|Is this the furure of military combat vehicles?|
Libyan rebels defeat a modern army with pick-up trucks. The age of ultra-expensive
armored cars, trucks and tanks is over. They act as expensive targets for modern technology.
Is the U.S. wasting countless billions in tax dollars on World War II style military technology?
As a military historian there are two recurring themes in history.
- Generals often are planning to fight the last war, not the war that is coming.
- And military technology is always changing.
June 6, 1944
Seeing the mistakes of our current overspending situation begins with D-Day in Normandy, France.
For a very brief window of history armored vehicles operating at lighting speeds ruled the battlefields of World War II. But starting on D-Day any thinking person could see the age of armor was starting to end. The German's famous Panzer Divisions were all but helpless when faced with superior Allied air power. The only reason the Germans took any ground in the Battle of the Bulge was because of bad weather grounding Allied planes. The moment the weather cleared the previously deadly Panzers were turned into scrap metal.
|Your tax dollars at work.|
An ultra expensive $140,000 American Humvee is made into scrap metal
by low priced homemade bombs.
The Two Gulf Wars
Boys love their toys and the generals just love those ultra-expensive tanks and other assorted armored vehicles. Every general is secretly dreaming of being a tank commander like Patton or Rommel. But those days are long dead. As dead as Napoleonic battlefield tactics.
The two Gulf Wars against Iraq were a total re-enactment of D-Day. The expensive military equipment of Iraq was nothing more than target practice for modern air power and missile technology. Like the Germans, the large Iraq army was helpless without the control of the sky. It was a slaughter. Add in the new infantry level missile technology and expensive modern equipment is toast.
The American and British land units had only to mop up. Any real attempt by Iraq to mount a traditional counter attack or hold ground was met by death from the skies. The expensive American armored vehicles that eat a big chunk of tax dollars had little impact.
But the war morphed into the guerrilla war phase. Our expensive equipment now became the target of fairly inexpensive weapons. Millions of dollars of high tech vehicles went up in smoke against an often unseen enemy.
Libya and Afghanistan and Reform
The current war in Libya and the early phase of the Afghanistan War show the direction we should be taking with our military spending.
The days of large combat units and armored warfare are pretty much gone. It does not matter if you are facing a technologically advanced force of Chinese and Russians or 6th century warriors in Afghanistan. Large units and their armor simply provide more targets for an enemy. In fact, ten men standing around a campfire can be obliterated by a drone.
Consider the more expensive the equipment the faster an enemy can bankrupt the nation by blowing them up with inexpensive homemade weapons.
A combination of budgets and changing technology requires serious military reforms.
|Modern air power won the day in Libya. |
No sane person would operate a tank when enemy jets or drones are in the air or
if the infantry is armed with proper anti-tank weapons.
|"High Tech" mobile infantry in Libya . . . . and they won with modern air power|
clearing the battlefield in front of them of any meaningful enemy.