be balanced against the true purpose of the vehicle. If it were up to the MSM, everything would be armored to the point of being able to survive a direct hit by a everything short of a nuclear weapon....and they'd bitch about that particular "vulnerability."

Of course, increasing armor levels of vehicles at the factory level or "up-armoring" them after the fact has side effects such as increased weight, which diminishes handling characteristics and increases fuel consumption. Increased fuel consumption eventually would call for more tanker convoys, which would then provide more juicy targets for terrorists...

No military vehicle is perfect for every mission. That's why they make different types of vehicles. If you ever tried to make a vehicle that did everything, it would be crap, because it would undoubtably not do certain things well at all.

The MSM, unencumbered by a conscience, simply looks for a way to spin these deaths to fit their "all news is bad news" approach to covering this war. So they blame the vehicle (and, by extension, every decision-maker who could have remotely had a hand in putting it into service in Iraq, right up to the President) for their deaths.

It never occurs to the MSM to blame the terrorists who planted the bomb that killed the Marines. Instead, we get a fluffed-up screed about armor from some reporter. And they wonder why people think they're irrelevant.


No military vehicl... (Below threshold)
No military vehicle is perfect for every mission. That's why they make different types of vehicles. If you ever tried to make a vehicle that did everything, it would be crap, because it would undoubtably not do certain things well at all.
And that's how the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was born. The DoD planners tried to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the design for a troop carrier to succeed the M113, and that delayed its entry into service because it was buggy. The movie Pentagon Wars covers that subject (procurement).
Lawhawk is right. My brothe... (Below threshold)

Lawhawk is right. My brother-in-law is a huge military buff, and a couple of weekends ago he spent about an hour giving me a primer on why the Bradley was ill-conceived from the beginning. If I'm not mistaken, other countries still use M113 variants which are just as effective in the technical sense, yet more easily transportable than the Bradley. At least that's one of the things I took away from that conversation

Any military vehicle, be it... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

Any military vehicle, be it battleship or AFV is a trade-off in size, weight, radius of action, speed, maneuverability, crew comfort, crew survivability, firepower, and ammunition supply. They are all compromises and that's the little thing called reality knocking on the door.

It ain't ever gonna change no matter how loud the pinheads with pens whine.

Hmm... so you mean differen... (Below threshold)
red4der:

Hmm... so you mean different platforms designed to serve different functions have different configurations?
It truly saddens me to think about all of those people who depend on media outlets for insight into the rest of the world. Clearly the reporter who wrote this is functionally retarded. Abrams MBTs are layered with depleted freakin' uranium! They are so heavy they need twin 1500hp turbine diesel engines to make the speeds that they do.
News flash: Amphibs also don't come with parachutes.

Trade-offs!? But ... but th... (Below threshold)

Trade-offs!? But ... but that means nothing can ever be perfect!

And that's not FAAAAIIIIIRRRRRR!!!

</idiot MSM reporter>

My aforementioned brother-i... (Below threshold)

My aforementioned brother-in-law read at Paul's post and emailed me the following:

That AAV article is probably part of a series, to be followed by:

'The M16 Rifle Is No Tank Gun'
'Abrams Cannot Fly'
'Aircraft Carriers Cannot Submerge'
and
'New Attack Subs Unable To Move Inland'

In all actuality the marine... (Below threshold)
chad:

In all actuality the marines were probably using a Amtrak for the simple reason that the don't have Bradley's in their inventory. Their equipment is procured with a different mission in mind. The define Marine Corps role is to seize and hold expeditionary bases for up to 30days waiting for follow on from the Army. They are operating outside their defined sphere in Iraq and ther are equipment shortcomings because of it.

The Marines use Amtracs bec... (Below threshold)

The Marines use Amtracs because that's what amphibious Marines need to use.

While they may come in handy crossing the Euphrates or in swamps or something, you don't just switch vehicles all of a sudden. This unit is an amphibious unit, so it uses Amtracs.

This isn't the first time Amtracs have been blasted badly, and the large number of troops each carries means that casualties can be high when one gets hit. A Bradley doesn't carry as many men, so even a total loss won't kill as many. But then, a big complaint about the Bradley for a very long time was the low number of men it carries.

While it's not reasonable to criticize the Marines for using Amtracs, a fair question might be: Since the Marines are going to be in the Peace & Stability business for the foreseeable future, might it make sense for some Marine units to make a switch to Bradleys or Strykers or M113s?

This story is a simple illu... (Below threshold)

This story is a simple illustration of maybe my biggest pet peeve: ignorance of military affairs by 99% of journalists.

I think all most journalists and editors know about the military is My Lai, the Pentagon Papers, and the words "Tet Offensive".

Hey Alex, regarding "'New A... (Below threshold)

Hey Alex, regarding "'New Attack Subs Unable To Move Inland'"? Andy Rooney already covered that one last fall:

We have nuclear submarines for sneaking up on enemies under water. One nuclear submarine costs $1.6 billion. We have 50.

They don't dive in sand.

I wrote about his deranged summary of military spending at the time at http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/001660.html

Right after the submarine crack he notes that an M1 tank had been destroyed and asks how "effective" that one had been.




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