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Old 09-22-2006   #21
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Originally Posted by Stu-6 View Post
I agree with your what is the point comment, Strykers are ok for some things but they seem to have a lot of limitations especially when you consider all of the money we put into the program. We could have gotten a lot of the same capabilities at not even half the cost if we had just modernized some of our old M113.
Stu,

The Stryker has a huge logistical advantage over the M113, which is one of the bigger reasons for the LAV platform getting picked. While it may seem like only a marginal change to add the logistics for M113 equipped BCT, that change adds up quite a bit such that the footprint detracts greatly from the deployability as well as makes sustainability of the unit via air suspect at best given the air fleet constraints.

Another huge advantage that has played out in Iraq is the relative stealth of the Stryker vs. a M113 platform as well as the degraded mobility capabilities of the Stryker. If you lose track on a M113 from an IED, you lose mobility. If some tires get blown by an IED, you still can limp out of the kill zone immediately and then take the appropriate remdial action (if it's even necessary) from a safe zone.

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Old 09-22-2006   #22
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Never said it was built aroudn the RSTA. I said ISR systems. Surely LRAS isn't the only ISR asset in the SBCT, as the sensor platforms in the SBCT were the highly touted and much celebrated additions that, at the risk of talking about systems we shouldn't talk about, we won't. I acknowledge your point about SBCTs formed around squad sized elements. A secondary focus, if you will, is the ISR platforms, particularly EW, SBCTs have that other BDE organizations either don't have or didn't have when the SBCTs first were established.
The RSTA is definitely built around ISR capabilities, with the appropriate MOS assigned to carry out the mission. Infantry companies are not built around organic ISR capabilities - it's the dissemination of the ISR "hits" via FBCB2 that increase the capability of these units.

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Originally Posted by RTK
Whether we wanted to call Fedayeen asymmetric threats or insurgents; when little dudes pop out of the woodwork wearing civilian clothes (not many adhered to the black pajama uniform) it doesn't matter what you call them. They're still a problem that needs to be addressed whose effect on the battlefield will not be negated by a piece of equipment.
Agreed that they were a threat and that we didn't focus on them properly. However, they were not an insurgent threat, but rather an irregular threat. An insurgent is a subcategory of an irregular threat. I'm not trying to slice and dice your argument, but do want to make sure that you understand that there is a difference. Also, I wasn't offering the Stryker as a panacea to COIN, but rather highlighting that a SBCT (if it had been ready and available for the march to Baghdad) would have been a great asset against the irregular threat that the Fedayeen presented.
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Old 09-23-2006   #23
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Stu,

The Stryker has a huge logistical advantage over the M113, which is one of the bigger reasons for the LAV platform getting picked. While it may seem like only a marginal change to add the logistics for M113 equipped BCT, that change adds up quite a bit such that the footprint detracts greatly from the deployability as well as makes sustainability of the unit via air suspect at best given the air fleet constraints.

Another huge advantage that has played out in Iraq is the relative stealth of the Stryker vs. a M113 platform as well as the degraded mobility capabilities of the Stryker. If you lose track on a M113 from an IED, you lose mobility. If some tires get blown by an IED, you still can limp out of the kill zone immediately and then take the appropriate remdial action (if it's even necessary) from a safe zone.
I don't think the M113 is some kind of super vehicle, or that it should have been the choice for the IBCT's, but I can't understand why Airborne units don't have some. It's got to be a better weapons platform for the Delta Companies than an uparmored hummer. What else out there can be airdropped that we've got right now?
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Old 09-26-2006   #24
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Stu,

The Stryker has a huge logistical advantage over the M113, which is one of the bigger reasons for the LAV platform getting picked.

I am not sure I understand how it has a huge logistical advantage, could you explane more?

My bigest problem with the Stryket is not its preformance just the price that it comes at. I do think it is better than a 113 just not enough better for the price tag.
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Old 09-27-2006   #25
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I am not sure I understand how it has a huge logistical advantage, could you explane more?

My bigest problem with the Stryket is not its preformance just the price that it comes at. I do think it is better than a 113 just not enough better for the price tag.
Stu,

1. M113s would guzzle twice as much gas, and so you'd have to nearly double the number of fuelers. While only a small increase in the number of overall vehicles, on the margin it has a huge impact, as it is already a difficult task to resupply the SBCT under a scenario where there is only an aerial LOC.

2. The Stryker's engine is the same as the engine in the FMTV. Because of this, you have a smaller PLL and ASL (repair parts that are on-hand and hauled around by the unit) requirement than if you had a FMTV/M113 combo. Also, there is more commonality of parts across the Stryker variants than there would have been across the M113/M8 combo. You have the same effect here as with the engine story. In the end, the M113 equipped unit would require more vehicles to carry these additional parts

3. The Stryker has fewer maintenance requirements above and beyond the analysis in #2. So, if you had a M113 equipped IBCT, you'd have to add even more vehicles.

While the above three points aren't exhaustive, because the SBCT is designed to be very lean on logistics without much of a cushion, once you start adding on the margin, it has a huge impact on everything. Not only do you add vehicles, but you add the requirement for more gas to run these vehicles, soldiers to crew the vehicles, food to feed these vehicle crews, ammunition to arm these vehicle crews, etc.

Hopefully, the above gives you an idea on why the Stryker has the logistical advantage. As far as price goes, an extremely valid argument. Having spent my time in Iraq in a Stryker, I am certainly biased in favor of having spent the extra $$. The one thought that I would leave is that the cost advantage of M113 is not as great as some would claim, as you would have to do large upgrades to existing mothballed M113s to get them to the equivalent standard as a Stryker in terms of protection, lethality, commo platforms, etc. That being said, though, the M113 still would have been a cheaper option.
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Old 09-27-2006   #26
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Tonights lead story on the local news in Slapout is that the Daleville,Al. (near Ft. Rucker)just had 1970's model M113 donated to the police department. Whoooo Doggies!! I have some buddies on the Daleville police department. It is police blue with lightning bolts on the side and the word "NEGOTIATOR" painted on the front. They made them take off the 50 cal., oh well. Anybody have an extra Stryker laying around?
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Old 09-27-2006   #27
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Tonights lead story on the local news in Slapout is that the Daleville,Al. (near Ft. Rucker)just had 1970's model M113 donated to the police department. Whoooo Doggies!! I have some buddies on the Daleville police department. It is police blue with lightning bolts on the side and the word "NEGOTIATOR" painted on the front. They made them take off the 50 cal., oh well. Anybody have an extra Stryker laying around?
I've seen a handful of websites where the local police department has some old M113s as part of their SWAT unit. It's interesting to see them all painted up as a police vehicle!
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Old 09-27-2006   #28
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The other advantage of Stryker of M-113 is armor. The Stryker is built to withstand heavy machine gun fire. It's supposed to have a ceramic overlay for RPG/shaped charge warheads - which ran into development problems - slat armor is the expedient replacement. M-113's have repeatedly proven to be too vulnerable without significant uparmoring. The IDF has completely redone theirs, but I doubt they fully trust even that level of protection any more given what happened in the recent fighting in Lebannon.

Really, I think the whole Stryker vs. M-113 debate is kind of besides the point. The current mucky mucks in charge of procuring/developing new systems are perfectly capable of turning in an M-113 based platform which has all the problems of a Stryker and spending just as much money while they're at it. I think better oversight by Congress, the Department of Defense and the Army could have brought either project in for a lot less money than was/is being spent.
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Old 09-27-2006   #29
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When I started reading the Stryker debate I remembered a photograph from the Russian operations in Afghanistan. Three guys in a delapidated pick up had just taken out three Russian personel carriers with RPG's. The cost of troop carriers versus the beat up pick up must have been enormous.
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Old 09-28-2006   #30
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The other advantage of Stryker of M-113 is armor. The Stryker is built to withstand heavy machine gun fire. It's supposed to have a ceramic overlay for RPG/shaped charge warheads - which ran into development problems - slat armor is the expedient replacement. M-113's have repeatedly proven to be too vulnerable without significant uparmoring. The IDF has completely redone theirs, but I doubt they fully trust even that level of protection any more given what happened in the recent fighting in Lebannon.

Really, I think the whole Stryker vs. M-113 debate is kind of besides the point. The current mucky mucks in charge of procuring/developing new systems are perfectly capable of turning in an M-113 based platform which has all the problems of a Stryker and spending just as much money while they're at it. I think better oversight by Congress, the Department of Defense and the Army could have brought either project in for a lot less money than was/is being spent.
The organic ceramic armor for the Stryker does not protect against RPGs. Even the M1A2 Abrams with all of its armor still doesn't offer complete passive protection against the standard RPG. The slat armor was redeveloped to serve as an interim solution since the ERA tile package hadn't been developed, tested, and fielded yet.

As far as costs, outside of the MGS, the Stryker program hasn't had significant cost overruns. The cost has gone up due to having feedback from combat experience that has driven condensed lifecycle upgrades; however, additional oversight by DoD or Congress would not have brought the program cost down much - IIRC, about 25-40% of the program's costs has been spent on infrastructure upgrades to allow installations designed to handle light/mech brigades to handle the increased size of a SBCT. This means better sim centers, ranges, combat vehicle trails to departure airfields, etc. These costs would have existed no matter what platform was chosen. In the end, the M113 option could have been cheaper up front, but you would have had the costs of more logistics and a more difficult footprint to support when deployed.
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Old 09-28-2006   #31
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When I started reading the Stryker debate I remembered a photograph from the Russian operations in Afghanistan. Three guys in a delapidated pick up had just taken out three Russian personel carriers with RPG's. The cost of troop carriers versus the beat up pick up must have been enormous.
Selil,

That's what happens anytime you don't employ equipment properly and use poorly trained conscripts. The unwritten Soviet creed of death before dismount gave the initiative to the mujihadeen, allowing for their successful ambushes.

As far as the performance of the Stryker against the RPG in Iraq, the RPG has been ineffective. I'm aware of only one catastrophic kill, which was a fluke (the RPG hit some POL loaded on the exterior of the vehicle, started an exterior load fire, and the soldiers weren't able to put the fire out resulting in 0 injuries but one burned Stryker), and the slat has been nearly 100% effective in preventing penetration into the vehicle. For nearly three years of service across all of Iraq, that's a pretty substantial track record.
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Old 01-29-2008   #32
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Default "It's a piece of ... " Soldiers pan Stryker MGS performance in Iraq

EDIT: Title should say "Performance"- didn't catch spelling and I can't edit it ....

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/...160981,00.html

Interesting Military.com article on the (lack of) success with the Stryker Mobile Gun System variant in Iraq. Interesting to assess how much is reporter spin of a few soldiers and how much is fact. Anyone been in an MGS?

Quote:
"I wish [the enemy] would just blow mine up so I could be done with it," said Spec. Kyle Handrahan, 22, of Anaheim, Calif., a tanker assigned to Alpha Company, 4/9’s MGS platoon.

"It’s a piece," another MGS platoon member chimed in. "Nothing works on it."

The gripes stem from a litany of problems, including a computer system that constantly locks up, extremely high heat in the crew compartment and a shortage of spare parts. In one case, a key part was held up in customs on its way to Iraq, a problem one Soldier recognizes is a result of a new system being pushed into service before it’s ready.

"The concept is good, but they still have a lot of issues to work out on it," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Teimeier, Alpha, 4/9’s MGS platoon sergeant and a tanker by trade.

According to a Jan. 28 report by Bloomberg News, the 2008 Pentagon Authorization bill included language limiting funds for the MGS pending an Army report on fixes to the vehicle’s growing list of problems. The Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation said in his annual report the vehicle was "not operationally effective," Bloomberg reported.
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Old 01-29-2008   #33
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I was there when 1-24 did the FDE (Force Development Exercise) up in YTC (back in early 2004). The platoons that executed it did so in some adverse conditions - there was about 2 feet of snow on the MPRC (Multi-Purpose Range Complex). It was a LFX (Live Fire Excercise) done multiple times, and I thought it went pretty well. Part of my perspective may be biased as to having had to live with the ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile which fired a TOW (Tube Launched, Optically tracked, Wire Guided) variant as the ILOV vs. having a 105mm main gun with a M240 (7.62mm) coaxial MG (the ATGM did not have a COAX - but had a M2 on a ring mount above the TC hatch. The MGS allowed for the tactics I wanted to employ.

Now the things I did not like about the MGS - I'm 76" tall - it, more so then any other variant was not built for me! I also did not like the auto loader - but I don't like auto loaders period - but the construct for the variant they chose had one - vs. having a loader. I also did not like the alternative if the auto loader ever went down - supposedly it had an extremely low MBTF (Mean Time Between Failure) - but its still an auto loader - oh well - you give up something to get something, and that was not my decision.

So - I can see where 19Ks would have real issue with the MGS when compared with a M1. That taken into account with the PSGs observations of the stuff that you'd think we'd have worked through already, and the introduction of an end item with limited CL IX would be grounds for some legitimate complaints. I'd also point out that the MGS was not designed to do the range of tasks that a M1 is - the MGS is an Infantry Support vehicle - not sure why we manned it with 19Ks - combined arms politics I suppose. I'll say I liked having 19Ks in the company, even if they were not totally happy with being Infantryman - but eventually they became some of the most valued soldiers in the company - and I used them in a variety of ways. The AT (Anti-Tank) capability in the Rifle Company comes from the 1 x Javelin per rifle squad (9 per company), and the AT capability in the SBCT comes from the AT company that is equipped with the ATGM variant (plus the total number of javelins through out the SBCT - I think the EN CO has some by MTO&E and maybe the RSTA sqdn too - not sure.

Its interesting thing about expectations - they at least partly determine how soldiers will take to something. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle - hopefully - within reason - the things that can be corrected will be, but I think the first time a rifle squad on the ground gets fixed and is able to call forward an MGS to put a 105mm into a hardened enemy position, and then put very accurate and sustained suppressive fire on enemy supporting positions, it will have lived up to its intent - you could not do that with the ATGM in the same manner.

As with all equipment and organizations - they are not going to be a total fit in all conditions - and that may be some of the frustration as well.

Best, Rob

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 01-29-2008 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 01-30-2008   #34
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The biggest problem with MGS is the concept or the idea mated with some very marginal physics. It's not founded in any operational reality that I am aware of, and I guess came from sometime of "flow down" reasoning based on the idea that a SBCT had to have some type of "Big Gun", as an article of faith, rather than any OA that may have suggested otherwise.

The Aussies put a 76mm gun a an M-113 using the turret we had on the Saladin 6x6, and then there was the 90mm Cockerill eqipped CVR-T. Those worked, because they were comparatively simple and easy to do. MGS strikes me as the opposite.
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Old 01-30-2008   #35
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Hi Will,

I think either of the two calibers you mentioned would have been adequate to provide me what I was after. When we had the ILOV ATGM I made a pitch to field us the CARL G as part of the package - based on what I'd seen it do it looked plenty adequate. I don't think it ever made it up too high

I've seen the MGS fire its 105 over the side (gun perpendicular to the hull) - there was no issue I could see. I'd heard there were issues prior to that, but when I saw it live fire - no issues. Maybe they'd fixed it by then - I don't know.

Ideally - what I'd like is a system that could be both mounted, fired and reloaded from inside, but.. could be dismounted when conditions made that more advantageous. I'd at least like a capability that I could dismount - there is just something about showing up somewhere with something the enemy did not anticipate and helped me achieve tactical surprise. While the AT-4 84mm is not a terrible thing, it does not have the variety of ammunition available to the Carl G, and as such is more limited. Having commonality in the CL V to be used in the vehicle mounted system and the one you could use on dismounted operations would be better. This is all pretty much OBE though - we got what we got, better to focus on the best ways to employ it.

best, Rob
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Old 01-30-2008   #36
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Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
Hi Will,

I think either of the two calibers you mentioned would have been adequate to provide me what I was after. When we had the ILOV ATGM I made a pitch to field us the CARL G as part of the package - based on what I'd seen it do it looked plenty adequate. I don't think it ever made it up too high
It is extremely technically simple to fire Carl-Gustav 84mm from a remote weapons station, and to have an auto-slew that allows it to be re-loaded in the same way M2 reloads TOW.

What is more, thanks to the auto-stabilised fire control and range finder, the round can go 1,500m and even hit slow moving targets at 1,000m.

Javelin can be very easily fired from a remote weapons station, and would be cheap and easy to retro-fit on Stryker or similar vehicle.

This is why I believe MGS is a confusion of form over function.
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Old 01-30-2008   #37
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Rob,
Re:
Quote:
MGS fire its 105 over the side (gun perpendicular to the hull) - there was no issue I could see. I'd heard there were issues prior to that
-
According to an eye witness, during the Saudi trials for LAV 105 system in the mid-90s, firing in this attitute caused the frame of the vehicle to warp.
As you say, they may have fixed the problem by now.

Doctrinally, the whole concept of 'tank destroyers', lighter armored vehicles with big guns, has always been problematic. The MGS was originally fielded in platoons of 3 vehicles, and an experienced armor NCO commented that all that arrangement was good for was TOC security, as the vehicles could not work in wing (two vehicle) teams. Given the intense 'infantry-centric" attitudes of the brains at work there at the IBCT (especially GEN Eaton), they may have envisioned tasking out single vehicles to support infantry companies or platoons, a concept that tankers choke on for good reason.

Actually, our language talking about this says a lot about the problem. The MGS is not a tank. But we don't have a clear designation for the folks who operate it. They'll either be disgruntled tankers who want a real tank or disgruntled infantry who want a real IFV (or to walk).
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Old 01-30-2008   #38
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Software bugs are seemingly universal in modern military equipment - the extreme example being the AMRAAM, whose software spent the better part of 15 years in development. Things like software bugs and logistical issues like spare parts don't seem to me to be that big of a deal - as long as they get sorted out ASAP, and aren't putting people's lives in undue risk in the meantime.

I don't understand a great deal about the thinking behind the MGS concept - as Van says, the tank destroyer concept has long been problematic. It's as if the Army is hybridizing a vehicle without a truly separate niche to fill. It's analogous - at least to me - to the battlecruiser concept of the early 20th century - cheaper, lighter, faster than a battleship, but more capable (in theory) than a cruiser. Of course, without a true combat niche, commanders used them like battleships, with disastrous results (Jutland, HMS Hood, etc, etc).

If the idea is to get tank-like gun firepower into an SBCT's TO&E, wouldn't it eventually end up like the battlecruiser? That is, when they really need an M1, an MGS just won't be up to the task? After all, the point of the ATGM was to enable a lighter vehicle (or infantry) to kill a hard target, correct?

One final question. What's the difference between the MGS and the canceled M8 'Buford' air-dropped light armor concept? I think a lighter vehicle could have real benefit in stability ops - firepower without the intimidation and nuisance factor of the 68-ton tank, and the airmobile idea would give airborne capabilities more like the old Soviet airborne had - some of which proved effective on occasion in Afghanistan.

But if the MGS's role is truly substituting for tanks in the SBCT, I think there exists the dangerous possibility of using them like tanks, which they are not.

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Old 01-30-2008   #39
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Van and Matt


Both good posts. Van you are at Leavenwoth and the US Army's historical expert on tank destroyers, Dr. Chris Gabel, is there with you.

Take a look at his LP if you have not already:

[QUOTE]No. 12: Seek, Strike, and Destroy: U.S. Army Tank Destroyer Doctrine in World War II, Dr. Christopher R. Gabel. (PDF)[/QUOTE]

Light armor (Stuart), tank destroyers (M18), or armored reconnaissance vehicles (Sheridan) are neither fish nor fowl. As soon as you hang a gun on an armored vehicle, it is inevitable someone is going to say it is a tank and try to use it as such. For that matter, I had a BC long ago who thought a TOW Jeep was a mobile gun platform.

There is an interesting parallel to this in the aerial community, fixed wing, rotary wing, manned and unmanned when it comes to the question of armed reconnaissance. When you arm a recce bird, the pilot starts acting like a fighter-bomber, regardless of true capabilities.

Tank destroyer doctrine hinged on this phenomenon. Consider these passages from Chris Gabel in LP

Quote:
FM 18-5 opened with a statement that established the specialist nature of the tank destroyer: “There is but one battle objective of tank destroyer units, this being plainly inferred by their designation. It is the destruction of hostile tanks. Throughout all phases of training and during preparation for combat, this objective will be kept in mind by all ranks."

FM 18-5: Tank destroyer units are employed offensively in large numbers, by rapid maneuver, and by surprise . . . . Offensive action allows the entire strength of a tank destroyer unit to be engaged against the enemy. For individual tank destroyers, offensive action consists of vigorous reconnaissance to locate hostile tanks and movement to advantageous positions from which to attack the enemy by fire. Tank destroyers avoid “slugging matches” with tanks, but compensate for their light armor and difficulty of concealment by exploitation of their mobility and superior observation.
Best

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Old 01-30-2008   #40
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I was the Chief of Concepts at Knox when we were developing the Stryker MGS (along with some other variants for the armor community).

The MGS was not in any way supposed to be a tank destroyer. It was envisioned to be an infantry support vehicle capable of delivering high explosives and/or antipersonnel rounds to enable infantry maneuver. It could fire anti-armor rounds, but these were only for the odd BTR or T-55 that might pop up on the mid-to-low intensity battlefields we would fight on. It did not need much armor because our greatly improved situational awareness (ta-daa!) would allow us to keep it out of harm's way. Remember, the MGS - like the SBCT - is not designed for high intensity warfare. Nor was the Stryker - or the SBCT - seen as final solutions. They were placeholders while we awaited the arrival of the FCS.

We recognized that the ignorant and the unwashed might mistake the MGS for a tank, and went to great lengths in preparing requirement statements and draft doctrine to ensure that this message got across.

The interbranch arguments that raged at the time were interesting. We selected the name Mobile Gun System over Armored Gun System or Assault Gun System to avoid making it sound like a tank or (gasp) allowing the infantry to gain control of it. Parenthetically, the WWII equivalent of the MGS is not a tank destroyer but an assault gun like the SGIII. It was decided that 19Ks should man these to allow Knox to maintain control of system development and because infantrymen would not be capable of running the type of gunnery training required or of grasping the subtleties of their tactical employment. For the same reason, we wanted MGS companies within the Stryker battalion, so that an armor officer could oversee their training and the professional development of the platoon leaders. No, I'm not making any of this up.

Finally, this system and its parent organization were definitely supposed to be transportable by air - C-130 to be exact. Our vision was that the Stryker battalions and brigades would be capable of 'operational maneuver' by air. In an Iraqi context, you could fly them from Mosul to Basra and they could basically fight within minutes of rolling off the ramps. Again, a WWII paralell might be the Air Landing units that did so well in Holland and Crete.

This was, oh, five years ago, so much water has passed under the bridge. I don't know if the Stryker air-transport capability is getting much of a workout in the war.
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