Small Unmanned vehicles are of course, an asset to force
More importantly, they are a speed bump and breakout (cav) capability, respectively. If you use them for more, in a conventional main force battle,
you are thinking wrong.
If I want to kill a heavy vehicle equipped with a stabilized, well aimed, 3-5km capable, 120mm main tube, I'm going to do so with a 240mm mortar with
a reach of 8-10km, firing Stryx or Merlin type smart topattackers or LOCAAS (LAM) lookalikes.
And while I'm doing it, I'm gonna stick my thumbs in my ears and make "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-NAH!' flapping fingers noises. Because I'm not there
to do die for the betterment of barbarians.
The minitanks roll is then to force the massing of the enemy at a given point of contact AWAY from the vulnerable M113A4 (or other 'light tank'
weapons carrier) center group and DELAY them for a reasonable period of target sort and flightout engagement/cleanup shots.
Without forcing me to just up and run constantly (since inevitably you are running TO your enemy as much as from them when you are on their turf.)
But can a weasel sized tank with 20-40mm autocannon, hold ground
Why should it? _Never Bleed For Dirt_.
Bleed for lives.
Bleed for time.
Bleed for victory.
But never put yourself in a situation where you lack the opportunity to fire-evaluate-reengage entotale decisively engage an enemy such that they can
put you in overrun conditions. Because it looks bad. And it's a waste of equipment and men whether you have the overwhelming logistics to replace
and rearm them or not.
Khe Sahn, while ruinous to the Viets and a useful means of keeping them out of Saigon, was an AMERICAN DEFEAT.
Because we chose to 'hold ground' and the massive attrition and publicized pounding of our forces under a so-desparate-we-risk-C-130s scenario made
it seem like we were being given a thrashing. Even before we abandoned the facility within a month of the battle's conclusion 'anyway'.
Never once in either DS or OIF has American armor been in a position where it had to 'hold ground' against a superior force so much as go out and
meet it (pin it) for either direct or secondary eradication. That worked when we had the numbers and the technical edge. It will not in future
because the technology will be copied if not sold and our ability to finance multibillion dollar forays will vanish as our economy weakens.
Yet look at the 'alternatives'.
In Khafji they won the town. So Damn What. Despite massive failures all up and down the (remote sensing, ground mounted sensors, and A-10 pilots ALL
spotted the convoy formup) all it took was Harriers and Cobras along with Saudi National Guard /armored cars/ to winkle them out for precision
Because they were predictably FIXED trying to 'hold ground'.
In the USMC advance up to Baghdad, the Medina sent the better part of a brigade spearhead south. The LAV's couldn't handle them so they did what
they were SUPPOSED to do which is keep the main force screened from nuissance threats and then 'faded from the center' while a B-52 dropped a WICMID
full of Skeet on the Iraqis.
Who held the ground there? Ans: _Who Cares_?
Ground exists to put space between you and your enemy because air is the the best armor short of horizon line dirt and you need TIME to get individual
advantaged weapons system kills with point attack weapons systems which are all we are being left to fight with. Ground does not exist (in main force
battles at least) to be 'held' like a lover. Coffins are filled that way.
Against even determined infantry with IFV support?
IFV's are armor+silouhette compromised by the need to haul cannonfodder gut sacks inside. The very presence of which prevents them from being used
as exploitational vehicles able to 'get in among them'. Rather they are self escorting battle-taxis, little more (really) useful than M113s in
getting the debussers to the EDGE of the combat area. Where they may die in piecemeal fashion and not spike your attrition graphs.
Take out the men altogether and you can sortie even a forlorn hope type force to tackle a threat armor formation from a direction and 'intent' of
never trying to get back to friendly lines. And thus wreak holy hell in slowing them down, disrupting their maneuver spacing and fire discipline and
making them generally take count of their ammo and status after the engagement as they catch their breath with a massive "Where the heck did that
come from and why didn't they retreat when they were so clearly outnumbered?!" morale check.
STRESSING THEM. Because you don't intend to get the toy tank back across your lines. Only to keep them from hitting you as an organized force.
Modern portable AT weapons (LAWs, ATGMS) can make minced meat (so to say) out of those...
Modern (man) portable AT's work on chemical energy principles which are defeatable with reactives, obscurrants and shootdown systems that /all
together/ only weigh a _fraction_ of what the Burlington on an Abrahms or C2 does. You also are (again) becoming vulnerable to the assumption that I
am going to sit there and let the enemy debuss, form up and hit me.
I _will not_ play Alamo sir. I will put 90+% of my force outside the walls and leave just enough visible attractants to let the enemy pin himself to
the location at which I DECIDE to let my maneuver teams score decisive kills against his logistics, command and support elements. WHAT IF Santa Anna
had been sitting in that damn hut when a 'hero' buried in the dirt underneath blew it up with a pistol pointed at a barrel full of black powder?
WHAT IF we had attacked their artillery with a suicide raider force and left OUR GUYS with the only working cannon on the battlefield?
The answer is that we would be Japanese and Texas would be an independent Republic.
But since the whole effect of 'assymetrics' is to glorify suicide attack, it's about time we made _allinear_ warfare work on the opposed principle
of silicon chips not being alive to begin with.
i.e. I won't give you a front line to hit because my robodobermans can 'live in the field' for weeks without logistics support and because they
don't need to survive the war to win it.
Gambitable forces are those which leverage the battlefield out of all proportion to their 'real' value because they can be sacrificed at need to
shape the enemy up for proper slaughter.
Which is why pawns are the most important pieces on the chess board.
Plus 40mm may not be enough to give you a proper support (unless you have the airsupport and/or artillery available at all times.
30mm Rardens on Scorpions sure made a lie out of that argument when employed against Argie trenchlines on the Mounts. Right through the upperworks
and down into the trench proper they went.
In any case, WHO am I supporting? If it's infantry walking down a back alley in Baghdad or The Mog, then they will be grateful just to have _any_
armored intimidatory presence available when the gophers pop up with infantry weapons.
If it's a 'proper assault' with a mechanized enemy trying to take X, why the /hell/ am I a sitting there waiting for them to come? Hitler made the
mistake of making every fight an absolute engagement while constraining his fastest maneuver forces to the rate of infantry advance of early
It cost him Russia.
My only concern is getting X to commit in sufficient numbers that I can bleed them for...nothing. Before fading away. Because I have no intention of
dying for their damn dirt. Not when I can inherit it after they're dead and I've had their women, killed their kids and kicked their dogs.
DO NOT underestimate the negative psychology inherent to silicon-defeats-coup effect of men fighting and dying to capture ground held by a machine.
It is a true morale killer that takes 'bloody mindedness' right out of the equation because the Bolo has no mind and no blood. And no use for dirt.
Only the man does.
And can modern 40mm rounds penetrate MBT armours at high enough probability to be relied on as a main weapon system?
With the right round 25mm weapons on the LAV and Bradley can and did kill Iraqi T-55/M-54 'Dolly' mod tanks. From the side. For me, the question
becomes whether I want to have a dedicated tank killer or a modular weapons platform that can mount ATGW (CKEM vice Javelin) or MANPADS (SStreak
'multirole') as well.
If I go for the heavy gun effect, can I make the (light and fast) small tank use a Stug like mantlet system for a fixed turret with say 20X20` of fine
aiming and largely (S-103) use vehicle maneuver on a flexible chassis for gross aimpoint selection?
Look at that side elevation and now imagine it's only 4-5ft tall. Further envision that the entire chassis can /lean/ like a high performance
motorcylce or even use a global bias wheel to spin on a hairpin. We MUST stop thinking inside the box. And begin to reenvision warfare as something
optimized without the 'articulation' of manned enclosure required.
Particularly if I go as high as 40mm in the caliber game weight trades will demand it.
And ONLY kinetic massXvelocity is really a 'sure thing' vs. heavy/composite armor, let alone advanced APS and cued reactives. Chemical charges just
don't work in a manpack format against conventional armor. That said, I want to make my enemies pay through the nose to have that heavy armor. ALL
AROUND. Rather than just front slope. Ronnie the Robot gets me there because I can maneuver him and his herd of fellow lethal-lemmings at roughly 1
vs. 6 million dollar tradeable force structure economics (not to mention training and housing and and and).
Furthermore, only a gun is cheap enough to be economically workable in COIN fights where you may need explosive/beehive rounds one minute and APDS the
Lastly, if they choose to copy me with their own robots, fine. I will play that (software and weapons engineering) game.
I _will not_ enter a futhest-fustest-with-mostest marathon when I'm starting out 6,000 miles behind the lead runners. You win wars by shortstopping
battles. And that 'halt phase' interdiction of attack is something you cannot do six months after the fact as the last 60 ton behemoths finally get
to theater. It is a window-perishable opportunity before the bad guys dig in and remove maneuver options from the game altogether, leaving you to dig
them out through THEIR minefields etc..
PS. could you clarify your remark on Last tanks in Finland (German?) never heard of Tigers being in Finland?
Give me a bit. It may have been Courland. I read it on a web page.