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The Medium Gun System Platoon: A First Look See Page 7
PB 17-01-5

September-October 2001

Saddle Up... Tonight We Ride
“Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t.” — Hamlet

Well, what do ya’ know, June 14th came and went without the volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, or mass mutinies
promised by some over the donning of black berets. What
are the repercussions of last October’s infamous beret
announcement and this past June’s donning? It takes
those of us who have never worn the beret a bit more
time to put it on, and certainly there has been pain involved in watching and correcting the many interesting
ways some of us have worn it, but life has gone on. My
personal fashion experts (read older daughters) have
given the beret a thumbs-up over the BDU cap, describing the beret with their favorite modifier, “cool.” An additional fallout from the switch is that soldiers driving POVs
now keep their covers on. Previously many of us whipped
the BDU cap off once inside a POV; now, given the
amount of time it takes for new beret wearers to put it on
correctly, it’s easier to simply leave the beret on.
The amount of press, angst, anger, and controversy
over the decision and execution of beret-donning fascinated me. Granted, there were a few less-than-brilliant
public affairs decisions that thickened the plot: the announcement that a rites of passage test would be required to earn the beret, followed by a quick recantation.
And the revelation that China supplied many of the berets, this on the heels of the P-3 downing. (Apparently,
there are now literally thousands of these berets languishing in a warehouse somewhere, looking for a home.)
Swept up in the beret controversy, it seemed to me, many
of us misread the demonstration as the main effort while
the OPFOR’s main body swept around our flanks. In the
midst of a revolution in the Army, one that impacts dramatically on the mounted force, many were more concerned about a change in the Army’s headgear.

By Order of the Secretary of the Army:
ERIC K. SHINSEKI
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff

There is much going in the Army as it advances along
three axes toward transformation. The nuts and bolts of
the objective force, interim force, and legacy force
should dominate professional discussions. As we speak,
Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT) boasting the
Interim Armored Vehicles are standing up. The IBCTs
contain Medium Gun System platoons (see LT Hurley’s
article, p. 7) and a new cavalry organization. The ripples
from the IBCT wave are being felt throughout our
branch, impacting the mounted force in manning, doctrine, etc. The Interim Force also includes planning and
development for an interim cavalry regiment, an organization that will serve today’s corps and later shape cavalry forces in the objective force.
With regard to the objective force, the tip of the transformation spear, dialogue ought to be focused on the
Future Combat System (FCS), which will serve as
common platform for all the battlefield functional areas.
We know the defining characteristics of this system —
simply said, it should do everything and not weigh anything — and this should make for some interesting discussions.
Which brings us to the final piece of the triad, the legacy force. LTC Dave Pride does an outstanding job in
this issue (p. 39) illustrating the relevancy of this force.
Pride points out that the Abrams tank will continue to
evolve via upgrades, and that tankers will cross LDs on
this tank until 2031. There is a tremendous amount of
activity with the legacy force, again a lot of grist for the
mill.
So with the beret controversy in our dust, it’s time to
glance toward the horizon and sort out the future of
mounted warfighting.
— D2

Official:

JOEL B. HUDSON
Administrative Assistant to the
Secretary of the Army
0118602

The Professional Development Bulletin of the Armor Branch PB 17-01-5

Editor-in-Chief
MAJ DAVE DAIGLE

Features
7

Managing Editor
JON T. CLEMENS
Commandant
MG R. STEVEN WHITCOMB

ARMOR (ISSN 0004-2420) is published bimonthly by the U.S. Army Armor Center,
1109A Sixth Avenue, Fort Knox, KY 40121.
Disclaimer: The information contained in ARMOR represents the professional opinions of
the authors and does not necessarily reflect
the official Army or TRADOC position, nor
does it change or supersede any information
presented in other official Army publications.
Official distribution is limited to one copy for
each armored brigade headquarters, armored
cavalry regiment headquarters, armor battalion
headquarters, armored cavalry squadron headquarters, reconnaissance squadron headquarters, armored cavalry troop, armor company,
and motorized brigade headquarters of the
United States Army. In addition, Army libraries,
Army and DOD schools, HQ DA and MACOM
staff agencies with responsibility for armored,
direct fire, ground combat systems, organizations, and the training of personnel for such
organizations may request two copies by
sending a request to the editor-in-chief.
Authorized Content: ARMOR will print only
those materials for which the U.S. Army Armor
Center has proponency. That proponency
includes: all armored, direct-fire ground combat systems that do not serve primarily as
infantry carriers; all weapons used exclusively
in these systems or by CMF 19-series enlisted
soldiers; any miscellaneous items of equipment which armor and armored cavalry organizations use exclusively; training for all SC
12A, 12B, and 12C officers and for all CMF19-series enlisted soldiers; and information
concerning the training, logistics, history, and
leadership of armor and armored cavalry units
at the brigade/regiment level and below, to
include Threat units at those levels.
Material may be reprinted, provided credit is
given to ARMOR and to the author, except
where copyright is indicated.

Medium Gun System Platoons: A First Look at a New Kind of Unit
by Second Lieutenant Brian P. Hurley

11

Plow Platoon Operations
by Captain Patrick A. Callahan

14

Kasserine Pass and the Necessity of Training
by Captain James Dunivan

17

Obtaining Maximum Effectiveness from Your Chemical Assets
by Captain Tom Duncan

21

The Secret Museum at Kubinka
by James M. Warford

23

An Easy Way to Cut the Cost of Live-Fire Gunnery Evaluation
by Dr. Joseph D. Hagman

25

Busting the Barricades:
How Armor Was Employed in the Urban Battle of Seoul
by Captain Matthew H. Fath

30

Modernizing India’s Tank Fleet
by Lieutenant Colonel Mark A. Olinger

36

Tank Myths
by Charles M. Baily

39

The Abrams Tank, Fulcrum of Army Transformation
by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Pride

42

1-12 Cavalry Fields New Abrams M1A2 SEP Tanks
by Specialist Jonathan Del Marcus

43

How to Build a Successful Scout Platoon
by Sergeant First Class Shawn E. Wallace

45

A Search Operation in the Zegra Valley
by Trooper M. T. Llewellyn, British Army

46

The Adventures of a Liaison Officer at the NTC
by Captain Clinton D. Alexander

Back Type 98 Chinese Main Battle Tank Poster
Cover Threat Branch, Directorate of Force Development

Departments
2
3
5

Contacts
Letters
Commander’s Hatch

6
50

Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Knox, KY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Editor, ARMOR,
ATTN: ATZK-ARM, Fort Knox, KY 40121-5210.
Distribution Restriction: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

September-October 2001, Vol. CX, No. 5

Driver’s Seat
Reviews

USPS 467-970

Points of Contact
ARMOR Editorial Offices
Editor-in-Chief
MAJ Dave Daigle
E-Mail: david.daigle@knox.army.mil
Managing Editor
Jon T. Clemens
E-Mail: jon.clemens@knox.army.mil
Editor
Vivian Oertle
E-mail: vivian.oertle@knox.army.mil

Please
Note New
Phone
Numbers
for ARMOR
Staff

Staff Illustrator
Mr. Jody Harmon
E-Mail: jody.harmon@knox.army.mil

U.S. Army Armor Center
4087

Commanding General
MG R. Steven Whitcomb
E-Mail: steven.whitcomb@knox.army.mil

4582

Deputy Commanding General
BG Robert W. Mixon
E-Mail: robert.mixon@knox.army.mil

2610

Chief of Staff
COL J. Michael Lineberger
E-Mail: j.lineburger@knox.army.mil

3923

Command Sergeant Major
CSM Carl E. Christian
E-Mail: christianc@ftknox5-emh3.army.mil

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2

DSN prefix – 464Commercial prefix– (502) 624-

(ATZK-CG)
2121
(ATZK-DCG)
7555
(ATZK-CS)
1101
(ATZK-CSM)
4952

Directorate of Force Development
LTC(P) Russell D.Gold
E-Mail: russ.gold@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-FD)
5050

Mounted Maneuver Battlespace Battle Lab
COL Dennis J. Szydloski
E-Mail: dennis.szydloski@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-MW)
7809

Office, Chief of Armor
Aubrey Henley
E-Mail: aubrey.henley@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-AR)
1272
FAX 5155

Special Assistant to the CG (ARNG)
COL Randal Milling
E-Mail: randal.milling@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-SA)
1315

TRADOC System Manager for Abrams
COL James H. Nunn
E-Mail: james.nunn@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-TS)
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TRADOC System Manager for Force XXI
COL Timothy D. Cherry
E-Mail: timothy.cherry@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-XXI)
4009

Assistant TRADOC System Manager
Soldier - Mounted Warrior
LTC J. B. Iddins
E-Mail: jeffrey.iddins@knox.army.mil

(ATZK-ATS)
3519

Directorate of Training and Doctrine Development (ATZK-TD)
LTC(P) Keith A. Armstrong
8247
E-Mail: keith.armstrong@knox.army.mil

U.S. Army Armor School
Director, Armor School
COL Robert T. Gahagan
E-Mail: gahagan@ftknox5-emh3.army.mil

(ATSB-DAS)
1050

Armor School Sergeant Major
CSM James E. Dale
E-Mail: james.dale@knox.army.mil

(ATSB-CSM)
7091

NCO Academy
TBA

(ATSB-NC)
5150

ARMOR MAGAZINE ONLINE: Visit the ARMOR magazine
website at www.knox.army.mil/armormag.

16th Cavalry Regiment
COL John Antal
E-Mail: antalj@ftknox16cav-emh12.army.mil

(ATSB-SBZ)
7848

ARMOR HOTLINE — DSN 464-TANK: The Armor Hotline is a
24-hour service to provide assistance with questions concerning
doctrine, training, organizations, and equipment of the Armor Force.

1st Armor Training Brigade
COL John L. Ballantyne
E-Mail: john.ballantyne@knox.army.mil

(ATSB-BAZ)
8736

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Russia in Chechnya: A Second Look
Dear Sir:
CPT Geibel’s recent article, “Some Russian
Tankers’ Experiences in the Second Chechen War” (ARMOR, July-August 2001),
ultimately presents a fuzzy picture of the
modern Russian Army, its capabilities, and
its shortcomings. Since CPT Geibel does not
speak or read Russian, he is at the mercy of
what English-language materials are available, and most of those are sorely lacking a
good assessment of what has taken place
within the Russian Army over the last nine
years.
To provide a better understanding for the
readers of ARMOR, and so that they can
place the events described by CPT Geibel in
proper perspective, a short background on
the history of the Russian Army is required,
as well as the framework of how it fits into
the events which have taken place in
Chechnya.
In 1992, Russian military writers such as
Colonel Anatoly Dokuchayev gave an outline
of how the new Russian Army planned to
fight in the future. Most forward thinkers saw
the days of the Soviet “hordes” as over, and
the main problem would then be “Local Wars
and Regional Conflicts.” To engage in these
military engagements, the view was to cut
the Army drastically from its Soviet days of
over 200 divisions down to only around 50 or
so. Most of the divisions were to be reorganized into brigades, with more artillery and
support assets, and would fight under the
direction of a corps or army headquarters
(which had the command and control assets
to run major operations). They were also to
include, if necessary, forces from other
branches of the armed forces (e.g., VDV,
Naval Infantry, Frontal Aviation, etc.) and
troops from the other 12 ministries that had
military or paramilitary formations (MVD
Internal Troops, Border Guards, Railway
Troops, Ministry of Emergency Situations,
etc.)
These formations were to fight as “Gruppirovka” – a Russian word which means
“Force Grouping,” but in the U.S. sense approximates a task force. Each gruppirovka
would form “Gruppa” or battle groups that
were tailored for specific missions, and
would prosecute them as required. The
gruppirovki would be commanded under an
“Ob’yedinyonnaya Gruppirovka” headquarters, or what U.S. planners would call a joint
task force. On paper, this seemed to be a
modern and functional method of conducting
combat, better suited for operations like
Desert Storm than the ponderous WWII
fronts which the Soviets planned to use.
Unfortunately, all this requires training —
from the soldier skills at the bottom to the
command employment at the top. This was
not done, partially because the Russian
Army suddenly found itself without a budget,
and partially because the bureaucrats from
the “Arbat Military District” — the General

Staff — wanted no part of such changes. For
two years, the Russians argued about these
changes in their professional journals and
writings. But in December 1994, when President Yeltsin ordered the crackdown on the
Chechens, it was put to the test and found
seriously wanting.
Part of the problem here was a lack of training at all levels. Troops who were sent to
Chechnya had in many cases only just arrived for their mandatory conscription service. As a result, they had only been through
about half of what U.S. soldiers would consider basic training. Since Russian planners
wanted to conserve their “good stuff” — the
6,000 tanks that they considered to be combat worthy against the West — older models
were pulled out of depot storage and issued
to troops. As a result, few tankers were
trained on any of the systems they would
have to fight in, and even trained ones were
assigned to the wrong tanks. Trained T-72
drivers wound up in T-80BV tanks, and T-80
tankers in T-72As. Crews were thrown together and had to train and become familiar
with each other during the road march to
Groznyy.
All of this was compounded by two major
errors at the top. First off, all units assigned
were kept on peacetime relationships, not
wartime. Under wartime regulations, all
troops in a given area belonged to the designated commander. Under peacetime, they
still were responsible to their own chains of
command. This was true with the VDV units
sent into the country, as well as the MVD
Internal Troops units, which comprised some
40 percent of the original troops deploying
(15,000 out of 38,000).
Secondly, the North Caucasus Military District commander organized the operation as
a classic Soviet front, with too many levels of
command for the forces deployed. The result
was an unmitigated disaster, highlighted by
the nearly complete destruction of the 131st
Independent “Maykop” Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 81st Guards Motorized Rifle
Regiment on New Year’s Eve 1994-95.
Most of CPT Geibel’s anecdotes on failings
apply to this war, not the current one. The
Soviets had a very good system of long-term
conservation and storage, but it relied on
skilled depot-level preparation and storage of
equipment to work properly. This is why in
1991 Lieutenant General Dmitry Volkogonov
noted that the Soviet Union, at the moment
of its breakup, had 77,000 tanks on its
books, albeit in various states of operational
service or repair. In the breakup, most of the
restoration factories — charged with the
depot-level rebuilding and some of the storage work — were lost to Belarus and
Ukraine. As skilled personnel left in the
drawdown, many vehicles had to be stored
by use of troop labor. These personnel were
untrained in proper preparation of vehicles,
and as a result, when the tanks were drawn
out of storage, many of them failed nearly at
once. Colonel General Sergey Mayev, head
of the Tank and Automotive Directorate of

ARMOR — September-October 2001

the Russian Army, (GABTU), stated on several occasions that this was the primary
reason for their failures and problems. Tanks
which should have taken six hours to prepare for combat now took seven to nine
days, and frequently suffered failures of key
systems shortly afterward (cooling being the
number one problem with the T-72s and
BMPs). Improperly stored batteries — another major weakness of Soviet-era tanks,
as there were never enough of them around
for proper rotation and stowage — also died
quickly, forcing the troops to replace them
under very trying conditions.
The T-80BV tanks used by the “Maykop”
Brigade had no explosive plates in their
reactive armor boxes (actually just a
protective shield over the 4S20 explosive
plates), and as a result had no chance
against skilled Chechen antitank teams firing
down on them from buildings. The image of
a T-80BV, with a few boxes still visible on its
glacis, blown completely apart near the train
station in Groznyy sums up the total waste of
the attacks by these forces and units.
Whether they were stolen –— or simply not
installed as nobody thought to do that — is
anyone’s guess. The vehicles were also
using “Winter” fuels, with a shot of naphtha
added for thinner to ease flow and starting,
which caused the diesel fuels to ignite much
more readily when hit by HEAT projectiles.
To comment on CPT Geibel’s quote that
prior to Chechnya-2, ERA plates were removed from T-72BM or T-90S tanks and
sold on the “Black Market,” he does not appear to understand how the ERA they use
differs from the circa 1983 ERA version used
in Chechnya-1. The T-72BM, T-80U, and T90S tanks use what the Russians call “BuiltIn Reactive Dynamic Protection.” This is a
newer design of reactive armor, fully integrated into the design of the tank, which can
defeat both HEAT and sabot projectiles. The
T-72AV, T-72BV, T-64BV, and T-80BV all
use “Attached Reactive Dynamic Protection,”
which is attached to studs welded to the
outer surface of the tank. In most cases,
commanders had the studs and boxes
mounted on the tanks, but the 4S20 plates
were stored separately, not to be issued and
mounted except in case of war. It is very
difficult, if not impossible, for troops to remove the ERA plates from either a T-72BM
or T-90S to sell those items.
Over the course of the war, the Russians
solved most of their command and control
problems and tried to provide additional
training for the soldiers who would fight in
Chechnya. The only solution they found for
using tanks was to avoid using them in city
conditions unless they had sufficient infantry
to provide protection. One tactic they did use
with success was the “Fire Carousel.” The T72, and the T-80 as well, are very good
when their autoloader is working, but very
tedious and awkward to use without it or
when the ammunition carousel goes empty.
It can take up to 45 minutes to reload a T72’s 22-round carousel, and until that point in

3

time, the tank is relatively helpless. This
tactic saw them bring up one tank at a time
— keeping it head-on to the Chechens to
prevent shooting down on the tank — and
firing up all of the 22 rounds in the autoloader. When the tank went “dry,” it would
reverse out of position and a new tank with a
full load would move up to take its place.
Using this tactic, the Russians were able to
clean out nests of Chechens with success,
but were still limited by the 45 minutes each
tank would be out of action when empty.
T-62s began to be issued to troop units at
the end of Chechnya-1. The reason for this
was simple. These tanks had proven themselves in Afghanistan and were far better for
the types of conditions found in Chechnya.
They had been the last tanks to undergo a
full depot rebuilding. (This is due to the fact
that they were around 20 years old. A Soviet
regulation called for this with all serviceable
tanks to extend their life as reserve tanks for
another 20 years. Each tank received a
completely new engine, suspension components, tracks, electronics, and upgrade items
such as laser rangefinders, BDD armor applique packages, and in a very few cases,
the 1K13 sight and 9M117 “Sheksna” missile
system.)
The T-62, with its five-speed manual transmission and lower stressed engine, was
found to be superior in the mountains over
the T-72 with its seven-speed and turbocharged diesel. However, these tanks did
have their limits and were not a total panacea. They did have the advantage of a fourth
crewmember, making self-repairs easier and
also providing another set of eyes to keep
watch on the Chechens. The BDD armor,
consisting of varying types of plates encased
in a resin matrix and a ceramic filler inside
the turret “eyebrows,” was capable of dealing
with all of the HEAT weapons used by the
Chechens except captured RPO “flamethrowers.”
A word on the RPO, which has come to the
fore in Chechnya as a particularly nasty and
brutally effective weapon. The Russians call
it a “flamethrower” but it is more accurately
described as a “volumetric” weapon, a class
of weapons which use expanding gases or
aerosols to cause their effects. The RPO is a
“thermobaric” weapon; thermobarics are
essentially slow-burning explosive slurries
that compound the damage they cause in
three ways. First, they burn very slowly for
an explosive, causing much greater dwell
times of their explosive impulses on a target.
(To give a comparison from nuclear training,
the human body can take an instantaneous
overpressure of about 200 psi and survive;
but as little as 15 psi over a longer time
crushes the vital organs and kills the victim.
This longer “dwell” is the first killer factor in
thermobarics.) Second, the burning plasma
cloud can penetrate even the smallest
cracks and enter inside a vehicle or other
stationary object, such as a house or pillbox.
Finally, when the slurry is totally consumed,
the resulting vacuum causes a massive

4

backblast which crushes nearly everything in
the area. They have also been called “Vacuum Bombs” by the Chechens, who fear
them for the damage they can cause. They
are quite dangerous to armored vehicles, as
they can penetrate the engine bays or via
NBC filtration systems and cause havoc
inside the fighting compartment.

isolate enemy forces and then destroy them.
Tanks were used in this manner to assist in
the cordoning operations, but did not participate in the destruction by fire of the enemy.
The new rule of thumb for Russian commanders is that if you find yourself in small
arms range, then you have failed to carry out
the tactics correctly.

The Second Chechen War (“Chechnya-2”
in some areas) saw a great deal of changes
in Russian planning, thinking, and training.
First off, the decision was made that no unit
would deploy to Chechnya until it had completed six months’ training (one training cycle). What many people forget is that on the
still-in-force Soviet two-year conscription cycle, only 50 percent of a unit is truly trained
and deployable at any one time. Twenty-five
percent are in each cycle; the 1st cycle is too
new and the troops in the 4th cycle (e.g., the
one prior to release) are usually either too
close to release to be effective or, in the
case of Chechnya, already gone. (To ensure
a desire to serve, troops in Chechnya receive two days’ service credit for each day in
Chechnya; ergo, some troops can complete
their two-year stint in 15 months.)

While losses among the Army units have
been far fewer, casualties overall have been
about the same. Chechnya-1 saw the Russians take 57,000 casualties — 5,500 KIA or
died of wounds, 16,000 WIA, and 35,000
sick or injured. LTC (Ret.) Les Grau of the
Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort
Leavenworth has a 900-page study on the
history of the 40th Army in Afghanistan
which he is painstakingly translating into
English; the main problem the Soviets suffered from in Afghanistan was, as in Chechnya-1 and -2, sickness and ill health caused
by poor field sanitation and support. Casualties in Chechnya-2 are less reliable at the
moment, but from all published reports, they
appear to have taken in excess of 4,300 KIA,
13,000 WIA, and an average of 40 personnel
a day diagnosed with various illnesses or
injuries.

Few of the units cited by CPT Geibel deployed in full measure to Dagestan or
Chechnya-2. Due to their lessons learned
from Chechnya-1, only part of a unit’s tanks
was actually taken into the republic in comparison with unit TO&E strengths. The main
difference in Chechnya-2 was the fact that
tank crews had trained together, and were
using the tank they trained on. This provided
a much better chance for survival as well as
better combat performance.
Still, the main problems with Russian training — another Soviet-era holdover — remained. Troop training, even for Chechnya,
was done in a pro forma style which did not
train crews to function in new situations or
when left to their own devices. Maintenance
skills were still poor, and readiness rates
were not as high as they should have been.
Also, sergeants were identified based on
either schooling or estimated levels of ability,
and were not fully trained NCOs in the
American mold. Whereas a U.S. soldier may
take four years to make sergeant E-5, the
Russians were appointing them after only a
period of time as little as 12 weeks. Also,
junior officers were in critically short supply;
no one wanted to serve in Chechnya, and
those who went in many cases were conscripted out of college for a two-year active
duty stint. Their experience and knowledge
were no higher than their troops, which given
the lack of a true NCO corps, placed all of
them at risk.
Innovations were tried to minimize losses.
One of these was the concept of “Reconnaissance Fire Operations,” an outgrowth of
the Cold War-era “Reconnaissance Fire
Complex” and the “Reconnaissance Strike
Complex.” In this tactic, all of the fire support
assets — missiles, rockets, artillery, helicopters, and fixed wing aircraft — are coordinated by a single authority and used to first

CPT Geibel has glossed over the main
problem suffered by Russian tankers in
Chechnya-2, namely remote-controlled mines.
Few pitched battles with armor have taken
place in this war. As a result, the Chechens
have discovered the only way to defeat them
is with remote-controlled explosive devices,
such as a 152mm projectile buried in a road,
as they have rarely been able to close to
RPG range. They have also discovered that
if you shoot a Ground Forces or VDV soldier,
artillery and aircraft will visit the nearest village and flatten it. If you shoot an MVD soldier, he just dies. More casualties are now
being taken by the MVD Internal Troops and
Militia (police) than by the Army.
The Russian Army is also unlikely to see
some of its wishes fulfilled in the near future
(through 2005-2010). CPT Geibel’s statements on missile developments are essentially true, but in the context of their priorities
for the Armed Forces, unlikely to be seen by
Russian soldiers. Few of the tanks being
used in Chechnya have through-the-tube
missile capability due to a number of factors.
First is the cost; only about 1 in 3 Soviet-era
tanks were ever assessed to have it (there
were more B1 versions of the T-64, T-72,
and T-80 than B versions; the Bs have the
missile capability, the B1s do not). Secondly
is the training problem, and few gunners are
proficient on their weapons now without
adding the additional load of missile flight
control. Lastly, they do not have the personnel to fix and maintain these systems, and
thus cannot handle the extra materiel problems caused by new equipment.
As they see local wars and regional conflicts being their main problem, the new
tanks forecasted are also unlikely to come

Continued on Page 48

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Changing While Remaining the Same
by Major General R. Steven Whitcomb, Commanding General, U.S. Army Armor Center

Returning to Fort Knox as the Commander and 39th Chief of Armor is a
true honor and privilege for me. I am
very excited at rejoining a team of
dedicated professionals that serve the
most lethal and decisive force in the
world. One of the things that I have
observed during my career is that units
never stay the same, they either get
better or they get worse. In an effort to
make things better, some people believe that you have to change them. I
disagree. Sometimes the hardest thing
to do is to figure out what needs fixing
and what needs to be left alone. While I
have only been away from the “Home
of Cavalry and Armor” for two years, I
am amazed at what has been changed
and at what has been left the same.
What has changed, or evolved, is the
way training is done here and the
training infrastructure. The creation of
multi-echelon, multi-grade training by
the 16th Cavalry Regiment is ahead of
its time. This training, which links captains, lieutenants, and noncommissioned officers in demanding training
events called Gauntlets, will revolutionize training at the institutional level.
Fort Knox has invested heavily and is
an Army leader in all three training
domains (live, virtual, and constructive). Not surprisingly, the training intensity for everyone who trains at Fort
Knox has increased. Our MOUT Zussman Range Complex site is state of the
art and, when finished, the entire Wilcox training area will be the best lightto-medium training area in the Army.
Further, technology has been incorporated into our classrooms in exciting
and innovative ways. For any one who
hasn’t walked through Skidgel Hall
lately, I will tell you that the classroom
facilities are far ahead of any university
in America.
What has not changed at Fort Knox is
the focus on producing competent, confident, and adaptable Armor leaders.
From initial entry soldier (IET) training
to the pre-command courses, the quality of instruction remains the key. The
1st Armor Training Brigade’s focus on

instilling basic soldier skills has led
them to develop an outstanding basic
marksmanship and physical training
program for our Army. The NCO
Academy was recently accredited by
the Sergeants Major Academy. Our Futures staff continues to provide solid,
cutting-edge doctrine; the best equipment and platforms ; and superior training systems.
As I assume the responsibilities of
Chief of Armor, I want to thank LTG
Bell for the improvements that he has
made and for the things that he has
preserved. He leaves behind a team that
can address issues as complex as the
Unit of Action for the Future Combat

System or the Interim Cavalry Regiment while never forgetting the purpose for their existence. LTG Bell has
left your Branch home postured to lead
the Army into transformation and the
challenges of the future. This unit has
gotten better!
I look forward to running with the baton that he has passed. We remain focused on supporting our field commanders with the best trained soldiers
and leaders, the best training facilities,
the best doctrine, the best training systems, and our finest intellectual effort
for the challenges of tomorrow.
FORGE THE THUNDERBOLT AND
STRIKE FIRST!

Major General R. Steven Whitcomb assumed his present duties as Commanding
General of Fort Knox, Ky., on 3 August 2001. His last assignment was as the Assistant Chief of Staff, C3 (Operations), Republic of Korea/United States (ROK/US)
Combined Forces Command, Assistant Chief of Staff, J3 (Operations), U. S. Forces
Korea and Deputy Commanding General (Operations), Eighth U.S. Army.
General Whitcomb was commissioned a lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation
from the University of Virginia in 1970. Following graduation from the Infantry Officer
Basic Course, he served as a rifle platoon leader, weapons platoon leader, and executive officer in Company C, 2d Battalion, 508th Infantry (Airborne), 82d Airborne
Division. Branch transferring to Armor, he next served in the Federal Republic of
Germany as a Tank Company Commander, Company B, 3d Battalion, 64th Armor
and Company Commander and Battalion S1, 2d Battalion, 64th Armor, 3d ID.
Following completion of the Armor Officer Advanced Course, he served as Assistant Professor of Military Science at California State College, where he obtained a
Masters of Education degree in Counseling. After attending the Counter Intelligence
Officers Course at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., he was the Battalion S3, 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, Republic of Korea. Upon completion of Command and General
Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., he served as the 2d AD Deputy G2 and as
Battalion S3 and XO, 3d Battalion, 67th Armor, 2d AD.
Following assignment as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, III Corps and
Fort Hood, he returned to Fort Leavenworth as a Staff Leader at the Combined Arms
and Services Staff School (CAS3). He was posted to Germany where he commanded the 2d Battalion, 70th Armor, 1st AD, deploying the battalion to Operation
Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He attended the Army War College and was then
assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans as the
Chief, Western Hemisphere Division, Current Operations.
Major General Whitcomb commanded the 2d Brigade, 24th Infantry Division at Fort
Stewart, Georgia. He was again assigned to ODCSOPS as the Chief of the Combat
Maneuver Division, Force Development. Major General Whitcomb then served as
the Executive Officer of the Vice Chief of Staff, Army. He was previously assigned as
the Assistant Division Commander, Maneuver for the 1st Cavalry Division, serving
with the division in Bosnia. He was then assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Armor Center, Fort Knox, Kentucky.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

5

Transforming the Force:
How Will It Impact Me?
CSM Carl E. Christian, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Armor Center

The Army recently designated the
next four Interim Brigade Combat
Teams (IBCT) as part of its continuing
transformation. Three of them will be
part of the Regular Army and one will
be in the Army National Guard. As
each IBCT stands up, the changes will
have a major impact on the armor force
personnel structure, so I want to share
with you how this announcement is
likely to affect you, your career opportunities, and the armor force in general.
Two years ago, to meet the changing
MTOE requirements of the Force XXI
structure and the creation of the first
two IBCTs at Fort Lewis, Washington,
the armor force was forced to reduce
the number of 19K armor crewmen and
increase the number of 19D cavalry
scouts. We choose to meet this requirement by retraining 19K soldiers to
19D scouts to better balance the force,
retain quality armor soldiers in the Career Management Field (CMF), and reduce accession requirements. Although
we needed 258 19K Skill Level 10 soldiers to volunteer to make the conversion, ultimately over 250 19K10 soldiers had to be involuntarily selected to
convert to 19D. The program was not
the success we had hoped for, nor did
the soldiers and their leaders receive
the program well. The basic problem
was that soldiers and their leaders did
not fully understand the necessity for
the program and its future ramifications
on their development and the armor
force.
As we move forward with transformation, we do not foresee doing another
involuntary reclassification program.
We have been working this now far
enough in advance, in approximate
numbers, to create a better understanding of the needs of the force. Soldiers
and leaders, however, will be affected,
but they should leverage the opportunities presented and not be wary of them.
The first of the new IBCTs is the 172d

6

Infantry Brigade (Separate) in Alaska,
which will transform no later than FY
2003. The creation of the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) squadron and the insertion of the Mobile Gun System (MGS)
platoons into the brigade translates to
143 19Ds, 91 19Ks, and 5 19Zs. The
nucleus of this force will come from E
Troop/1st Cavalry.
The additional MOS allocations are
good news for the armor force. The 2d
Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), at
Fort Polk, Louisiana, will transform no
later than FY 2004, and the 2d Brigade,
25th Infantry Division in Hawaii will
transform no later than FY 2005. This
brigade will see the same MOS allocations as the 172d Brigade; however,
they will have no cavalry troop to grow
from, so some personnel may come
from other 25th Infantry Division units.
The 2d ACR’s transformation will be
a little more complex. The 2d ACR will
gain 201 19K positions and one 19Z
position, while losing 112 19D positions as they transition from HMMWVs
to LAV3s and MGSs.
It is obvious the armor force will have
to grow in personnel to meet these requirements. Recruiting Command will
access more CMF 19 soldiers and the
training base at Fort Knox will flex to
handle the additional soldiers. The additional 19D and 19K requirements will
equate to about one additional fill per
year for each of the One Station Unit
Training (OSUT) battalions. The Skill
Level One soldiers for the new IBCT
will not come just from the 1st Training
Brigade. Many will come from existing
units in order to get a good cross-level
of experience in the organizations. The
19Ks in the IBCTs will gain the Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) of R4. The
Master Gunners will get an R8 ASI.
We will use these to track our trained
base. We will not “lock” 19D or 19K
soldiers into the IBCTs. For career pro-

gression, armor soldiers will migrate
back to legacy force units and other
assignments.
Not only must we increase the number
of Skill Level One soldiers in the force,
but also the numbers in all skill levels.
It will be incumbent on the units to
coach, teach, and mentor their quality
soldiers to develop the noncommissioned officers needed for the force.
Additionally, the crew configurations
of the LAV3 and MGS mean a higher
NCO-to-soldier ratio in these new
units. The increase in noncommissioned officers will translate into a need
for more to attend NCOES schools.
The NCO academy at Fort Knox will
ensure that every NCO has the opportunity to attend the appropriate school
in a timely manner for soldiers to meet
their promotion requirements. We will
stabilize the soldiers in these IBCTs
during the transition phase to meet the
needs of the unit and to ensure that the
NCOs are able to meet the branch
qualification standards necessary for
promotion.
Alaska and Hawaii are two locations
that have, in the past, offered few positions for 19Ds and 19Ks. Many armor
soldiers will soon have their first opportunity to be assigned there. There
will be many new challenges as the
IBCTs and the 2nd ACR transform, so
soldiers and leaders need to take a close
look at volunteering for assignments to
an IBCT or 2nd ACR. Never has the
opportunity for professional development of our soldiers been so great.
With transformation comes that opportunity. Transformation will allow our
best soldiers to emerge to become the
leaders of a better armor force. That is
why “TODAY IS THE BEST DAY TO
BE A SOLDIER.”

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Medium Gun System Platoons:
A First Look at a New Kind of Unit
by Second Lieutenant Brian P. Hurley
The Medium Gun System (MGS) platoon is a new unit dedicated to accomplishing the same mission as tanks were
first called upon to carry out — supporting the infantry. In this case, the infantry units are part of the new Interim
Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) now
training at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Consider this article a progress report
on the training, problems, and achievements of C Co, 1-23 IN’s Medium Gun
System platoon, which supports the
Third Brigade Combat Team (BCT).

dismounted infantry squad (The other
MGS vehicle was attached to the Main
Effort Platoon.); and a third with one
MGS vehicle per rifle platoon, under
the rifle platoon leader’s control. The
first configuration, pure plus, is usually
best for non-restrictive terrain, and in
support/attack-by-fire positions. The dismounted infantry squad from the accompanying IAV conducts an occupation by force of the SBF/ABF position.

The company has conducted several
raids, traffic checkpoints, presence patrols, and perimeter defenses since June
2000 and has taken initial strides toward maintaining 19K proficiency
through the first Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Tank Crew Proficiency Course (TCPC). Company commanders have had the opportunity to
execute numerous missions utilizing
varied employment methods and task
organizations for the MGS. This article
will cover the training conducted, the
various ways the MGS has been employed, the close infantry fight, MGS
training, and some 19K-specific issues
that have arisen in the MGS/IBCT concept.
Because the final version of the Medium Gun System is not yet available
for training, we use eight-wheeled Italian Centauro armored cars, equipped
with 105mm tank guns similar to those
on the M60 and early M1-series tanks.
These vehicles are on loan to the U.S.
Army. The Infantry Assault Vehicles
(IAVs) that our unit uses are also
“loaners,” from the Canadian Army,
similar to Marine Corps Light Armored
Vehicles (LAVs).
Task Organization
To date, MGS platoons have focused
on three configurations: pure plus
(three MGS vehicles plus one Infantry
Assault Vehicle (IAV) and one dismounted infantry squad); another with
two MGS vehicles, one IAV, and one

The IAV squad dismounts, clears the
position, and secures the flanks and
rear of the position. The MGS platoon
then conducts deliberate occupation of
the SBF/ABF. Dismounted infantry are
aware of the “danger cone” of 105mm
rounds and are well clear of the rear of
the vehicle. The remaining IAV supports the dismounted infantry in security operations and can mount up and
conduct quick reaction force (QRF)
operations.
This task organization proved extremely effective. When the enemy
tried to destroy the MGS SBF by flanking with dismounted AT weaponry,

ARMOR — September-October 2001

close infantry support fire teams were
able to identify the dismounted AT
threat and destroy them before they
could initiate firing. Conversely, when
a company chose to leave the MGS
without infantry security, they were
completely destroyed. After the mission, the only units with surviving
MGS vehicles were the units that utilized the deliberate occupation method
with infantry.
The second task organization
is usually the normal task organization for the company.
Fort Lewis’ restrictive terrain is
not conducive to a pure MGS
organization and the missions
executed by IBCT infantry companies usually require MGS
intervention in the close fight.
MGS vehicles operate on the
section/wingman concept, utilizing the infantry as local security, but this is not limited to
static local security. Often, the
MGS platoon leader will use
active dismounted patrolling
with one MGS overwatching the
dismounted maneuver element.
The remaining MGS and IAV
operate on the wingman/section
concept. One full rifle squad
with one MGS in overwatch
provides the lethality needed to
deal with almost any contingency. If the threat is too great for the
squad and MGS, the other MGS and
IAV provide a quick reaction force to
defeat the enemy. The third MGS vehicle is utilized by the main effort as the
weapon system to sway the battle and
enter the close infantry fight.
This task organization is also extremely effective. Organizing the company in this manner provides the commander one or two more maneuver elements (to make five) instead of three
(just the rifle platoons). The armor platoon leader has his E-6 wingman and
another infantry E-6 squad leader,
while the MGS PSG is attached to the

7

While the U.S. version of the Medium
Gun System is being re-engineered to
reduce its height for C-130 deployment,
troops of the Interim Brigade Combat
Teams are training on Centauro armored
cars borrowed from the Italian Army.

main effort. The PL and PSG must be
proficient at all infantry tasks for this
organization to work. Using this organization, the company commander can
parcel out his elements to cover more
area without sacrificing firepower.
Also, he is able to spread senior leadership over a larger area, which translates
to greater command and control. 11B
platoon sergeants and new platoon
leaders benefit from the attached 19K
E-7 who aids in the troop leading procedures and from integrating armor into
the close infantry fight.
The MGS platoon can now operate
traffic control points, conduct screen
line operations, be prepared for reserve/
quick reaction force (QRF) missions,
conduct active reconnaissance and
presence patrol operations, and secure a
section of a mobile defense in depth.
The other MGS vehicle in the main
effort can be used in a SBF/ABF, or
switch to precision coax and provide
close machine gun support. Another
option for the lone MGS is to operate
as the breach element when the main
effort is attempting to gain a foothold
in an urban environment. After extensive rehearsals, the grappling hook
method was used to clear concertina
wire in an urban raid.
The dismounted infantry set the
conditions for the MGS to maneuver,
under smoke, to execute the breach.
Setting the conditions translates to
neutralizing the immediate AT threat
while continuously applying suppressive fire and smoke on the enemy. The
MGS vehicle exposure time was limited to about 15 seconds and, in that
time, the vehicle was concealed under a
wall of smoke. After the breach, the
infantry penetrated the enemy perimeter and seized the foothold. Upon occupation of a second building, the MGS
vehicle maneuvered, under cover of
suppressive fire and building obscuration, to enter the close infantry fight.
The MGS began to turn the tide of the
battle and allow the infantry freedom of
maneuver.

8

The third task organization is used
when each rifle platoon is expected to
fight in limited terrain under heavy
enemy opposition. Each rifle platoon
leader employs his MGS according to
his own judgment. Usually, the MGS
role is limited to a support by fire role
or is used to help establish the machine
gun teams. Effects are limited in this
method since the terrain and enemy
threat can drastically affect MGS combat power. This task organization is the
least effective of the three. It is best
suited to perimeter defenses, presence
patrols, or assembly area operations;
the scenarios depend on the threat template. MGS vehicles can be split to
provide evenly distributed firepower to
each section of the perimeter defense.
Obviously, this type of organization
does not lend itself to massing fires.
During a presence patrol, each platoon
can cover a specific area and use the
MGS as an intimidating force as well
as a QRF if the platoon is overwhelmed.
Utilizing this task organization for raids
or deliberate attacks limits the commander to three maneuver units, instead
of a potential five, and limits the firepower of mass and maneuverability
benefits that the MGS offers. Also, two
key leaders (the PL and PSG) are simply reduced to tank commanders. This
proposed organization has as many
limitations as the platoon file does in
dismounted operations.
Battlefield Examples of Task
Organizations
Task Organization 2: While conducting area presence operations, insurgent forces were entering and leaving the occupied areas. Company commanders needed to maintain surveillance and provide a quick reaction
force should the presence patrols meet
resistance. The task organization for
this mission utilized two MGS vehicles, one IAV, and one dismounted
infantry squad. They were to conduct
screen line operations and, on order,
provide a QRF to the nearby village to
reinforce.

During the screening operation, the
MGS platoon was ordered to stop a
specific vehicle to search and detain
suspects. Maintaining covered and concealed positions, the MGS utilized its
optics to track and identify vehicles.
Upon identification, the MGS radioed
to the dismounted element while the
MGS maneuvered to block the road.
The suspect vehicle was trapped on the
road between one MGS and one IAV.
Dismounted infantry conducted a
search of vehicle and personnel, detained suspects and radioed for EPW
pick up. The second MGS vehicle provided overwatch and eyes on the road
network.
Organizing the MGS platoon in this
manner did not reduce the combat
power of the platoons conducting the
presence patrols and it enabled the MGS
to maximize its optics and maneuverability advantages over the enemy.
Screen operations/hunter-killer teams
were employed during the perimeter
defense using the same organization.
The platoon had two MGS vehicles
plus one IAV and squad. The other
MGS was attached to a full rifle platoon charged with active security patrolling. The rifle platoon leader organized a hunter-killer team with two
IAVs, two squads, and one MGS. IAVs
patrolled for the enemy, and once the
enemy was found, would dismount and
further evaluate/develop the situation.
MGS would then be deployed into the
fight once the hunter team set the conditions for MGS intervention.
The MGS platoon conducted stationary screen line operations with an onorder mission to reinforce the perimeter. The dismount squad was the QRF
for the perimeter defense and also the
designated EPW team and vehicle
search team.
The hunter-killer team executed flawlessly. The MGS truly swayed the fight
with precision coax and APERS
rounds. However, this tactic relies
heavily upon the infantry’s adjustment
for the MGS danger cone, which is an

ARMOR — September-October 2001

An MGS approaches a wire entanglement as troops rehearse a MOUT
raid in cooperation with infantry.

integral part of setting the conditions
for MGS intervention.
The screen line worked as well as before, deterring several vehicles from
entering the perimeter and preventing
reinforcements from the high speed
avenues of approach. When OPFOR
breached the perimeter from the rear
and began clearing the perimeter, MGS
moved into the perimeter and again
swayed the battle, pushing the OPFOR
back into the woodline and allowing
BLUFOR to consolidate and reorganize
the perimeter.
The Close Infantry Fight
On more than one occasion, getting
the MGS into the fight immediately
turned the battle in BLUFOR’s favor.
The MGS can close with the enemy
and destroy him, but must have the
conditions set for such intervention.
Surprise and shock effect absolutely
stunned the enemy and enabled the
infantry to maneuver while MGS influenced the battle.
Utilizing the MGS solely in a supportby-fire role wastes valuable lethality
and firepower. The infantry is the main
effort in almost every fight — especially the MOUT fight. MGS firepower
and maneuverability must be involved
in the fight to ensure limited losses of
infantry and secure victory; in fact,
lives depend on it. Commanders need
to understand the effects of each 105mm round, as does the infantry soldier.
Commanders also need to make an
assessment based on the risk of loss.
Most tankers feel they should be in the
SBF role and used sparingly, if at all, in
the close infantry fight, because they
cause the most damage and they are far
too valuable an asset. But commanders
and tankers need to realize that, given
the situation, they may have to accept
the possibility of losing a vehicle. What
may result in reducing the combat ef-

fectiveness of the MGS platoon — a
tactical move that is high risk for one of
the vehicles — may improve the overall combat effectiveness of the company.
One example of such a scenario is the
breach. Many infantry soldiers may die
in the breach. One company during
training lost an entire platoon while
breaching two sets of wire, and after
the breach, that company was rendered
combat ineffective because of additional losses incurred while clearing the
village. However, if a commander can
employ an MGS with one infantry
squad supporting a breaching effort, a
platoon can be saved, a foothold secured, and the mission becomes a success even though an MGS vehicle
might be lost. Understand that MOUT
can be costly in terms of losses in soldiers and vehicles, and the MGS is also
part of that cost equation. But a tactically proficient commander knows how
to set the conditions for successful
MGS intervention and rarely will an
MGS vehicle be sacrificed for the
whole. The key to success in the close
infantry fight is frequent integration of
infantry and MGS training.
MGS Training
Since MGS operates under the Blue
Guidon, they often train like infantry.
PT, in the IBCT, is a battle-focus consolidated targeting task list (CTTL)
task which is closely monitored. As a
result, MGS soldiers are extremely fit.
19Ks in 1-23 IN know the jobs of their
infantry brethren and can execute most
dismounted tasks. All MGS soldiers are
close quarters marksmanship certified;
they all train the nine basic moves of
Brazilian Jujitsu; they can all enter and
clear a room, and know the process of
clearing a street. Also, MGS soldiers
are masters of several different vehicles. All MGS soldiers are certified to
drive the Centauro, LAV III IAV,

ARMOR — September-October 2001

HMMWV, and M113. Ultimately,
MGS soldiers have become the model
for mounted and dismounted maneuvering. MGS soldiers lead the way on
company command maintenance and
mounted weapons employment since
most of the company is comprised of
11Bs.
Considering the unique training focus
for MGS troopers, they obviously are
not conventional tankers, but a new
breed of soldier. Training the platoon
for such a high OPTEMPO, training to
think while fighting, increasing situational awareness, and executing initiative within the commander’s intent are
the hallmark of the MGS. MGS soldiers have the same base skill set as
tankers, but possess a myriad of additional skills as well.
NCOs and soldiers who come to MGS
platoons are not, and must not be,
“third-class soldiers.” Units with MGS
platoons conduct missions that require
only the best 19Ks in the Army. Occupying any position within the MGS
platoon requires absolute competence,
self-motivation, and a desire to be the
best. MGS platoons are pushed far beyond the limit of conventional 19K
units and must be the best mounted
maneuver warfare experts in the Army.
Considering the caliber of soldier needed in the MGS platoons, 1-23 IN has
procured Ranger School slots for any
19K, E-4 or above. MGS soldiers lead
the way for the IBCT and the future of
the Army.
A paradigm shift in “tanking” is occurring and needs to occur in MGS
platoons. Clinging to past ways of tanking, which involved only limited close
fighting, and generally away from urban environments, may be dangerous,
as evidenced by several historical battles. Each time — in Aachen, Hue,
Suez City, and Panama, for example —
the Army learned at great price how to

9

This Centauro is being used as a
command and control vehicle during
an M1A1 gunnery.

integrate infantry and tanks into battles,
and in each case, tankers and infantrymen had to rediscover how to fight
because of old training paradigms.
Tankers in the IBCT must continue to
reach beyond MOS stereotypes. MGS
platoon leaders must train their commanders on the capabilities and limitations of the MGS and “tankers” must
abandon their traditional ways of “tanking,” think outside the box, and get into
the fight.

maneuver ranges. Our 19K NCOs are
leader-certified in infantry demolition
breaches, infantry MOUT maneuver
tactics, and dismounted infantry patrolling. The 19Ks in 1-23 IN have gone to
Ranger School and new ones are encouraged to attend. Ultimately, 19Ks in
MGS units have a broader skill set and
greater responsibility than the average
tank platoon NCO, and Armor Branch
needs to recognize that and reward
them through the NCOER process.

19K Personnel Issues

Currently, most 19K NCOs and soldiers are offered the choice of staying
or going to another tank unit. Many
chose to stay here for the challenges
this unit offers tankers, and then discovered they would have to learn and
adapt to infantry ways while abandoning tanker ways. Whatever the interpretation, some soldiers were unfairly assigned and are excelling regardless.
Armor Branch should recognize the
sacrifice these soldiers make and reward them for their dedication to country and mission.

Fort Lewis had two active armor
units. One unit, 1-32 AR, was reclassified as 1-14 Cavalry, the new Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target
Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron, and
turned in their tanks. The other armor
unit is 1-33 AR, which still has M1A1
Abrams tanks. Since maintenance costs
are so great with heavy tanks, it’s impossible to cross train 1-23 IN MGS
19Ks on 1-33 Armor’s tanks. So, 19K
training — specifically on M1A1-series
tanks — is extremely limited. Questions regarding sustainment training
have been raised, but once again,
budget and resources cause a shortfall
in M1A1 tank training for young soldiers, and this means they do not get to
do what they signed up for. Also, the
limited focus on “tanking” reduces reenlistment numbers. Young soldiers
want to shoot tanks and be tankers, but
IBCT units are ill equipped to handle
the costs associated with tanking.
More importantly, senior E-5s or E-6s
who are approaching promotable status
and need points for promotion require a
good NCOER evaluated fairly with the
rest of the 19Ks. E-5s and E-6s will not
shoot gunnery for at least two years
here at Fort Lewis, so there are no gunnery scores in their NCOERs. Also, the
tasks asked of platoon NCO leaders in
this unit are significantly different than
those asked of tank platoon leaders.
MGS NCOs are asked to lead infantry
fire teams through room clearing, and
rifle squads through street clearing.
Gunners and tank commanders have to
become small arms masters because
they are asked to NCOIC small arms
static ranges and act as range safety
officers (RSO) during live fire infantry

10

The CSM of the Armor Branch recently visited Fort Lewis and spoke
with the senior NCO leadership of
MGS platoons, many of whom felt that
Armor Branch was leaving the 19Ks to
the infantry wolves. But in fairness to
the infantry, they are trying incredibly
hard to accommodate the MGS platoons and facilitate 19K professional
development, although they are not yet
equipped to support 19K development.
NCOs and soldiers need Armor Branch
support. Armor Branch can get involved in training aspects by obtaining
resources for MGS platoons. Branch
command emphasis in MTOE development can provide 1-23 IN and other
IBCT units with MCOFTs, UCOFTs,
or other resources that will enhance
19K sustainment training. Also, Armor
Branch should evaluate current MGS
doctrine and suggest or begin to develop the training skills needed for follow-on tank units that are slotted for
transformation. Utilizing a gunnery
scenario, Armor Branch needs to tell
IBCT units that they must provide a
TCGST once yearly, CCTT training at
Fort Knox once yearly, and perhaps
shoot a gunnery once yearly. Right

now, the infantry budget — based on a
light (11B) unit — is too small to accommodate that kind of training. If the
Armor Branch demanded certain 19K
sustainment tasks, then the infantry,
IBCT units, would have to budget for
them, and this would set 19K soldiers
up for success in their next unit, while
improving the reenlistment situation.
Ultimately, Armor Branch should demonstrate more concern for MGS soldiers. Young IBCT soldiers are learning more about leadership and possess
more combat skills than their tank platoon counterparts. The IBCT produces
extremely physically fit armor soldiers
who understand mission and initiative
within an intent. Armor Branch cannot
allow these soldiers to be left behind;
they deserve more involvement and
better support from the branch they are
honored to serve.
Summary
1-23 IN is the “Tip of the Spear” for
the IBCT and Objective Force 2030
Concept. 1-23 IN is training at an exceptionally high OPTEMPO to establish doctrine and prepare soldiers for
urban warfare. Individual companies are
thinking outside the box and truly executing the combined arms fight. MGS
platoons are leading the transformation
from conventional warfighting to true
combined arms integration — “Fighting As One.” During the transformation
process, 19K soldiers are enthusiastic
and professional and set the example
for the Army and the Armor community. Maintaining training focus and
developing doctrine will only continue
if 19K soldiers get the support they
need from the Armor Branch.

2LT Brian Hurley graduated in
1999 from Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, with a B.S. in
psychology and a minor in electrical
engineering. He has been stationed
at Fort Lewis, Wash., for 14
months, and has served as 2nd
platoon leader, A Co, 1-32 Armor,
and currently as the MGS platoon
leader, C Co., 1-23 Infantry, 3 BCT,
2 ID.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Plow Platoon Operations
by Captain Patrick A. Callahan
“Panther X-Ray, this is
Maddog X-Ray, enemy
obstacle report follows:”

Plow Concept

The plow tank must build
up enough spoil (turned
dirt) prior to entering the
Line 1: Wire and mine
minefield in order to push
obstacle
and redirect the explosion
Line 2: Starting at Grid
of the mine(s) away from
AB 303148 to Grid AB
the tank. In order to de311149
velop enough spoil, the
Line 3: Obstacle is
plow must be dropped 50800m in length, from SW
80 meters from the edge of
to NE
the minefield. This is terLine 4: Depth of obstarain- and soil-dependent;
cle: 100m
essentially, there should be
a minimum of 13 inches of
Line 5: Obstacle sightspoil in front of the mine
ing has been confirmed
“In
the
summer
of
1998,
2-69
Armor
Battalion
plow. Prior to creating a
by Maddog Red 1 at __
began using a new playbook that included the
lane with the plow, the
_ hrs.
tank must traverse its turret
concept
of
using
a
plow
platoon
within
each
“Panther X-Ray, this is
to the side in order to procompany/team....”
Panther 6. I monitored
tect the gun tube from any
Maddog’s report. Execute
possible frontal mine exTM Bulldog, time now!”
plosions. The turret should
Like all units within 3d Brigade, 3d
be traversed to the left side so that the
In the summer of 1998, 2-69 Armor
Infantry Division, we trained hard durTC may use the .50 caliber machine
Battalion began using a new playbook
ing our train-up period for the NTC, but
gun while in the lane. In order to prothat included the concept of using a
more importantly, our unit had detect the crew from direct and indirect
plow platoon within each company/
ployed to Kuwait for real world continfires, and exploding mines, all hatches
team.
gency operations twice within the last
must be closed while creating the lane.
Initially, the company commanders
three years (Operations Desert VigiMine Roller Concept
were skeptical and reluctant to change
lance, Desert Fox/Thunder).
to this new concept of breaching. We
The mine roller is mounted on the
The end result: Task Force Panther
had very little knowledge about the
tank prior to use during a mission. The
did well during NTC Rotation 98-02.
tactics, techniques, or procedures for
mine roller tank detects the edge of the
We won some battles, and we lost some
using the plow platoon concept in our
minefield upon visual contact or by
battles, but overall, we were a better
warfighting METL. Our train-up for the
exploding the first mine. The roller
trained and battle ready unit after the
National Training Center (NTC) was to
tank then backs up in order to allow a
rotation.
begin in two weeks (two companies
plow tank to clear a lane. The roller is
had just returned from Intrinsic Action
also used for proofing a lane after a
This article discusses the use of the
98-02 and two companies were still
plow tank or engineer unit has already
“plow platoon” in co/tm offensive opdeployed in support of Operation Decleared a path through the minefield.
erations. It is by no means the answer
sert Thunder), and the company comto all tactical breaching scenarios,
In-Stride Breach (See Figs. 1-3)
manders, like the rest of the unit, didn’t
rather a task force and company/team
want the additional requirement to train
Concept:
SOP developed through trial and error
a time-consuming new concept to go
during our train-up to the NTC in the
Prior to conducting a breach with unit
along with the numerous other refall of 1998. For the units using the
assets, the normal SOSR (suppress, obquirements prior to deploying to the
“plow platoon” concept, the following
scure, secure, reduce) conditions must
NTC.
SOP may aid in breaching operations at
be met. This is done with platoon interthe task force and co/tm level.
I formed a plow platoon within my
nal assets, company/team assets, or task
company. The biggest “sell” was to my
force assets, depending on the size and
Platoon Task Organization
soldiers: “Sir, how come it has to be
composition of the obstacle and enemy
our platoon?” or “Sir, do you realize
strength covering the obstacle. Once
1-Mine roller
that you are sending us to our death in
the obstacle is identified, a plow tank
2-Mine plow
the breach?” These were just a few
section acts as the lane creator and lane
questions for me to think about during
proofer. The other tank section pro3-Mine plow
my second week as an M1A1 tank
vides overwatch and suppression dur4-Mine plow
company commander.
ing the breach.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

11

In-stride Breach

In-stride Breach

SMOKE

SMOKE

#3

#3

#4

#4
Suppress: by fires (indirect/direct)
Obscure: primary mortars/ smoke pots
Secure: by direct/indirect fire superiority
Reduce: 1 lane per co/tm, 2 x lanes per TF
maintain momentum & continue to attack

#2
#1

* Not to Scale

Figure 1. Suppression

In-stride Breach

#2
CO/TM
OVERWATCH

#1

* Not to Scale

Figure 2. Reduction

Standard Two-Lane Deliberate Breach
-OPFOR prepared/complex obstacle in depth
3:1 Ratio of direct fire
high volume of indirect fire
detailed smoke plan

#1
#2

OoM
-Tank w/Plow
-AVLM
-Sapper M113
-AVLB
-EN PL M113
-ACE
-EN PSG M113
-Sapper M113

OoM
-Tank w/Plow
-AVLM
-Sapper M113
-AVLB
-EN PL M113
-ACE
-EN PSG M113
-Sapper M113

E

)(

...

E

#4

E

...

#3

1 x Tank w/Plow
1 x Tank w/Roller

)(

Assault
(-)

Overwatch

Figure 3. Proofing the Lane
* Not to Scale

12

CO/TM
OVERWATCH

Overwatch

Figure 4. Movement to the Breach

* Not to Scale

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Standard Two-Lane Deliberate Breach

S

SM

E
OK
SM

SM

SM

KE
MO

SM

E
OK

Standard Two-Lane Deliberate Breach

E
OK

E
OK

E
OK

#3

#4

E

)(

)(

#2

Overwatch

#1

(-)

Assault

Figure 5. Reduction

Overwatch

* Not to Scale

- Plow Plt conducts L/U with Mech Co/Tm upon
completion of breach

Figure 6. Link-up

Suppression (Figure 1) is conducted
by the overwatch section and any other
assets working to accomplish the
breach.

NMC. The #2 tank also acts as the
FASCAM response vehicle if the enemy places FASCAM on the breach
site.

Obscuration is called by the PL or
the primary observer for the obscuration mission.

In that case, in order to re-establish
the breach, the #2 tank drops its plow
and breaches the same lane created by
the previous plow tanks.

Security (near side) is conducted by
the breach section as it prepares to execute the breach mission.
Reduction (Figure 2) is conducted by
the #3 tank. It drops its plow 50-80
meters from the edge of the minefield
while the #4 tank continues to provide
near-side security (vic edge of minefield; enemy and terrain dependent).
The #3 tank creates the lane.
Once the #3 tank creates the lane the
#4 tank follows with its plow dropped
in order to proof the lane (Figure 3).
While the #4 tank is proofing the lane,
the #3 tank provides far-side security.
Once the lane has been proofed, the
#1 and #2 tanks advance through the
obstacle in order to provide far-side
security, additional suppression, or assist in assaulting enemy positions.
In order to provide redundancy, the #2
tank acts as the back-up breach tank in
case the #3 and #4 tanks are rendered

TF Deliberate Breach With
Engineer Assets (See Figs. 4-6)
TASK ORGANIZATION:
TM BULLDOG/ B/317 EN (Breach
Teams)
1/B/317 EN (#3 Tank, 1xAVLM,
4xM113, 1xAVLB, 1xACE)
2/B/317 EN (#4 Tank, 1xAVLM,
4xM113, 1xAVLB, 1xACE)
3/A/2-69 AR (#1 and # 2 Tank)
Concept:
When breaching with engineer assets,
the task force commander determines
whether to create a one- or two-lane
breach. If it is the standard two-lane
breach, then the #3 and #4 tanks are
OPCON to B/317 EN. The #1 and #2
tanks remain in a position to oversee
the breach operation and act as a FASCAM breach reserve. The tank platoon

ARMOR — September-October 2001

* Not to Scale

remains OPCON to TM BULLDOG
until the breach mission is complete
and lane(s) are established. The #4
plow tank must maintain FM comms
with the platoon leader (#1 tank) in
order to ensure the latest SITREPs are
known within the platoon.
The plow platoon maneuvers as a platoon until the last covered and concealed position as designated by CDR,
TM BULLDOG. Once in the final position, the #3 and #4 tanks separate from
the plow platoon and prepare to lead
their respective platoons toward the
breach site. The typical order of march
to the breach site for each platoon will
be: tank w/plow, AVLM, sapper M113,
AVLB, EN PL M113, ACE, EN PSG
M113, and sapper M113 (Figure 4).
Suppression is conducted by the #1
and #2 tank and other units assigned
the mission according to the TF play
book.
Obscuration is called by the engineer
commander or by the primary/secondary observer; designated by the TF
FSO.
Security (near side) is conducted by
TM_/2-69 AR from the overwatch.
Continued on Page 20

13

“Train in difficult, trackless, wooded terrain. War makes
extremely heavy demands on the soldier’s strengths and
nerves. For this reason, make heavy demands on your men
in peacetime.” — Rommel, 1937.

Kasserine Pass and the Necessity of Training
by Captain James Dunivan

In the armor force of today, “train as
you fight” and “tough, realistic training” are two of the most quoted axioms
one will hear during the course of any
training meeting or quarterly training
brief. We, as armor leaders, pride ourselves on our gunnery scores and the
field training exercises that culminate
with glowing after-action reviews, bragging of fewer vehicles with blinking
“whoopee” lights. While these criteria
may gain favor with senior raters to
justify an above-center-of-mass rating
on an officer evaluation report, one
must always ask the harder question,
“Is my unit trained to survive and succeed on the wartime battlefield?” The
wise leader answers this question honestly and uses these scores and AARs
to evaluate strengths and weaknesses,
then to train and sustain accordingly.
The leader who trains only those tasks
at which the unit already excels, or
simply flips through the manual to fill a
weekly training schedule, is leading his
unit straight to a disaster.
History is full of such disasters —
soldiers sent to an untimely death because of poor training, weak leadership,
or an overall lack of readiness. One
such disaster unfolded early in 1943 in
North Africa, when an American command met the Germans for the first
time in battle in World War II. These
were not just any Germans, but Field
Marshal Erwin Rommel and his Afrika
Korps, veterans of two years of desert
fighting. The result was overwhelming
confusion: regiments were overrun and
battalions broke and melted away in a
mass slaughter of American armor.1
The Battle of Kasserine Pass, as we

14

have come to call it, was actually a
series of operations, from the start at
Faid, through Sidi bou Zid and Sbeitla,
to the final act at the Kasserine defile.2
About 30,000 American soldiers of
the U.S. II Corps fought at the Battle of
Kasserine Pass, and nearly 6,500 of
these men were killed, wounded, or
taken prisoner by the Germans. We lost
nearly 400 armored vehicles, 200 artillery pieces, and 500 trucks and jeeps,
along with large stockpiles of supplies
— more than the combined stocks of
all the American depots in Algeria and
Morocco.3 These numbers painfully
reinforce the certainty that a poorly
trained force is a recipe for failure.
Although many factors contributed to
failure at Kasserine, training was the
shortfall identified by analysts at the
time and by historians ever since. As
historian Martin Blumenson put it,
“Shortcomings shown by American
troops in combat in North Africa…
were attributed… in large measure to
lack of opportunity to train with enough
weapons and ammunition.”4
Another factor was the rush to train
thousands of soldiers quickly. The patriotism stirred by Pearl Harbor, combined with the introduction of the draft,
swamped the Army’s handful of regular officers and noncommissioned officers available for training. And most of
these trainers had never seen action
themselves, unless it had been in World
War I. General Eisenhower realized
that this new war would demand hard,
trained soldiers, but time was just too
short. As a result, American troops
were ill-trained, ill-disciplined, and emo-

tionally unprepared for what was soon
to come.5
After the battle for North Africa was
finally won in the summer of 1943, an
American ex-journalist and veteran of
the campaign, Engineer Captain Ralph
Ingersoll, summed up his thoughts
about the training of the soldiers who
had fought in Africa:
“It is the practice at home to put
troops through rigorous exercises
called maneuvers. During these
maneuvers soldiers do sleep on the
ground and get wet in the rain. But
maneuvers are for so many days,
for so many weeks, and at the end
of them there are nice, warm barracks and the day-rooms and the
U.S.O to go back to, and in which
to sit around and beef about how
tough it all was. This is an odd
thing for a soldier who so intensely
disliked his own basic training to
say, but if I were to pray for a
miracle, it just might be that every
barracks in the United States
would burn down! Then the American Army in training might start
learning to live as it will one day
have to live, with the sky for a ceiling and the ground for a floor…
An army trained that way would be
an army that was at home the day
it arrived in the field.”6
The maneuvers Captain Ingersoll referred to included the Louisiana Maneuvers that were “fought” in Louisiana and the Carolinas in 1941. They
were the final test of the training and
organization of this great army prior to
the war.7

ARMOR — September-October 2001

A year earlier, in July 1940, the entire
world had been awed by Germany’s
armored blitzkriegs through Poland and
France. And two weeks after the fall of
France, the United States created its
own armor force, part of the 1.4 million
man army General George C. Marshall
had been raising in anticipation that the
United States would be drawn into the
Second World War. The Louisiana Maneuvers, following earlier division and
corps-level maneuvers, meant hard work
and misery for America’s new soldiers.

In Louisiana, they battled mud, dust,
bugs, and sudden downpours. In the
Carolinas, they found ice in their water
buckets in the morning and scrambled
to find kerosene heaters.8
Elaborate and intricate umpires’ rules
were in effect for the maneuvers since
people could not really be killed, nor
shells really fired, or bridges really
blown up. Human “casualties” would
not drop out; a unit’s firepower points
would simply be reduced in propor-

ARMOR — September-October 2001

tion to them. A “destroyed” tank was
deemed “resurrected” and returned to
its unit at midnight. The impact area of
indirect fire would be marked with
flags, and casualties would be assessed
against a unit caught in that area.9 But
all things considered, the training was
demanding and made to be as realistic
as possible.
The maneuvers were quite successful
in giving the Army hands-on experience in the mobility of large units, and

15

in testing current organization and doctrine, for example how tanks should be
employed and how combined arms
units should be structured. The maneuvers also served their major purpose of
testing the quality of essential training
— and unfortunately found it lacking.
Many small unit commanders failed to
show a grasp of basic tactics. Communications, coordination, and reconnaissance had often been poor. Most orders
had been slow in preparation and vague
or ambiguous.10 As time would tell, the
defeat at Kasserine would again bring
these problems to the surface and show
the Army what skills troops had to
learn and execute. That they quickly
became proficient in the warfare of the
1940s confirmed their spirit, flexibility,
strong sense of purpose, and will to
win.11
The point of this comparison is not an
attempt to give a history lesson on the
Louisiana Maneuvers or the Battle of
Kasserine Pass, but rather an attempt to
show the historical relationship between training and combat. If this entire course of events seems familiar,
perhaps it is because it mirrors in many
ways our current method of training. In
our armored force today, we have the
best soldiers and equipment in the
world. We have leadership that understands the importance of training and
the need for constant readiness in a
volatile world where anything can happen at any given moment. However,
just as an infant armor force over fifty
years ago trained hard but paid the
price for battlefield experience in
blood, we once again face a new era in
armor as we begin a new century.
We, as armor leaders, cannot look into
the future at the cost of removing ourselves from the ground our tracks are
rolling over today. We must emphasize
training to fight as we would right now,
as realistically and safely as possible.
Technology is full of wonderful tools
that will continue to alter the face of
battlefield communication, command,
and control. Much is to be gained, but
all the digitization in the world cannot
replace situational awareness on the
ground, troop leading procedures, battle
drills, land navigation, and the logistics
and maintenance-related training to
make it all happen. We cannot move
forward at the cost of current readiness.
While our mounted training centers
are outstanding, units get only limited

16

opportunities to train there, so armor
leaders need to place equal or greater
emphasis on tough and demanding
home station training. Once again, a
focus on the “basics” is essential, and
with minimal resources, any commander can exercise his platoons on the
forms of contact, actions on contact,
formations, movement techniques,
transition to maneuver, and actions on
the objective. Start in the classroom
with a sand table and advance up
through the gates of lane training to
maximize time and resources when
actual maneuver and force-on-force
training is available.
Simulations and orders drills are very
worthwhile and necessary in saving
dollars, but should be utilized as a
ramp-up or sustainment tool to improve
maneuver training, rather than a substitute for it. The Close Combat Tactical
Trainer (CCTT) is an excellent simulation tool that provides realistic training
for the entire tank crew. Company
commanders and tank platoon leaders
can execute maneuver training against
an opposing force, working everything
from reporting to the most challenging
tactical scenarios. All it takes is some
prior coordination (experience shows
that the CCTT is one of the most underutilized resources on post and can almost always be obtained within six
weeks) and a training focus to get some
first-class training.
In the realm of tank gunnery, Table
XII should be the “main event” instead
of everything beginning and ending
with Table VIII scores. More importantly, units must plan and execute aggressive live-fire exercises that combine company or larger size elements
with integrated indirect fire and engineer assets. Thorough risk management
and properly executed gate training
allows us to conduct realistic live-fire
training at all levels with phenomenal
results. Much is to be gained when soldiers and leaders integrate the challenge of command and maneuver with
emotion and stimuli that comes from
the recoil of the main gun, the blast of
the MICLIC, and the impact of HE
adjusted on target.
With all the challenges of personnel
turnover and shortages, training distracters, limited funds and resources, and
time constraints, it is too easy for us
armor leaders to shrug our shoulders
and hope for things to get better. How-

ever, it is imperative that we face these
challenges and make use of everything
in our power to ensure that our soldiers
are trained and ready for war. What one
has absolutely no control over is one
thing, but if it is in our lane and can be
corrected, then we owe it to our soldiers to provide the best training opportunities possible. Officers, especially
company commanders and platoon
leaders, cannot be afraid to highlight
weaknesses during training, or refrain
from trying new and innovative ways to
train, at the cost of failing in what
many consider to be a “zero defects”
environment. The ultimate failure, as
illustrated at Kasserine, would be the
tragedy of allowing history to repeat
itself.

Notes
1Kasserine: First Blood, Charles Whiting, Stein
and Day Publishers, New York, N.Y., 1984, p.
10.
2America’s First Battles, Martin Blumenson,
University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.,
1986, p. 261.
3Ibid.
4Blumenson,

p. 264.

5Whiting,

p. 45.

6Whiting,

p. 46.

7“Relax

— It’s Only a Maneuver,” Military
History Quarterly, Thadeus Holt, p. 30.
8Holt,

p. 34.

9Holt,

pp. 33-34.

10Holt,

pp. 39 and 41.

11Blumenson,

p. 265.

CPT Jim Dunivan was commissioned as an armor officer from
USMA in 1993. He served as a tank
platoon leader, tank company XO,
and HHC XO in 1-34 AR at Fort
Riley, Kan. Additionally, he served
as a G3 operations officer in 2ID,
Camp Red Cloud, Korea. Returning
to the states to Fort Hood, Texas,
he was the brigade S1 for the 3d
“Grey Wolf” Bde, 1st Cavalry Division and the commander of Bravo
Company, 3-8 Cav, 1st CD. He is
currently the Assistant TRADOC
Systems Manager for FBCB2 at
Fort Knox, Ky.

ARMOR —September-October 2001

Obtaining Maximum Effectiveness
From Your Chemical Assets
by Captain Tom Duncan
One of the most significant trends we
have seen on the Bronco 62 Team (Brigade NBC Training Team) at the National Training Center (NTC) is difficulty integrating chemical assets into a
task force or brigade combat team
scheme of maneuver. This results in inadequate combat support from chemical assets and poorly developed unit
Nuclear Biological and Chemical
(NBC) defense measures. Failure to
integrate all the battlefield operating
systems into each operation increases
the difficulty of achieving your objectives and can cost soldiers their lives.
Reversing this trend requires a twopronged attack.
First, we must educate combat arms
officers, specifically task force (TF)
and brigade combat team (BCT) commanders, operations (S3) and executive
officers (XO), on how to get the highest
possible return from their NBC section
and chemical section with minimum
effort.
Also, the Chemical School, the Combat Training Centers, and individual
chemical soldiers must continue to
strive toward improving our corps.
This article will focus on the first initiative, educating combat arms officers
on the best use of chemical assets as a
combat multiplier. You should expect
your chemical officer (CHEMO) to aggressively pursue his role in the military decision-making process (MDMP),
but the S3 or XO must also be aware of
what to expect from him in order to
assist in his professional development.
My intent is for this article to serve as a
start point toward understanding what
to expect from your NBC staff section,
and to familiarize you with some of the
doctrinal references available to assist
you in overseeing your chemical staff
and attached assets.
Lack of NBC Asset Integration
It is Training Day 04 at the NTC. The
brigade combat team’s armor battalion

approaches the enemy’s obstacle belt
and prepares to establish a deliberate
breach.
Although the task force commander
has a mechanical smoke platoon and an
NBC reconnaissance squad in his task
organization, he will not use them in
this fight. His task force chemical officer has not presented, or been asked
for, recommendations on how to use
these combat multipliers. The task
force commander is also unaware that
the chemical officer has not talked with
the task force S2 to ensure accurate
templating of enemy chemical munitions targeting. As a result, he will not
see how the enemy will use these munitions to shape the battlefield.
His task force immediately begins to
receive direct and indirect fire. Attrition

ARMOR — September-October 2001

of the breach team significantly slows
their efforts, allowing the enemy time
to target the armor task force with nonpersistent munitions to slow our breach
efforts. The enemy shot a persistent
chemical strike to slow the advance of
the second echelon, while continuing
the attrition of the task force with direct
and indirect fires.
Our attempt to establish a breach
without the use of mechanical smoke
has allowed the enemy to accurately
target us with multiple weapons systems. The lack of focus for NBC recon
resulted in the slow establishment of a
safe bypass route for follow-on forces.
The failure of our battle staff to use all
available assets has resulted in our
failing to seize the objective. NoBody
Cares can quickly turn into Nothing
But Casualties.

17

Chemical Officer Duties
and Responsibilities
So what is the best way to get the
most out of your chemical officer,
NCO, and attached chemical assets?
The answer begins with knowing what
to demand from that individual. The
following are some of the chemical
officer’s duties and responsibilities
IAW FM 101-5, Staff Organization and
Operations:

• Recommends course of action
(COA) to minimize vulnerability (to
enemy NBC munitions).

• Plans, supervises, and coordinates
NBC decontamination operations.

• Plans, supervises, and coordinates
NBC reconnaissance operations.

• Plans and recommends integration

of smoke and obscurants into tactical operations.

• Collects, evaluates, and distributes
NBC attack and contamination data.

This is not an all-inclusive list of
CHEMO duties. However, I will focus
on these main areas in this article. The
questions we will examine now are:

• What do these duties mean during
day-to-day field operations?

TF or BCT. You should expect the
same work from your CHEMO that you
expect from your other staff sections.
The CHEMO should begin as soon as
we receive the mission by ensuring he
has all tools required for mission analysis (i.e., maps, unit SOPs, FMs, existing staff estimates, etc.)
During Mission Analysis, your
CHEMO should begin analyzing the
base order, task organization, and NBC
annex to determine if there are specified, implied, or essential tasks that
impact attached chemical assets or our
MOPP analysis. You should also expect your CHEMO to begin integrating
with the rest of the staff, specifically
the S2. Your CHEMO should assist the
S2 in templating the most dangerous
and most-likely NBC weapons use.
This analysis drives our task organization of NBC recon and decontamination assets.
Just as with all of your staff officers,
your CHEMO owes you an NBC staff
estimate, IAW FM 3-101, Chemical
Staffs and Units, p. D-3. This estimate
doctrinally includes the following at the
end of mission analysis:

• Restated mission.
• Effects of weather and terrain on

• How do we integrate our CHEMOs
to gain maximum value with minimal
effort?

enemy smoke and NBC weapons, or
weapons of mass destruction (WMD),
employment.

• What doctrinal products should we

• Enemy situation as it relates to

expect from our CHEMO to facilitate
giving clear and concise recommendations to the commander?
Military Decision-Making Process
(MDMP)
One of the three advantages of the
MDMP is to produce “the greatest integration, coordination, and synchronization for an operation and minimize the
risk of overlooking a critical aspect.”
(FM 101-5, Staff Organization and
Operations, p. 5-1) We have already
seen that the CHEMO is responsible for
integrating NBC recon, mechanical
smoke, and decon assets. This process
begins with the first step of the MDMP,
Receipt of Mission.
At the NTC, I have often seen NBC
soldiers excluded from the MDMP.
Successful integration of chemical assets requires a chemical representative
in the MDMP. This does not have to be
a member of your staff NBC section. It
can be the leadership from the chemical
element that is task organized to your

18

WMD use.

• Friendly situation as it relates to
chemical assets and initial recommendations for MOPP levels.
Keep in mind that this estimate is a
tool for your CHEMO to use to facilitate clear and concise information flow,
recommendations to the commander,
and staff integration. This is a working
document that should be developed
throughout the course of the MDMP.
As your CHEMO works through the
COA development, he should continue
to develop the four paragraphs mentioned above, then develop the rest of
the estimate to provide a tool for the
COA decision brief.
The remainder of the NBC staff estimate (FM 3-101, Chemical Staffs and
Units, p. D-3) includes the following:

• COA analysis
• Course of action comparison – Com-

pares advantages and disadvantages of
each as it relates to enemy use of weap-

ons of mass destruction and our utilization of attached chemical assets.

• COA recommendation – The COA
that is least affected by enemy WMD
use, and chemical assets can best support.
The NBC estimate must be complete
by the end of COA analysis (wargame).
One of the best ways to ensure the
CHEMO is integrated is to ensure his
involvement in COA development and
analysis. This uses your CHEMO’s
technical expertise and ensures staff
integration. For example:

• S2 and CHEMO – Refine templated
WMD targets.
• S3 and CHEMO – Ensure clear
task/purpose and expedient task organization of chemical assets.
• S4 and CHEMO – Ensure detailed
plan in place to support logistical requirements of decontamination operations.
• Fire Support Officer and CHEMO –
Develop a smoke plan that incorporates
artillery and mechanical smoke that
best supports the mission.
We need to take a closer look at
what we specifically expect from your
CHEMO’s recommendation at the end
of COA analysis. His recommendation
should include the following details:

• Chemical asset mission priorities
ensure there is a clear task and purpose
for chemical elements prior to COA
analysis, and that the task and purpose
best support the chosen COA.
• Identify critical anticipated enemy
NBC and smoke actions, both friendly
and enemy, and ensure there is a
planned counteraction.
• Ensure our planned task organization best supports our chemical assets
task and purpose.
• Critical task (and purpose) for subordinate units. (This may not just be a
chemical asset. For example a company
team may be tasked to provide security
to a smoke platoon until they are in
position to begin smoke operations.)
• NBC recon, decontamination and
smoke graphic control measures in order to ensure clarity to supporting and
supported elements. For example, the
smoke platoon has to know what box
on the ground they are to cover with
smoke, and the company team and engineers working in that smoke must
understand the planned smoke coverage

ARMOR — September-October 2001

so they can include that in their planning process.

• MOPP levels must also be considered. MOPP level 2 for an entire brigade may not be the answer. Infantry
on a 10 km road march may need to be
at MOPP level 0. A tank may need to
be buttoned up with their overpressure
system on while in MOPP level 2, and
systems lacking overpressure may need
to be in MOPP level 4, when going
through terrain where a chemical strike
has been templated. MOPP analysis
needs more attention by the S2, S3 and
CHEMO than we typically see given at
the NTC.
• Assumed risks need to be made
clear to the commander. Too often
commanders are unaware of risks assumed by the staff.
The NBC estimate format found in
FM 3-101, Chemical Staffs and Units,
D-4, gives your CHEMO a clear and
concise format that will allow him to
contribute during the MDMP. It also
provides focus to Annex J (NBC Annex) in your operations order (OPORD).
When the CHEMO is involved in the
entire MDMP, the final step of orders
production should simply be a matter of
cutting and pasting known information
into the proper format IAW with FM
101-5, Chemical Staffs and Units, p. H56.
Your CHEMO in Rehearsals
FM 101-5, p. G-9, states a rehearsal
allows participants to visualize and
synchronize the concept of operation.
Incorporation of your CHEMO and
chemical asset leadership is just as
critical to mission success as the integration of any other battlefield operating system. Another technique is to
ensure the CHEMO’s key points have
been incorporated into the S3, S2, FSO,
and chemical unit leadership’s briefs.
This can be successful if the proper
staff interaction has conducted throughout the MDMP. The OPORD brief and
rehearsal are the only way your subordinate commanders will truly understand how to protect themselves from
enemy WMD use, and how attached
chemical assets will help them to stay
alive and accomplish their mission.
Your Chemical Officer During
Execution
If your CHEMO is not involved in the
MDMP during execution, he should be
keeping a running estimate. (If he is not

available due to ongoing MDMP, his
NBC NCO can keep the running estimate). A staff estimate consists of facts,
events, and conclusions (based on current or anticipated situations) and recommendations on how available resources are best used and what additional resources are required (FM 1015, p. 4-4).
As the first paragraph changes, you
expect your S2 to tell you what the
enemy will do next, the S3 to explain
what our counteraction will be, and the
FSO to be ready to support that plan
with timely and accurate fires. But we
often do not integrate all of our combat
multipliers, to include chemical assets.
If the enemy does not use his persistent chemical munitions where they
were templated to be used, your CHEMO
may recommend refocusing NBC recon, moving decon assets to a different
decontamination point, and raising the
MOPP level (and/or buttoning up) different units than were planned. Inserting your CHEMO into the MDMP is
the place to start, but demanding that
your NBC section remains situationally
aware is essential to maintain your
combat power in an NBC environment.
You must create the conditions for
your NBC section to succeed during
execution. The CHEMO can still serve
as a battle captain, plans officer, or
other roles within the Tactical Operations Center. But there must be established systems for allowing the CHEMO
to maintain situational awareness and
be available to make recommendations
through the S3 or XO to the commander.
Another technique to consider is splitting your CHEMO and chemical NCO.
Either by putting them on different
shifts to ensure 24-hour coverage, or
placing one with the TOC and the other
with the TAC. This will facilitate the
availability of NBC specialists at critical times during your operations.
What You Owe Attached Chemical Asset Leadership
You must meet the chemical company
commander or platoon leader half way
when they are integrating themselves
into your task force. Although your
CHEMO should be the point man for
this coordination, your job is not simply to provide quality assurance. Chemical leadership must receive WARNOs,
be present for the OPORD brief, receive relevant graphics (SITEMP, ma-

ARMOR — September-October 2001

neuver, combat service support at a
minimum), as well as a clear task and
purpose.
Remember that no one in your command knows how to use these assets
better than the young officers, NCOs,
and soldiers operating the equipment.
We have to ensure they have the tools
to formulate their plan and the opportunity to bring recommendations for the
use of their assets back to your staff.
Our Army’s doctrine, FM 3-101,
Chemical Staffs and Units, p. 4-7, states
that the supported unit commander has
only one primary responsibility, effective use of chemical assets to accomplish missions. All you need to do to
accomplish that task is to integrate your
CHEMO and chemical unit leadership
into the MDMP, allow them to contribute in the TOC at critical times during
execution to make recommendations to
the commander, and always provide a
clear task and purpose to chemical assets.
What to Expect from Company
NBC NCOs
The last task you should expect of
your NBC staff section is that they are
assisting company commanders to professionally develop company NBC
NCOs. FM 3-101, Chemical Staff and
Units, p. C-8, is the source document
for your company NBC NCO’s duties
and responsibilities. The company
NBC NCO is the specialist who will
assist his commander in preparing to
fight in an NBC environment. The
NBC NCO is also responsible for the
following:

• Ensuring NBC common task training is done to standard.
• Integrating NBC collective tasks
into unit training.
• Integrating NBC as a condition for
performance of METL tasks.
• Maintaining chemical
equipment status.

defense

• NBC warning and reporting.
• Advising his commander on NBC

avoidance, protective posture, Flame
Field Expedient use, decontamination
and smoke operations.
Your CHEMO is not doing his job if
he is not assisting the chain of command in professionally developing
these junior NCOs.

19

Chemical Assets
from Page 19
Conclusion
Looking at the example in the beginning of the article, the enemy used
non-persistent and persistent chemical
agents on the battlefield. Your unit
must be ready to fight with NBC as a
condition of the battlefield.
The trends we see at the NTC are our
staffs’ failure to template chemical
weapons use, then focus NBC recon
and decon assets on the most dangerous
or most likely templated target, smoke
plans that are poorly developed and do
not integrate artillery and mechanized
smoke, and no detailed decon planning.
Reversing these trends requires proper
staff integration from the beginning of
the MDMP through reconsolidating/
reorganization. You should expect your
CHEMO to aggressively pursue his role
in the MDMP, but the S3 or XO must
also be aware of what to expect from
their CHEMO in order to assist in his
professional development. The bottom
line is this: training and integrating your
CHEMO will help you to maximize
combat power and accomplish your
mission.
CPT Thomas A. Duncan II received his commission in 1991 from
the University of Northern Iowa
ROTC program after enlisted service in the Iowa Army National
Guard. He has served as a battalion
chemical officer, headquarters battery executive officer, and chemical
company platoon leader and executive officer in the 25th Infantry Division. He was the assistant secretary
of the general staff and commander
of a chemical detachment while at
Headquarters, V Corps, and commanded a heavy divisional chemical
company while serving in 1st AD. At
the National Training Center, he
served as an observer/controller,
NBC trainer for the Armor and Cavalry Training Team, and as the
Chemical Company trainer. A graduate of the Officer Basic Course,
Ranger School, Airborne School, Air
Assault School, Chemical Officer
Advanced Course, and CAS3, he is
currently assigned to Fort Leonard
Wood as an SGI for the Chemical
Captain’s Career Course.

20

Plow Platoon from Page 13
Reduction. (Figure 5) The #3 and #4
plow tanks drop their plows 50-80 meters from the edge of the minefield (due
to the standoff range and limited range
of the AVLM). Once everybody within
the safety range of the AVLM is “buttoned up,” the AVLM fires the rocket
and detonates the line charge that clears
the lane of mines. Once the lane is
detonated, the #3 tank and #4 tank proceed to clear the lane. If necessary, the
plow tanks need to be prepared to stop
and allow the AVLM to fire another
rocket (if the minefield is over 100m in
depth). Once the lane is cleared, the #2
tank provides security (far side) should
the #3 and #4 tank become NMC.
Upon completion of the breach mission, the tank plow platoon conducts
link up with the follow-on company/
team (Figure 6). It is the responsibility
of the plow tank platoon leader to ensure FM commo has been established
between the plow platoon and the mech
or tank company/team after the breach.
(*According to the TF playbook _/__
IN is the team that the plow platoon is
attached to once the breach has been
completed and the task force continues
the attack.)
FASCAM Re-Seed
While B/317 EN conducts the breach,
the #2 tank must be prepared to clear a
FASCAM re-seed. On order, the #2
tank advances from the overwatch position to clear a lane through the FASCAM minefield. CDR, TM BULLDOG
will specify which lane to clear.

Upon completion of lane proofing, the
sapper squads begin marking the lane
entrance and exit points (see the 2-69
Armor Battalion TACSOP for marking
identification). Violet smoke marks the
breach entrance. Once the lanes are
cleared, the lead elements continue to
attack.
The author would like to thank Mr.
Alex Spencer (late of 3 Pl, D/2-69 AR
Bn) for being first through the breach
and LTC David Styles for giving us his
guidance during planning and his patience during execution.
CPT P.A. Callahan enlisted in the
infantry as an 11M in 1988 and was
assigned to 3d Bde, 3AD, Friedberg,
Germany. After finishing his degree
and being commissioned as a chemical officer from Georgetown University, he was assigned to 3d Sqdn, 3d
ACR in 1993. In 1994, he branch transferred to armor and served as a tank
platoon leader and rear detachment
S3 when the regiment moved to Ft.
Carson in 1996. After attending the
advanced course, he was assigned
to 3d Bde, 3D ID (M) serving as the
assistant brigade ops officer; S4, 269 AR Bn; commander, D/2-69 AR
Bn; and commander, HHC/2-69 AR
Bn. He is a graduate of the Airborne,
Air Assault, BMO, and TCCC (M1A1)
courses. Currently, he is the U.S.
liaison officer to the Royal Military
Academy Sandhurst.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

The Secret Museum at Kubinka:
This Russian museum’s armor collection
Includes most of Nazi Germany’s WWII tanks
And even some U.S.-made Cold War “defectors”
by James M. Warford

In 1936, a secret Russian armored vehicle testing facility was established at
Kubinka, a large site approximately 60
kms west of Moscow. Over the years,
this facility has been used for the testing of both new armored vehicle designs intended for the Russian Army, as
well as captured war trophies dating
back to World War II.
Since this facility is also the home of
the Russian Scientific Research Institute for Armored Vehicle Technology
(NIIBT), most of the attention directed
at Kubinka focused on former Soviet
and Russian armored vehicles. In recent
years, however, the focus of attention
broadened when it was revealed that
Kubinka also includes a massive collection of foreign armor, a collection
described by Russian sources as the
“biggest in the world,” totaling 290
vehicles. This collection includes several modern U.S. MBTs like the M46,
M48, and M60. We have also begun to
learn how these U.S. vehicles came into
Russian hands during the Cold War.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the
armored vehicle collection housed and
maintained at Kubinka’s Military Historical Museum of Armored Vehicles
and Weaponry (officially established in
1972), was first revealed to the public.
Since then, the museum has gradually
become more accessible to Russian
citizens and visiting foreigners. The
armored vehicle collection is primarily
housed in nine large buildings or sheds
that resemble open-bay maintenance
facilities, without the large bay doors.
Each building contains approximately
30 well-maintained vehicles parked
side-by-side. The building contents or
“themes” in most cases have been confirmed by western visitors and are as
follows: Building 1 houses Soviet/
Russian heavy tanks. Building 2 contains Soviet/Russian medium tanks and

Building 3 Soviet/Russian light tanks.
A fourth building is devoted to Soviet/Russian armored cars. Buildings 5,
6, and 7 house foreign armor, including
a collection of German armored vehicles, circa 1941-1945 in Building 5,
and other foreign armored vehicles in
the remaining two buildings.

the end of World War II to prevent
them from being captured by the advancing Russian Army. According to
the available information, the Russians
managed to combine the two damaged
prototypes, along with parts of six other
partially-completed vehicles, to build the
Maus currently on display at Kubinka.

Building No. 8, on the other hand, is
more mysterious and some sources
report that it is still not open to visitors.
But Building No. 9, also closed to foreigners for many years, has just recently been explored and includes a
variety of rarely seen Soviet/Russian
armored vehicles. Interestingly enough,
Building 9 is much less well maintained than the other buildings and
clearly hasn’t been intended for foreign
visitors. A few of the relatively modern
vehicles in this building include: the
Object 219A T-80 tank variant, which
was standardized as the rarely seen T80A Main Battle Tank (MBT), the Object 219RD early diesel-powered T80B MBT prototype, and the Zhalo-S
(“Sting-S”) tank destroyer prototype
based on the BTR-70 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

Unlike the German armored vehicles
from World War II, many other foreign
vehicles in the Kubinka collection are
rarely photographed and have only
been seen by visitors. This lack of photographic evidence has historically
been characteristic of the U.S. armored
vehicles at Kubinka. While the museum
currently includes 21 U.S. vehicles, the
post-World War II U.S. tanks have
been virtually unseen in the west until
now. The photographs of the U.S. M46
Patton Medium Tank, M48A3 Patton
MBT, M60A1 MBT, and the Israeli
Magach 4 MBT (a modified U.S.
M48A3) are very rare and have been
used here with permission. Although
very limited, the available information
regarding each of these tanks and how
they eventually found their way to
Kubinka is included below.

Since information regarding the museum’s collection of armored vehicles
first started to reach the west, its comprehensive representation of Soviet/
Russian tank development has received
the most attention. Among the armored
vehicles from 13 different foreign countries, the most impressive is the complete collection of German armored
vehicles from World War II, unique in
that it includes the sole surviving German Maus heavy tank. The story explaining how the massive Maus found
its way to the museum at Kubinka is
still unconfirmed. Reportedly, the two
working prototypes of the Maus at the
German Kummersdorf testing facility
were destroyed by German forces near

ARMOR — September-October 2001

The U.S. M46 Patton Medium Tank
was presented to the former Soviet Union by the North Korean government in
1953. Reportedly, there were originally
two M46s provided, with one being
destroyed in live-fire testing. Interestingly enough, until very recently the
foreign tanks maintained at the museum were all painted dark green. After
many years, an effort was made by the
museum staff to portray these vehicles
more realistically. One of the results of
this effort is the very colorful M46 currently on display. During the Korean
War, a UN offensive called Operation
“Ripper” was launched in March 1951.
This marked the first use of the unusual

21

U.S. M60A1

U.S. M48A2

U.S. M46

“cat” or “tiger” paint scheme that appeared through the remainder of the
Korean War. According to intelligence
reports at the time, the Chinese were
superstitious of tigers. In an attempt to
take advantage of this, several U.S.
armored units painted large cat faces on
their tanks. These paint-jobs were complete with exposed teeth and claws. In
some cases, entire tanks were painted
with tiger stripes. While this interesting
example of psychological warfare may
have actually had more of an impact on
the morale of the U.S. crews manning
the tanks than it did on the Chinese, it
did inspire the Kubinka museum staff
to display their M46 with fangs. The
paint job added to the M46 at Kubinka
is very similar to that used on the M46s
belonging to the 6th Tank Battalion,
24th Infantry Division during the Korean War. The U.S. M48A3 Patton
MBT, provided by the Vietnamese
government either during or after the
Vietnam War, is also painted with a
large animal mouth with exposed teeth
on the tank’s glacis.

ports that live-fire testing was conducted at Kubinka in 1983 involving an
M60A1 and captured Israeli M111 105mm ammunition. Reportedly, the exceptional performance of the M60A1’s
gun and the Israeli ammunition surprised and impressed the Soviets
enough to add additional glacis armor
to many of their own tanks.

this captured tank and the Magach 4 at
Kubinka are one in the same. In January 2001, the ICMIS asked Israeli officials to request that an upcoming trip
by the Israeli President to Russia include an examination of the Magach 4
at the museum. Reportedly, the Israeli
tank (with turret serial number 94866
and hull serial number 817581) arrived
at Kubinka still containing human remains, personal belongings, and documents belonging to the tank’s crew.

The U.S. M60A1 MBT at Kubinka
was hand-delivered to the Soviets by an
Iranian defector. Reportedly, Iran originally acquired over 400 M60A1s before the fall of the Shah in 1979. The
Soviets were, however, well aware of
the M60A1 and its capabilities before
its arrival in the Soviet Union. In fact,
the M60A1’s 105mm main gun and
very effective armor protection were
already considered a big problem for
the Soviet Ground Forces at the time.
The acquisition of the M60A1, however, did provide the Soviets their first
opportunity to examine the tank closeup. While the available information
continues to support Iran as the source
for the single M60A1 on display at Kubinka, there are other unconfirmed reports that another M60A1 was supplied
to the Soviets from Syria in 1983. This
tank was apparently damaged in combat in 1982 and was delivered in poor
condition. Additionally, there are re-

22

The Israeli Magach 4 MBT (also
known as the “Patton 105”) on display
at Kubinka started life as a U.S.
M48A3 that was upgraded in Israel.
These M48A3s were fitted with the
105mm main gun, a 750 hp diesel engine, and a new low-profile commander’s cupola. The Magach 4 was
considered the backbone of the Israeli
armored forces in the War of Attrition,
the Yom Kippur War, and the Peace for
Galilee Operation. The Kubinka Museum’s Magach 4 was provided by the
Syrian government in 1982/1983. This
Magach 4 is also fitted with Israeli
“Blazer” Explosive Reactive Armor
(ERA) that the Israelis first used in
1982. While certainly decommissioned
for safety purposes in the museum, the
displayed tank provides a good example of the extensive array of ERA
“bricks” fitted to the tank for combat
operations.
The confirmed existence of this particular Magach 4 at Kubinka is important for another reason as well. During
the Peace for Galilee Operation in
1982, a Magach 4 was captured by Syrian forces during the battle of Sultan
Yacoub. On June 11, 1982, at the end
of hostilities, a “victory parade” was
held in Damascus, Syria, that included
a captured Israeli Magach 4 flying Syrian and Palestinian flags. Several
sources reported that the tank’s Israeli
crew was also on display during the
parade. Three of these crewmen are
now listed as MIA by the Israeli government. According to the International
Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers
(ICMIS), there is reason to believe that

Photos by Roman Bazalevsky

Over the years, there have been a
small number of people in the west
who were aware of Kubinka and the
potential intelligence bonanza it represented. Recent events around the world
and in Russia have led to the gradual
lifting of some of the secrecy surrounding the facility and the museum. For
those who have studied the available
information and for those lucky enough
to visit the museum, one thing is clear:
this first look at these U.S. tanks displayed at Kubinka is just the beginning.
Only time will tell what other secrets
Kubinka continues to keep behind
closed doors.
James M. Warford was commissioned in Armor in 1979 as a
Distinguished Military Graduate
from the University of Santa
Clara, Santa Clara, California. A
frequent contributor to ARMOR,
Mr. Warford has held a variety of
Armor and Cavalry assignments,
ranging from tank platoon leader
to brigade S3, and has served as
a tactics instructor both at Fort
Knox, Ky. for AOAC and at Fort
Leavenworth, Kan. for CGSC.
Upon retirement in September
1996, he was awarded the Silver
Medallion of the Order of Saint
George. He is currently a training
developer in the Kansas City
area.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

A Second Look

An Easy Way to Cut the Cost
of Live-Fire Gunnery Evaluation
by Dr. Joseph D. Hagman
In the 1999 March-April issue of ARMOR,1 Dr. Monte Smith and I proposed
a strategy for freeing up about 20% of
the ammunition, range time, and operational tempo (OPTEMPO) resources
typically spent on Tank Table VIII
(TTVIII). The strategy did so by enabling armor unit commanders to predict
which of their crews would, and would
not, first-run qualify (Q1) — before
they had fired all ten engagements.
Predictions were based on cutoff scores
against which crew performance was
compared after each engagement was
fired. The fewer the number of engagements that needed to be fired before a prediction could be made, the
greater the resource savings would be.
Soon after we developed the strategy,
the TTVIII engagements used to derive
its predictions were changed.2 Consequently, the cutoff scores have had to
be updated and the strategy revised
accordingly. In reading on, you’ll find
out how the revised strategy works,
what the new cutoff scores are, and how
much can be saved by using this strategy. The analysis is based on TTVIII
data collected from 171 M1A2 tank
crews stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
How the Revised Strategy Works
Like the initial strategy, the revised
version uses cutoff scores to predict
crew qualification status as early into
the TTVIII engagement firing sequence
as possible. These predictions are then
used to qualify crews predicted to fire
700 or more, as well as to send predicted nonqualifiers back for remedial
training — two actions that until now
have had to await the firing of all ten
engagements.

time. Crews scoring in between these
values would go on to fire the next engagement.
The resulting predictions will apply to
whatever set of ten TTVIII engagements are fired, just as long as the selection and firing order of engagements
are not based on their expected difficulty. Thus, neither the training program leading up to TTVIII firing, nor
the table’s engagement scenario itself
need to be modified for the predictions
to hold up.
Implementing the Strategy
The flowchart in Figure 1 shows one
way the proposed strategy might be
implemented in the unit using the cutoff scores in Table 1. All crews would
begin TTVIII by firing the first two of
the ten scheduled engagements. Those
scoring lower than 114 would be pulled
from the range and given remedial
training, perhaps on the Conduct-ofFire Trainer (COFT) or Abrams FullCrew Interactive Simulation Trainer
(AFIST). Following remediation, they
would be given one rerun attempt,
starting at the top with the first two
engagements.
First-run crews scoring 166 or higher
after the first two engagements would
be awarded early qualification (Q1e);
those scoring from 114 to 165 would
go on to the third engagement. Crews
scoring lower than 172 after three engagements would undergo remediation
before beginning their rerun from the

Table 1 shows the new cutoff score
values associated with the firing of
from two to nine engagements. Crews
scoring lower than the values listed in
the middle column would be predicted
to first-run qualify no more than 5% of
the time, if they were to go ahead and
fire all ten engagements. Those scoring
equal to, or higher than, the values
listed in the right column would be
predicted to Q1 at least 95% of the

ARMOR — September-October 2001

top. Rerun crews would be evaluated as
if they were firing their first run, except
that predictions would now apply to Q2
rather than Q1. Those predicted to need
remediation as a result of low scores on
their rerun would receive an unqualified rating. First-run crews scoring 248
or higher after three engagements
would be awarded early qualification;
those scoring between 172 and 247
would go on to the fourth engagement,
and so on.
Of course, other implementation approaches are possible. A commander
might, for example, want to delay making any predictions until after his crews
have fired at least five engagements.
While the cutoff scores will apply under either implementation approach, the
former is likely to be more cost effective.
What’s the Payoff?
Generally speaking, the earlier in the
TTVIII engagement firing sequence
that predictions can be made, the greater the resource savings will be. Assuming that each engagement accounts for
roughly 10% of the total resources
spent on TTVIII, crews predicted to Q1
after only two engagements would save
about 80% of the resources needed to
fire all ten. Those predicted to Q1 after
three engagements would save about
70%, and so on.
Resources can be saved by predicted
Q1 crews as well as by those predicted
to need remediation. Using the current

# of
Engagements Fired

Remediation Cutoff
Scores (<)

Q1 Cutoff Scores (>)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

114
172
234
299
363
435
511
587*

166
248
326
401
477
545
609
673

*mathematically eliminated
Table 1. Cutoff Scores For Remediation and Q1 Predictions

23

# of Engagements
Fired

tank crew sample, we calculated (a) the
number of crews in a 44-crew battalion
that would be predicted to Q1 after
each engagement, and (b) the predicted
number of engagements they would
save. As shown in Table 2, the five
crews in the current sample predicted to
Q1 after two engagements would save a
total of 40 engagements (5 crews x 8
engagements = 40), the three crews predicted to Q1 after three engagements
would save 21 engagements, and so on,
with 88 engagements saved in all by
the entire battalion. Thus, on predicted
Q1 crews alone, 20% (88/440) of an
armor battalion’s first-run engagements
could be saved merely by applying the
proposed evaluation strategy.
Battalion resources should also be
saved in cases of crews predicted to
need remedial training simply because
they can be identified before they’ve
fired all ten engagements. Just exactly
how much savings, however, would
depend on how many rerun engagements are fired. Having crews start
their reruns from the top, and then reapplying the cutoff-score values,
should help to maximize the savings on
the rerun attempt. Thus, in general,
reducing the number of engagements
fired through early prediction of which
crews will, and which won’t, first-run
qualify should translate into less range
time, fewer rounds, and reduced OPTEMPO costs each year on TTVIII.

Predicted # of
Early Q1 Crews

Predicted # of
Engagements Saved

2

5

40

3

3

21

4

1

6

5

1

5

6

1

4

7

1

3

8

3

6

9

3

3

Total: 18
Total: 88
Table 2. Predicted # of engagements saved by an armor battalion
on the first run of TTVIII

Final Thoughts
The updated strategy proposed here
shows that the cost of crew-level tank
gunnery evaluation can indeed be cut
considerably by simply changing the
content of TTVIII, to include fewer
engagements, as well its structure, to
include performance cutoff scores or
“gates” to support early qualification
and remediation decisions. The resulting savings can be used to offset any
future resource cuts, be pocketed, or be
used for other purposes, such as platoon-level gunnery.
As of now, this strategy applies only
to Active Component (AC) tank crews
because no Reserve Component (RC)
crews were included in the current
analyses. Although the specific cutoff
score values for early qualification and
remediation decisions, as well as the
size of expected cost cuts, may change
somewhat from those reported here,

we’ve already shown that the use of
cutoff scores for prediction purposes
works for the RC with the old TTVIII
engagements.3 So, there appears to be
little reason why it won’t work with the
new engagements. We’ll just have to
wait and see how well.
In the meantime, more efficient AC
tank gunnery evaluation on TTVIII is
possible by evaluating crew performance as each engagement is fired, rather
than waiting until the firing of all ten.
In today’s do-more-with-less environment, more efficient ways are needed
for training and evaluating tank gunnery. The strategy proposed here is an
easy, albeit controversial, way of doing
so that we think will work without
jeopardizing the purpose and results of
the TTVIII evaluation process.
We’d like to hear your thoughts. You
can reach us by regular mail at the U.S.
Army Research Institute, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725, by telephone at (208) 334-9390, or by e-mail
at Hagman@ari.army.mil.
Notes

Fire Two Engagements

1Hagman, J.D. and Smith, M.D., “How the
Guard Could Cut Costs on Table VIII Without
Really Trying,” ARMOR, March-April 1999, pp.
47-48.

Remedial Training

114 >

Score
?

> 166

Award Early Qualification (Q1e)
(or Q2 if rerun)

2Department of the Army, FM 17-12-1-2, Tank
Gunnery Training (Abrams), 1998, Washington,
D.C.
3Hagman

and Smith.

Fire Third Engagement

172 >

Score
?

> 248

Fire Fourth Engagement, etc.
Fire Fourth Engagement, etc.

Figure 1. Flowchart of TTVIII engagement sequence.

24

Dr. Joseph D. Hagman is a senior
research psychologist at the U.S.
Army Research Institute’s field office at Gowen Field, Idaho. He received a Ph.D. in engineering psychology from New Mexico State
University. His research interests
are in human learning and memory,
and more recently, in soldier performance on armor-related simulation and training devices.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

BUSTING THE BARRICADES:

How Armor Was Employed
In the Urban Battle of Seoul
by Captain Matthew H. Fath

As noted in a recent Army Times article entitled “Urban Crisis,” few armor
or mechanized infantry units — and not
one active duty armor or mechanized
infantry unit — has yet trained or was
scheduled to train at the Zussman Village Mounted Urban Combat Training
Site at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
This is a startling fact, considering
that the facility cost over 15 million
dollars to build and is touted as the
premier urban warfare training center
for armor units.1 This apparent lack of
interest by the heavy force community,
coupled with the light infantry’s increasing reliance on “precision” urban
warfare, is a disturbing trend. By disregarding the likelihood of future battles
in urban terrain, many heavy units, with
their emphasis on desert or rural warfare, allow the special operations and
elite light infantry units to write the
Army’s future urban warfare doctrine.
For example, a cursory reading of doctrinal proposals or combat training center articles demonstrates that the correct
training emphasis of conventional U.S.
Army units should be on proper roomclearing techniques and well-aimed
rifle fire.2 Moreover, the focal point for
“precision” MOUT adherents seems to
be on aggressive light infantry forces,
to the neglect of the combined arms
team. Disregarding both the very nature
of urban warfare and history’s past
urban battles, “precision” MOUT supporters have wrongly implied that future urban fights will require less firepower.
General Douglas MacArthur once
stated that it is the study of military
history that brings to light “those fundamental principles, and their combinations and applications, which, in the
past, have been productive of success.”3
An examination of the Battle of Seoul
during September 25-28, 1950, refutes

the “precision” MOUT theory and demands that armor and mechanized
leaders claim their rightful place at the
table of doctrinal discussions. Specifically, the Battle of Seoul demonstrates
that armor, with its ability to survive on
the battlefield and produce large, concentrated amounts of firepower, was an
integral component of the combined
arms team. During X Corps’s “Battle of
the Barricades,” Marine and Army tactics stressed the punching power of
tanks as a decisive and necessary complement to the rifleman. Tanks, in the
role of mobile assault guns, reinforced
the rifle companies with destructive
and suppressive fires to overcome the
North Korean People’s Army’s (NKPA)
strongpoint defenses.Additionally, they
provided commanders flexibility by
shifting tanks to decisive points on the
battlefield. As a veteran of the fighting
in Seoul, Private First Class Lee Berger
of E Company, 2d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, stated, “Thank God we
had tanks with us. Without them, we’d
still be fighting there.”4
Given the military, psychological, and
political importance of Seoul to both
the UN (United Nations) and NKPA
forces, it is hardly surprising that the
city would become a battleground.
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, was
also an important logistics node. General MacArthur believed that the recapture of Seoul was an important part of
Operation Chromite (The Inchon-Seoul
Campaign) and stated:
“By seizing Seoul, I would completely
paralyze the enemy’s supply system —
coming and going. This in turn will
paralyze the fighting power of the
troops that now face Walker. Without
munitions and food they will soon be
helpless and disorganized, and can be
easily overpowered by our smaller but
well supplied forces.”5

ARMOR — September-October 2001

MacArthur also believed that the recapture of Seoul would undermine the
morale of the NKPA and boost the morale of the ROK forces. Author Clay
Blair in The Forgotten War: America in
Korea, 1950-1953, noted that MacArthur placed great emphasis on the psychological benefits of capturing Seoul.
MacArthur professed that Seoul’s capture would shock and demoralize the
North Korean government and armed
forces.6
For the North Koreans, Seoul was the
logistical hub for its forces south of the
Imjin River, a lifeline of sorts. As author James Stokesbury, in his work A
Short History of the Korean War,
stated, “The vast majority of the support for the Communist offensive,
therefore, funneled through the fairly
narrow corridor in and around the capital city.”7
Two important factors in understanding the need for armor support during
the Battle of Seoul center on the nature
of the city’s urban terrain and the
NKPA defenses. In 1950, Seoul had a
population of nearly two million people. The city proper was surrounded by
hill masses, mostly rural villages of
huts. However, its core contained modern office buildings, residential structures, and ancient palaces. Many of the
buildings were solidly constructed and
structurally sound. Wide arterial boulevards crisscrossed the city, and it was
these avenues of approach that would
become the focal point for NKPA
strongpoints.8 One such major road was
Ma Po Boulevard. General Edwin H.
Simmons, then a weapons company
commander in the 3rd Battalion, 1st
Marine Regiment, described Ma Po
Boulevard as a “solidly built-up street,
mostly two- and three-story structures
of stucco and masonry construction,
and occasional more impressive build-

25

ings — churches, hospitals, and so on
— often enclosed with a walled compound.”9
In charge of the NKPA defense of
Seoul was Major General Wol Ki
Chan. Chan’s initial plan was to concentrate his forces on the hills surrounding Seoul and in the city itself.
However, after the 32d Infantry Regiment of 7th Infantry Division seized
South Mountain on the 25th of September, Chan believed that the city was
lost and withdrew many of his units.
Nevertheless, he left a sizeable force to
defend Seoul’s city core, in an effort to
delay and attrit X Corps forces. Chan
hoped that this delaying action would
also allow NKPA units south of Seoul
to withdraw north and avoid being
smashed between X Corps and Eighth
Army.10
Opposing UN forces were an amalgamation of various NKPA units under
the newly formed 31st Rifle Division or
Seoul City Regiment, numbering approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men. The
31st Rifle Division consisted of units
from the 25th NKPA Separate Infantry
Brigade, 18th NKPA Rifle Division,
42d NKPA Tank Regiment, 19th
NKPA Anti Tank Regiment, 513th
NKPA Artillery Regiment, 10th NKPA
Railroad Regiment, and the 36th Battalion, 111th NKPA Security Regiment.11
The NKPA defenders also employed a
large majority of Seoul’s inhabitants as
forced labor to construct their barricades.12
To defend the nucleus of Seoul, the
NKPA developed a potentially deadly
defensive scheme. On the outer edges
of the city core, the NKPA employed
ambushes and sniper teams in order to
attrit and disrupt Marine or Army attacks. Photojournalist David Douglas
Duncan, with A Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, testified to
the frustrating effects of these ambushes in his book This Is War: A
Photo-Narrative of the Korean War. He
stated, “Other Reds, armed with rapid
fire burp guns and hiding behind the
gutter walls along the way, squirted

26

quick bursts at the steadily pushing
Marines — then melted away.”13

was with D Company, 2d Battalion, 1st
Marine Regiment, stated:

After the ambushes had taken some
toll on the attackers, the NKPA hoped
that their series of successive strongpoint defenses or barricades would destroy them. Barricades were established
every 400 to 600 yards. If the attacker
could not be halted, the NKPA’s defensive depth would allow their defenders
to break contact, withdraw, and then
occupy a supplemental or alternate barricade.14 The major weakness of the
NKPA’s defense was that many strongpoints were isolated and lacked mutual
support. As author Bevin Alexander
explained in his book Korea: The First
War We Lost, “Thus the Americans
were able to reduce each barricade independently with no fear that the enemy could develop a coordinated counterattack or pose any threat to possession of the city.”15

“In actions of this type there can be no
flanking of a position — only so many
men can get into the fight. The width of
the street, available cover and strength
of the enemy fire dictate the number of
troops that can be brought to bear on
any one position… The barricade is a
separate battle all to itself.”16

Despite the NKPA’s lack of an overall coherent defensive plan, at the
small unit level each barricade was
individually formidable and deadly to
the potential attacker. These barricades were essentially fortified islands. As author Robert Tallent, who

Each barricade was centered on a
street intersection. The entire width of
the street was blocked with a wall constructed of rice bags filled with earth.
The barricade was generally eight feet
high and approximately six feet deep,
making it impervious to machine gun
or small arms fire. Many barricades
were reinforced with various materials
such as overturned trolley cars, automobiles, barrels, streetcar rails, or other
debris. In front of each barricade were
rows of antitank mines. Covering this
kill zone were interlocking fires from
towed 45mm antitank guns, individual
T-34 tanks or SU 76 self-propelled
guns, antitank rifles, and Maxim heavy
machine guns.17
Each barricade was also tied into adjacent buildings. NKPA soldiers occu-

ARMOR — September-October 2001

pied defensive fighting positions inside
the buildings and fired from doors and
windows.18 These positions offered
excellent cover and concealment and
degraded the attacker’s target acquisition. Snipers also fired from rooftops.
Staff Sergeant Lee Bergee of E Company, 2d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, stated that, “It seemed that every
building in Seoul housed an enemy
sniper.”19 Each barricade was also supported with mortars and artillery fires,
which were often registered in front of
the enemy barricades. For extra defense
against tanks, the NKPA also resorted
to suicide detachments armed with
satchel charges.20
Against these defenses, the X Corps
commander, Major General Edward
Almond, ordered General Oliver P.
Smith’s 1st Marine Division to seize
Seoul. Smith planned a multi-pronged
advance that was centered on major
roads in Seoul, in an effort to capture
the city quickly.21 Based on the limited
intelligence of NKPA defenses in
Seoul, the operation was essentially an
urban movement to contact. On September 25, the 1st Marine Division
began its attack on Seoul. In order to
support the 1st Marine Division’s at-

tack and isolate the city from the south,
the 32d Infantry Regiment of the 7th
Infantry Division seized South Mountain and cleared the surrounding urban
area.22
Marine Regimental Combat Team
One, consisting of the 1st Marine
Regiment and the 2d Korean Marine
Corps Battalion, attacked in zone (its
“zone of action” approximately one
mile to one and half miles wide with a
final objective of six miles in depth —
the high ground near the northeastern
outskirts of Seoul) oriented on the Ma
Po Boulevard. In RCT-1’s zone were
Seoul’s main business and hotel section; the main Seoul railroad station;
the French, American, and Russian
consulates; City Hall; the Duk Soo Palace; and the Museum of Art.23 To give
the reader a flavor of the scope of RCT1’s mission, General Edwin Simmons
stated that their attack was analogous to
“moving up Pennsylvania Avenue to
capture the Capitol, taking Union Station along the way.”24
Regimental Combat Team Five, consisting of the 5th Marine Regiment and
the 1st Korean Marine Corps Battalion,
attacked in zone (its “zone of action”

ARMOR — September-October 2001

also approximately one to one and a
half miles wide, with a final objective
of six miles in depth — the high ground
overlooking the Seoul-Uijongbu Road)
oriented towards the northwestern part
of the city, which included the Government House, Sodaemun Prison,
Changdok Palace, and the Royal Gardens. Regimental Combat Team Seven,
consisting of the 7th Marine Regiment,
the 1st Marine Recon Company, and
the 5th Korean Marine Corps Battalion,
was originally ordered to protect the
division’s left flank and seize the high
ground astride the Seoul-Kaesong Road
to the northwest of Seoul in order to
block enemy escape routes.25 However,
after Smith realized the intensity of the
fighting in Seoul, he reoriented RCT-7s
axis to the south down the KaesongSeoul highway and ordered them to
attack abreast of RCT-1.26
Despite MacArthur’s premature pronouncement of the city’s liberation on
September 26, the seizure of Seoul did
not come quickly. After defeating a
NKPA armored counterattack during
the night of September 25, the Marine
forces soon became bogged down in a
street-by-street war. As Colonel Lewis
“Chesty” Puller, the commander of the

27

1st Marine Regiment stated, “Progress
was agonizingly slow.”27 Sometimes,
the Marine regiments averaged a total
of 1,200 to 2,000 yards a day.28 This was
due to the fact that the lethal NKPA
traps produced murderous amounts of
fire and posed significant challenges
for the Marine or Army attackers. They
also had the propensity to inflict large
numbers of casualties. Private First
Class Jack Wright of G Company, 3rd
Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, remarked that his company nicknamed
one intersection “Blood and Bones
29
Corner.” Army Signal Corps Lieutenant Robert Strickland, who was with
the Marines in Seoul, stated:
“The air was whipping with everything from flying stones to big antitank
shells… Right after this, we got so
much fire of all kinds that I lost count.
There was more mortar shells, more
antitank stuff, and more small-arms
fire, and then it started all over again. I
have seen a lot of men get hit in this
war and in World War II, but I think I
have never seen so many men get hit so
fast in such a small area.”30
Given the nature of the intense fighting described above, it becomes abundantly clear that the “sugar-coated version” of precision MOUT could not
have possibly overcome these defenses.31
Instead, in order to breach these barricades and destroy the NKPA defenders,
the Marine and Army forces developed
a highly effective combined arms team,
in which tanks played an indispensable
role. Most UN forces quickly discovered that rifle or machine guns lacked
the penetrating power and punch to
overcome the hardened NKPA barricade defenses. Moreover, only the tank
proved to be effective at physically
breaching the barricade. It simply
blasted it to shreds with its main gun or
plowed through it.32
The typical tactical pattern for the Marines or Army units began with a
bombing or strafing of NKPA positions
by Marine Corsairs. Next, mortars and
artillery suppressed the enemy while a
team of infantry and armor moved into
support-by-fire positions. Tanks destroyed NKPA machine guns, tanks,
and antitank guns, while engineers
breached the minefields.
After a breach lane was created, tanks
rolled forward and demolished the barricade. Then infantry, following behind
the tanks to take advantage of their
armor protection, entered buildings and

28

completed the destruction of the enemy. On the average, this whole process took about an hour per barricade.33
Staff Sergeant Chester Bair of the
Heavy Tank Company, 32d Infantry
Regiment, which was often attached to
Marine units, praised these tactics. He
stated:
“The Marines used tanks very well.
They would use the telephone located
on the rear of each tank which talked to
the commander inside. In this way the
Marines acted as our eyes. Buttoned up
inside, depending on a periscope, our
vision was limited. Working outside in
the streets, the Marines tremendously
increased our ability to close with the
enemy and to direct our firepower.”34
The two tanks that were used by UN
forces during the Battle of Seoul were
the M-26 Pershing and the M4A3
Sherman. The M-26 Pershing was used
by the Marine Corps. Its armament was
a 90mm main gun and two .30 caliber
machine guns. The Army used the
M4A3 Sherman. Also, some Marine
units received support from the Sherman tank companies of the 7th Infantry
Division. The Sherman’s armament
consisted of a 76mm main gun and
three .30 caliber machine guns. In addition to the Pershing and Sherman tanks,
other variants, such as flame-thrower
tanks and bulldozer tanks, were also
used.35
Tanks were often rotated in order for
the attacking units to sustain the momentum of the attack and prevent many
withdrawing NKPA soldiers from bolstering the defense of the next barricade. Chester Bair stated, “As soon as
one had been eliminated, there would
be another. After a tank overran three
or four of them, another one would
replace it.
In this manner each tank could refuel,
clean its guns, receive ammo, and allow
the crew to work and do maintenance.”36 If a tank “rotation” policy
was not possible, attackers waited for
tanks to rearm and refuel before continuing on to the next barricade fight.37
One hallmark of the tank’s effectiveness was its ability to generate large
amounts of accurate and deadly firepower in a very short time. During the
destruction of one barricade by D
Company, 2d Battalion, 1st Marine
Regiment, Tallent stated that it appeared that the “tank guns went into a
rampage.”38 Tanks assisting companies
from the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment were also instrumental in de-

stroying NKPA defenses around the
railroad station and government compound.39 Often, tanks proved to be the
decisive arm when the momentum of
attacks began to stall and fire superiority needed to be regained. Duncan observed:
“From behind their barricades they
(the NKPA) started spraying endless
rounds into the station and its plaza out
in front. The Marines burrowed into the
shell holes and dared not raise their
heads, for the crack of bullets overhead
was close and constant and meant for
them. Back along the street, other Marines heard the fire, leaned dangerously

“The tanks traded
round for round with
the heavily-armed, barricaded enemy — and
chunks of armor and
bits of barricade were
blown high into the
air.”
far out from their own barricades to see
how they might relieve their buddies,
and had found no answer — when
deep, ground-shivering roars took the
problem from their shoulders… tanks,
those long-overdue tanks, growled up
across the railroad tracks, into the plaza
— and met the enemy fire head on. The
tanks traded round for round with the
heavily-armed, barricaded enemy —
and chunks of armor and bits of barricade were blown high into the air.”40
Tanks were also very effective at
quickly destroying NKPA heavy weapons and armored vehicles which, left
alone, would have cut advancing infantrymen to pieces. During a fight near
Duksoo Palace, Lieutenant Bryan J.
Cummings’s M-26 Pershing destroyed
two NKPA SU-76s and allowed the
Marines to seize the enemy barricade.41
Blair’s Sherman crew also destroyed a
NKPA T-34 in a battle in the street,
“ripping their turret completely off”
with one round.42
Attacks that were launched without
tank support often ended in failure. In
fact, many of these units had to be rescued by tanks; the presence of a few
tanks often favorably shifted the tide of
the battle towards the UN side. For
example, on September 26, a platoon

ARMOR — September-October 2001

from C Company, 32d Infantry Regiment encountered a NKPA defense in
vicinity of the Seoul City Racetrack.
Suffering heavy casualties within seconds and lacking any tank support, the
platoon established a hasty defense and
began fighting for their lives. The platoon just simply did not have enough
firepower to overcome the NKPA defenses. The platoon leader, Lieutenant
James Mortrude, wisely requested assistance from some tanks that he saw in
an adjacent sector. As author Shelby
Stanton described in his book, Ten
Corps in Korea, 1950:
“He (Lieutenant Mortrude) spotted a
trio of three tanks clanking forward to
their assistance, and dashed 25 yards
through withering enemy fire to reach
them before more casualties were inflicted on his platoon. Grabbing the external interphone system phone on the
rear of the “buttoned-up” lead tank, he
yelled directions to commence firing
immediately into the enemy-held roadway. The tanks smothered the road
berm in geysers of blackened earth as
the uninjured and walking wounded
retreated to safety.”43
The initial advance by D Company,
2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment is
another vignette that demonstrates the
vital need for tank support during the
urban fight at Seoul. Moving to conduct link-up with elements of the 5th
Marine Regiment, D Company was
punished by NKPA defenses near the
Arch of Independence, suffering heavy
casualties within minutes. D Company
was soon surrounded by NKPA counterattacks and had to establish a perimeter defense and wait for support.
The next morning, tanks smashed
through the enemy’s defenses and liberated the lost company.44
The liberation of Seoul actually occurred on September 28, when fittingly,
a flame-thrower tank destroyed that last
real NKPA defense near Kwang Who
Moon Circle.45 Seoul was ripped from
the hands of the NKPA at a high cost.
For example, the 1st Marine Division
lost 121 killed in action and 589
wounded. NKPA casualties were estimated at 4,284 dead or wounded.46 U.S.
tanks proved to be quite resilient. Not
one tank was destroyed by an NKPA
tank but several were destroyed by suicide detachments or mines.47
The use of armor during the Battle of
Seoul provides the modern military
leader with key insights on the possibilities of future urban warfare and the

need to train units to meet this challenge. The Marine and Army experience in Seoul demonstrates that armor
plays a critical role in destroying a
resolute enemy in urban battles. Armor
has the ability to rapidly destroy enemy
strongpoints and create breach holes for
the infantry assault, while using its armor protection to survive on the battlefield.
Like the Marines and the Army at
Seoul, successful future MOUT operations should be conducted with combined arms teams, with armor or infantry fighting vehicles playing a requisite
role. The current fad of believing that
infantry alone, employing “discriminatory” rifle fire and hostage rescue tactics, can overcome an urban defense
may well be a recipe for disaster. Precision MOUT techniques, while admirable and alluring in its concept of minimizing noncombatant casualties and
collateral damage, does not pass the
test of history.
Notes
1Sean D. Naylor, “Urban Crisis,” Army Times,
20 November 2000, [on-line].
2The definition of precision MOUT can be
found in the Department of the Army Field Manual 90-10-1, An Infantryman’s Guide to Combat
in Built-Up Areas (Washington, D.C.: GPO,
1993).
3John

E. Jessup and Robert W. Coakley, A
Guide to the Study and Use of Military History
(Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1998), 38.
4Donald

Knox, The Korean War, Pusan to
Chosin: An Oral History (New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1985), 293.
5William

T. James, “From Siege to Surgical:
The Evolution of Urban Combat from World War
II to the Present and Its Effect on Current Doctrine,” (M.M.A.S. thesis, United States Army
Command and General Staff College, 1998), 27.
6Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in
Korea, 1950-1953 (New York: Times Books,
1987), 231-232.
7James

L. Stokesbury, A Short History of the
Korean War (New York: William Morrow,
1988), 66.
8Roy

E. Appleman, United States Army in the
Korean War: South to the Naktong, North to the
Yalu (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of
Military History, Department of the Army, 1961),
531; Knox, 288; James, 27-28.
9Edwin H. Simmons, “The Battle For Seoul,”
address to the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious
Warfare School, 15 March 1985, [on-line],
http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/6453/seoul.html,
accessed 14 September 2000.
10G.W. Smith, “The Blinding Sand of MacArthur’s Hourglass: The Race to Seoul,” Marine

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Corps Gazette (September 2000), [on-line], accessed 7 Sep 2000; Robert E. Everson, “Standing
at the Gates of the City: Operational Level Actions and Urban Warfare,” (M.M.A.S. thesis,
School of Advanced Military Studies, United
States Army Command and General Staff College, 1995), available from the Center for Army
Lessons Learned Database (Public Access),
https://calldbpub.leavenworth.army.mil/call.html,
accessed 8 September 2000; Bevin Alexander,
Korea: The First War We Lost (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1986), 214; James, 29.
11Lynn Montross and Nicholas A. Canzona,
United States Marine Corps Operations in Korea, 1950-1953, Volume II: The Inchon-Seoul
Operation (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters,
United States Marine Corps, 1955), 325-326.
12Shelby L. Stanton, Ten Corps in Korea, 1950
(Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1996), 106.
13David D. Duncan, This Is War! A PhotoNarrative of the Korean War (Boston: Little,
Brown, and Company, 1990).
14Robert Tallent, “Street Fight in Seoul,” The
Leathernecks: An Informal History of the U.S.
Marine Corps (New York: Franklin Watts, 1963),
240-241.
15Alexander,
16Tallent,

218.

240.

17Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Victory at High Tide:
The Inchon-Seoul Campaign (New York: J.B.
Lippincott, 1968), 229; Andrew C. Geer, The
New Breed: The Story of the U.S. Marines in
Korea (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1952),
171; Simmons; Tallent, 240-241; Montross and
Canzona, 271-272; Knox, 289.
18Alexander,
19Knox,

215-216.

289.

20Montross

and Canzona, 272.

21Anthony

Harrigan, “Combat in Cities,” Military Review 46, No. 2, (May 1966): 29; Montross
and Canzona, 255-256.
22Montross
23Ibid.,

and Canzona, 273-274.

255-256; Appleman, 531.

24Simmons.
25Montross and Canzona, 255-256; Appleman,
531.
26Montross
27Ibid.,

and Canzona, 264.

272.

28Montross
29Knox,

and Canzona, 273; Heinl, 242.

292.

30Stanton,

108-109.

31George

Mordica, “Urban Combat: It’s A Dirty
Business, But Someone Has to Do It,” Center for
Army Lessons Learned Newsletter — Urban
Combat Operations: Tactics, Techniques, and
Procedures, November 1999, No. 99-16, 1-2.
Mordica coins the term “sugar-coated,” when
referring to precision or surgical MOUT.
32Tallent,

244; Heinl, 229-230.

Continued on Page 35

29

Modernizing India’s Tank Fleet
by Lieutenant Colonel Mark A. Olinger
India’s Army appears to have embarked on a major modernization effort.
The Indian Army has one million soldiers organized into five regional commands (North, West, Central, South
and East). It has separate divisional
structures to manage threats for China
and Pakistan, the former with nine
mountain divisions and the latter with
three armored and four mechanized
divisions. Nineteen infantry divisions,
15 independent brigades, and other
support units round out the current
army force structure. In response to the
Kargil crisis in the summer of 1999,
new equipment is being purchased.
While artillery fire control and mountain gear are at the top of the priority
list, the major end-item is T-90 tanks.1
Indian Main Battle Tank Fleet
It is estimated that the Indian Army
main battle tank (MBT) fleet consists
of 3,400 tanks, including those held in
reserve. These include 1,170 Vijayanta
(a British Vickers export model built
for India), 1,530 T-72M1, and 700 T54/T-55 MBTs. These are organized into 60 armored regiments, each of which
has an authorized strength of 45 MBTs.
Of the 60 regiments, it is estimated that
34 are equipped with the T-72M1 with
the remainder being equipped with the
Vijayanta. The T-54/T-55 MBTs are
held in reserve.2
The Vijayanta: In late 1950, Vickers
Defence Systems designed a new MBT
specifically for export that used the
standard 105mm L7 rifled tank gun, the
same gun that was used on the U.S.
M60 and early M1 tanks, with automotive components from the British
Chieftain MBT. Following the evaluation of competing British and German
designs to meet an Indian Army requirement for a new MBT, manufactured in India, an agreement was signed
in August 1961 between Vickers Defence Systems and the Indian government. This agreement covered building
prototypes in the United Kingdom,
supplying 90 production tanks, and
building a new tank facility at Avadi to
undertake production of the Vickers

30

Mk 1 MBT. The Indian Army calls the
tank the Vijayanta.3

decided to undertake local production
of the T-72M1s at Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi in Southern India.
The first vehicles were completed in
1987 with delivery to the Indian Army
the following year. In the Indian Army,
the T-72M1 is known as the Ajeya.6

The first two prototypes were completed in 1963. One was sent to India
and the other remained in the United
Kingdom for research and development
work. In 1965, the first production
models were delivered from Vickers.
Indian production models rolled off the
production line in January 1965. The
initial Indian Vijayanta was built mainly from parts supplied by the United
Kingdom. Progressively, India undertook production of the tank, and eventually, the majority of the tank was
produced in India.4

The first 175 tanks were produced
with kits supplied by Russia. This was
followed by progressive local manufacture in order to produce as much as 97
percent of the MBT’s components in
India. Production of the T-72M1 in
India was running at an estimated 70
vehicles per year with the final tanks
being delivered in March 1994.7

By the mid-1980s, production in India
was finished, by which time an estimated 2,200 had been built. The Vijayanta has a crew of four, 105mm rifled
main gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine
gun, 7.62mm machine gun for anti-aircraft defense, 12.7mm machine gun for
ranging, and two sets of smoke-grenade
launchers. The 105mm main gun is not
fitted with a thermal sleeve. A Leyland
L60 engine powers the tank and it has a
welded turret.5

Ajeya T-72M1s have a 125mm
smooth bore main gun with 45 rounds
and six Svir anti-tank guided missiles,
7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and
smoke grenade dischargers either side
of the turret. Layout is conventional,
with driver front, turret center, and engine and transmission rear. Commander
sits left, gunner right. There is no
loader as the 125mm main gun has an
automatic carousel loader with charge
above and projectiles below.8

The T-72M1: India originally intended to order only a limited number
of export T-72M1 MBTs from Russia
until production could begin on the
locally designed Arjun MBT. It was

Reserve T-54/55s: A limited number
of the T-54/T-55s have been modernized at the Narsik ordnance facility
with the installation of a 105mm rifled
gun, driver’s passive night vision peri-

TABLE 1: FIRE CONTROL COMPARISON
T-72BM

T-80U

T-90

1A40

1A45

1A45T

Gun Stabilization

2E42-2

2E42

2E42-4

Gunner’s Rangefinder Sight

1K13-49

1A42

1A43

1V528

1V528

1V528-1

Crosswind

DVE-BS

DVE-BS

Svir

Reflecks

Reflecks

Fire Control

Ballistic Computer
Wind Sensor
Guided Missile

Source: Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, Nineteenth Edition

ARMOR — September-October 2001

scope and the Bharat Electronics Limited Tank-Fire Control System similar
to that fitted to the Vijayanta MBT.9

The Indian Army has used British tanks,
Russian tanks, and some of their own...

The Arjun MBT: In 1972, the Indian
Army issued a requirement for a new
MBT to replace the Vijayanta. Work
began on the Arjun tank at the Combat
Vehicle Research and Development
Establishment (CVRDE) in 1974. By
the time the first prototype of the Arjun
was unveiled in April 1984, 300 million rupees had already been spent on
the project.10
Between 1983 and 1989, India is reported to have imported 42 engines and
transmissions for the prototypes at a
total cost of U.S. $15 million. By late
1987, ten prototypes of the Arjun MBT
had been completed and six had been
delivered to the Indian Army for extensive trials. The remaining four have
been retained for further development
work and trials at CVRDE.11

The Vijayanta, a British Vickers export MBT of the 1960s, built in India.

In March 1993, it was reported that
the Arjun MBT had successfully completed its firing tests. During a demonstration in the Rasjasthan Desert in
western India, two prototype Arjuns hit
static and mobile targets at ranges between 800 and 1,200 meters, broke
through concrete walls, climbed 60 percent slopes and maneuvered through
depressions. The prototypes were built
by HVF.12
The Arjun has a third-generation fire
control system with a 120mm rifled
main gun that will fire APFSDS, HE,
HEAT, HESH (High Explosive Squash
Head), and smoke rounds. All the
120mm rounds use a semi-combustible
cartridge case. A 7.62mm machine gun
is mounted coaxial with the main gun
and a 12.7mm machine gun is installed
for anti-aircraft defense. The gunner’s
main sight consists of day sight, thermal sight, laser rangefinder, and stabilized head common to all three channels. Turret traverse and weapon elevation are all-electric with prototype systems provided by FWM of Germany.13
It was intended that the production
Arjun MBTs were to have had a locally
designed 1,500-horsepower engine
coupled through a locally designed
semi-automatic transmission with four
forward and two reverse gears working
through a hydrodynamic torque converter, retarder, and integral system.
The Arjun has a NBC system designed
and built by Bhabha Atomic Research
Center. To further enhance battlefield
survivability, it has an automatic fire
detection and suppression system. Am-

India’s own Arjun MBT project has been in development for many years.

The Indian Army may upgrade to Russian T-90s, above, after acquiring many T-72s,
which are similar. This purchase might force cancellation of the Arjun project.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

31

munition is stowed in watertight containers to reduce fire hazards.14
Two years ago, the Indian government
approved the series production of 124
Arjuns, but little has been done at the
HVF to produce them. The domestically produced Arjun MBT was intended to replace the Vijayanta MBT,
but consideration has also been given to
the purchase of either Russian T-80 or
T-90 MBTs. India recently signed a
contract to buy 310 Russian T-90S
MBTs for an estimated U.S. $600-$800
million. The Indian Army will be the
first export customer for the T-90,
which has been in Russian Army service since the 1990s.14
The T-90 MBT: Developed by the
Kartsev/Venediktove Bureau at the
tank plant in Nizhnyi-Tagil southeast of
Moscow, designated Obiekt 188, the T90 was revealed in 1993 and believed
to have entered low rate production in
1994 for the Russian Army. Based on
the T-72BM MBT that was also designed and built at Nizhnyi-Tagil and
incorporates some of the advanced features of the late production T-80 tank.
Advanced features include the fire control; defensive aids systems and Kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)
systems.16
The T-90 MBT was exhibited for the
first time outside Russia in March 1997
in Abu Dhabi. By early 1998, production of the T-90 had reached more than
120 units and at least two Russian tank
regiments had been equipped with them.
As previously stated, the T-90 tank is a
further development of the T-72BM but
has the latest armor package and a new
fire control system. A comparison of
the fire control system installed in the
T-72BM, T-80U, and T-90 MBTs is
given in Table 1.17
Layout of the T-90 MBT is almost
identical to that of the T-72 MBT, with
the driver’s compartment in the front,
turret in the center, and engine compartment in the rear. The hull and turret
of the T-90 is fitted with the latest Kontakt-5 ERA over the forward arc, providing protection against APFDS and
HEAT type projectiles.18
The driver is seated at the front of the
hull in the center and has a single day
periscope that gives observation through
the frontal arc and a single piece hatch
cover that lifts and opens to the right.
For driving at night, the day periscope
can be replaced by a TVN-5 night vision device. The other two members of
the crew are seated in the turret with
the commander on the right and the

32

gunner on the left. The tank commander’s contracting cupola has a single piece hatch cover that opens forwards with two rear-facing TPNA day
vision blocks. In the forward part of the
cupola is the TKN-4S Agat-S stabilized
day/image intensification sight with a
TNP-160 day periscope on either side.19
The gunner’s hatch opens forward and
has a circular mounting for the snorkel
tube that allows deep fording. In front
of the gunner’s hatch is the TNPA-65
vision block while a TNPA-65 day
vision block is fitted in the hatch itself.
The gunner of the T-90 is provided
with a day and thermal sighting system
with the tank commander being provided a screen to monitor the thermal
view seen by the gunner.20
The T-90 has a computerized fire control system that allows the tank commander and gunner to lay and fire the
main armament while the vehicle is
stationary or moving under day or night
conditions. The gunner’s sighting system includes the 1A43 day sight with
stabilized field of view in two planes
and laser rangefinder, IG46 rangefinder
with missile guidance channel, 1V5281 digital ballistic computer, DVE-BS
wind gauge, gunner’s T01-K01 infrared
vision equipment and TPN4-49-23
sight Buran-PA. The last can be replaced by the Agava-2 roof mounted
stabilized thermal sight.21
Main armament is the 125mm 2A46M1
smoothbore gun fitted with a fume extractor and a thermal sleeve. This gun is
stabilized in both planes by the 2E42-4
system and fed by an automatic loader.
The 125mm gun fires ammunition of
the separate loading type and it can also
fire a special high explosive fragmentation projectile that can be detonated
over the target using the tank’s fire
control system. It is estimated the T-90
has a maximum rate of fire of seven
rounds per minute.22
The 125mm main gun can also fire the
9K119 Refleks laser-guided projectile
out to a range of 5,000 meters. This has
the U.S./NATO designation of AT-11
Sniper. Weighing 17.2 kilograms, the
AT-11 Sniper has four wraparound fins
at the rear for stability when the missile
leaves the launch tube and two towards
the front for steering. The T-90 normally carries six AT-11 Sniper missiles. Only the gunner can launch the
Refleks guided missile.23
A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main
gun and a 12.7mm NVST machine gun
is mounted on the commander’s cupola.

Mounted either side of the turret is a
bank of six electronically operated 81mm smoke grenade launchers. The T90 MBT can also lay its own smoke
screen by ejecting diesel fuel into the
exhaust outlet located on the left side of
the hull.24
To improve its battlefield survivability, the T-90 is fitted with the TshU1-7
Shtora-1 (which means “shutter” or
“blind”) countermeasures system,
which is also fitted to some models of
the T-80UD and the Ukrainian T-84
MBTs. The TshU1-7 Shtora consists of
an infrared source, power supply, and
control panel. The T-90 MBT has two
infrared sources; one mounted either
side of the 125mm main gun.25
The V-84MS diesel engine is fitted
with a pre-heater for use in cold
weather. It is coupled to a mechanical
transmission that consists of a primary
reduction gear, two final gearboxes,
and two final drives. The engine is also
fitted with an effective two-stage cleaning system and a temperature-warning
device. Although a diesel engine, it will
also run on gasoline, kerosene, and
benzene, blended or unblended. For
trial purposes, T-90 MBTs have been
fitted with other, more powerful engines, including the V-92 diesel which
produces 950 horsepower and the V-96
producing 1,100 horsepower. A turbine
has also been fitted to the T-90 similar
to that fitted in the T-80U MBT.26
Standard equipment includes NBC
protection, fire detection and suppression system, nose-mounted dozer blade
and a deep fording kit. To increase
operational range, two fuel drums can
be carried at the rear of the hull. The T90E and T-90S are understood to be the
export models of the T-90. The T-90
MBT remains in production and is currently in service with the Russian
Army.27
Procurement Controversy
The Russian’s T-90 offer was made to
Defense Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav during his September 1997 visit
and, early in 1998, the Indian Government began negotiations with the Russians to add this MBT to its inventory.
Dissenting Indian Army officers quickly claimed they did not need, nor could
they afford this tank. An Indian Army
technical evaluation team went to Russia in February 1998 to test the T-90 at
one of Russia’s proving grounds and
came back praising the Russian tank.
The Indian Army finally announced a
decision to buy two regiments worth in

ARMOR — September-October 2001

TABLE 2: MAIN BATTLE TANK COMPARISON
T-72M1

T-80U

T-90

3

3

3

Crew
Combat Weight
Ground Pressure
Engine

44,500 kg.
0.90 kg/cm

2

46,000 kg.
0.92 kg/cm

46,500 kg.

2

0.91 kg/cm2

840 hp diesel

1250 hp turbine

840 hp diesel

1000 liters

1090 liters

1200 liters

60 km/hr

70 km/hr

60 km/hr

480 km
550 km

335 km
440 km

450 km
550 km

Electrical System

24V

27V

24V

Gradient

60%

63%

60%

Side-Slope

40%

46%

40%

Vertical Obstacle

0.85 meters

1 meter

0.85 meters

Trench Crossing

2.28 meters wide

2.85 meters wide

2.8 meters wide

1 x 125mm gun
1 x 7.62mm MG
1 x 12.7mm AAMG

1 x 125mm gun
1 x 7.62mm PKT MG
1 x 12.7mm NSVT MG

1 x 125mm gun
1 x 7.62mm PKT MG
1 x 12.7mm NSVT MG

Gun Elevation/Depression

+14° to -6°

+14° to -5°

+14° to -6°

Smoke Grenade Launcher

8

8

8

Fuel Capacity
Maximum Speed
Range
(without long range fuel tanks)
(with long range fuel tanks)

Armament
(main)
(coaxial)
(anti-aircraft)

SOURCES: Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, Nineteenth Edition and 1LT Adam Geibel, “Updating India’s T-72 MBT Fleet,” ARMOR, MayJune 1998.

early November 1998, to augment its
armored forces on the western border
with Pakistan.28
The biggest surprise concerning the
Russian T-90 came in late December
1998 when the Indian media announced
that the deal would total 200 T-90S
MBTs. In January 1999, the Cabinet
Committee on Political Affairs approved
the purchase of 310 tanks. This was
enough to equip five regiments, with
tanks left over for war reserves and
spares.29
Controversy has surrounded the T-90S
purchase after former Prime Minister
H.D. Deve Gowda questioned the motives behind senior army officers keen
on acquiring the Russian tanks. Former
Prime Minister Gowda claims that an
upgraded version of the locally built T72M1 (referred to as the T-72S) would
be cheaper and as effective as T-90S.
He also wanted the T-72S reevaluated;
because he claims the T-90S is expensive and it had not been tested under
Indian weather conditions.30

In addition to trials at the Indian Armored Corps Center and School at Ahmadnagar, with hot weather tests in the
Rasjasthan desert, a limited number of
the tanks were deployed during Exercise Shiv Shakti in November-December 1998. Shiv Shakti involved an estimated 66,000 soldiers, 700 combat
vehicles, 300 tanks, and 200 artillery
pieces.31
Other sources have indicated that it
would be less expensive to produce a
further development of the T-72 in India, for example the T-72S or T-80.
Indian Army officers consider the T90S to be superior to the Ukrainian
built T-80UD MBT that entered service
with the Pakistani Army in 1997. A
comparison of the T-72M1, T-80U, and
T-90 is given in Table 2.32
Indian Army senior armor officers
admit that the T-90S purchase will
cause the cancellation of the domestic
Arjun MBT project that began in the
1970s. The T-90S purchase will also
render the Indian Army potentially vulnerable to an unreliable supplier of

ARMOR — September-October 2001

repair parts and backup support. The
1,000 horsepower engine will not
power initial Indian Army T-90S.33
Under the agreement signed in New
Delhi by Indian Ministry of Defense
officials and representatives from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main export
agency, the Nizhnyi-Tagil plant will
deliver 124 completed MBTs with the
remainder to be assembled by HVF at
Avadi. HVF currently builds the T-72
MBT and is expected to eventually
produce the T-90S under license.34
The purchase was delayed for several
months following Moscow’s reluctance
to provide financial guarantees to India
in exchange for New Delhi making an
advance payment of an estimated 55
percent. In February 2001, the contract
was signed following talks between
visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Ilya Klebanov and Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez. Deputy Prime
Minister Klebanov indicated that Russia was interested in acquiring information technology and software development from India. During this visit, the

33

border with Pakistan.
This five-day exercise
involved 50,000 soldiers and an estimated
100 combat aircraft.38
China’s conventional
threat has declined notably since the crisis of
1986-1987. The Lanzhou military district,
which includes most of
its common border with
Strong concerns about the survivability of the Russian T-72
India, has 220,000 solafter Desert Storm seem to have eased with time.
diers organized into
four infantry and one
armored division. Its
forces in the Chengu military district
two nations finalized the agenda for the
number 180,000 soldiers organized into
newly instituted Indo-Russian commisfour infantry and one artillery divisions.
sion on technical cooperation.35
In 1990, there were 19 regular Peoples
Cost is the key factor in Russian exLiberation Army infantry divisions and
port success of both the T-80 and the Tone tank division between these two
90. Both tanks enjoy a significant cost
military districts.39
advantage over the American M1A2,
French Leclerc, and the German LeopChina has also been undergoing modard 2. In years past, buyers were conernization, so far concentrated in the
cerned with the survivability of Russian
southeast to threaten Taiwan. Beijing
tanks after seeing the poor performance
has participated in incidents that have
of the T-72 in Desert Storm, but the
troubled New Delhi, including develpassage of time has eased these conopment of intelligence assets in Myancerns.36
mar, port facilities in Pakistan and intervening across the de facto boundary
Current and Future Threats
with India in 1999. Barring an outbreak
of unrest in Tibet, it is unlikely that
Pakistan, China, extra-regional, interChina will increase its forces in the
nal separatist insurgencies, and acts of
region.40
terrorism are the threats that India
faces. In Pakistan, five infantry divisions have been added to the Pakistani
Army, but manpower was increased by
only 40,000. A majority of the 2,320
Pakistani tanks are obsolescent, with
the exception of 310 modern T-80UDs.
Mechanized forces have M113 armored
personnel carriers. Pakistan’s heavy
forces appear incapable of sustaining
offensive action. The real threat posed
by Pakistan has shifted from midintensity conventional warfare to the
two extremes on the conflict spectrum
— nuclear and low-intensity conflicts.37
The nuclear threat has become an established part of regional security affairs and Pakistani experts credit their
nuclear deterrent with having prevented
several Indian invasions. Pakistan also
supports Kashmiri insurgents and Islamic volunteers, largely from Afghanistan, who want to fight India. This support included infiltration of Pakistani
Northern light infantry as well as artillery support into Kargil in 1999. Analysts on both sides of the border anticipate further clashes in the border region. In early May 2001, India launched
Exercise Complete Victory near its

34

The extra-regional threat is notional at
best. India has misgivings about use of
international interventions to resolve
human rights abuses and their implications for national sovereignty. This
issue is particularly persuasive given
the situation in Kashmir. The Indian
armed forces are capable of deterring
any adversary or coalitions from conducting sustained assaults on its territory and to defend against all but worstcase scenarios.41
Since 1990, the internal threat has diminished but remains the primary security concern for the near term. The
resolution of the bloody revolt in the
Punjab ends a major danger to stability.
An insurgency in Kashmir continues
and the northeast remains restless. Ethnic conflict rages in Sri Lanka and
there will be concerns about the
Tamils. Despite positive movement in
the Punjab and the northeast, internal
separatist movements remain a concern.42

ing states. Capabilities may be improved over time; but the pursuit of a
domestically designed and produced
MBT appears unlikely at best. There is
no predictable threat that India’s armor
forces cannot manage with its existing
or planned acquisitions and force structure. State of the art technological solutions are expensive. Indian Army tank
acquisition policy demonstrates continuity with tradition rather than a vision
to the future. India can be expected to
maintain the initiative in obtaining new
weapons and to retain a substantial
conventional advantage.
Notes
1Timothy D. Hoyt, “Modernizing the Indian
Armed Forces,” Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer
2000, pp. 17-18.
2Foss, Christopher F., editor, Jane’s Armour
and Artillery 1998-99, Nineteenth Edition, Jane’s
Information Group Limited, 1998, p. 44.
3Foss, Christopher F., Jane’s Tank and Combat
Recognition Guide, Harper Collins Publishers,
1996, p. 98, and ibid, p. 46.
4Foss, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, p.
46.
5Ibid., p. 46, and Foss, Jane’s Tank and Combat
Recognition Guide, p. 98.
6Foss, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, p.
46, and Geibel, Adam, 1LT, “Updating India’s T72 MBT Fleet,” ARMOR, May-June 1998, p. 35.
7Foss, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, p.
46. It is understood that the 97 percent target was
not achieved.
8Geibel, p. 35, and Foss, Jane’s Armour and
Artillery 1998-99, p. 46. Late in 1997, it was
revealed that more than 30 125mm tank barrels
had burst during gunnery and that efforts were
being made to determine the cause of this problem.
9Foss, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, p.
44.
10Ibid.,

p. 44.

11Ibid.,

p. 45.

12Ibid.,

p. 45.

13Ibid.,

p. 45. The Indian Explosive Research
and Development Establishment at Pune in Maharashtra developed the main gun rounds.
14Ibid.,

p. 45.

15Rahul

Bedi, “India To Buy Russian T-90S
MBTs,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, February 21,
2001.
16Foss,

Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1998-99, p.

85.
17Ibid.,

p. 85.

Conclusion

18Ibid.,

p. 85.

Modernizing India’s MBTs does not
suggest hostile intent toward neighbor-

19Ibid.,

pp. 85-86.

20Ibid.,

p. 86.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

SEOUL from Page 29
21Ibid.,

p. 86.

22Ibid.,

p. 86.

23Ibid., p. 86. The complete missile system is
called the 9K119.

33Heinl, 229-230; Alexander, 216; Appleman,
535.
34Knox,

294.

35Birchard

L. Kortegaard, “Korean War: Tanks
and Fighting Vehicles,” http://rt66.com/~korteng/
SmallArms/tanks.htm, accessed on 15 November
2000; Appleman, 535.

24Ibid.,

p. 86.

25Ibid.,

pp. 89-87.

26Ibid.,

p. 87.

36Knox,

293.

27Ibid.,

p. 87.

37Heinl,

242.

28For

further details, see Defence Notes, “India’s Latest Armour Addition – the T-90S,”
http://www.defencejournal.com/apr99/t-90.htm.
29Ibid.

243.

39Montross

Bedi, “India To Buy Russian T-90S
MBTs,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, February 21,
2001 and see Defence Notes, “India’s Latest
Armour Addition – the T-90S.”
31For

further details, see Defence Notes, “India’s Latest Armour Addition – the T-90S.”
and Rahul Bedi.

33Rahul

and Canzona, 279.

40Duncan.
41Montross

30Rahul

32Ibid.,

38Tallent,

42Knox,

and Canzona, 278; Heinl, 245.

294.

43Stanton,

106-107.

44Appleman,

534-535; James, 32.

45Appleman,

535.

46James,

35.

35Ibid.

Appleman, Roy E. United States Army in the
Korean War: South to the Naktong, North to
the Yalu. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief
of Military History, Department of the Army,
1961.

p. 21, and “India’s ‘Complete Victory’
Is Set for Pakistan Border,” May 2, 2001.
39Ibid.,

p. 21.

40Ibid.,

pp. 21-22.

41Ibid,
42Ibid.,

p. 22.
p. 20.

LTC Mark A. Olinger is the commander, 142d Corps Support Battalion, Warrior Brigade, Ft. Polk, La.
Previously, he served as a senior
observer-controller with Operations
Group, Joint Readiness Training
Center at Ft. Polk. Other assignments include deputy G3, 19th
Theater Support Command, Korea,
and operations research analyst with
the National Security Agency. He
was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant from California State
Polytechnic University at Pomona.
He is a logistician and served in Operations Prime Chance/Earnest Will,
Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. He is a graduate of the
Defense Strategy Course and the
U.S. Army Command and General
Staff College.

Simmons, Edwin H. “The Battle For Seoul”,
Address to the United States Marine Corps
Amphibious Warfare School, 15 March 1985.
On-Line. Available from http://www.geocities
.com/pentagon/6453/seoul.html.

Stanton, Shelby L. Ten Corps in Korea, 1950.
Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1996.

37Timothy

38Ibid.,

Naylor, Sean D. “Urban Crisis.” Army Times, 20
November 2000, On-Line.

Bibliography
Alexander, Bevin. Korea: The First War We
Lost. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1986.

D. Hoyt, “Modernizing the Indian
Armed Forces,” Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer
2000, pp. 20-21.

Mordica, George. “Urban Combat: It’s A Dirty
Business But Someone Has to Do It”, Center
for Army Lessons Learned Newsletter — Urban Combat Operations: Tactics, Techniques,
and Procedures, November 1999, No. 99-16: 11 to 1-8.

Smith, G.W. “The Blinding Sand of MacArthur’s
Hourglass: The Race to Seoul.” Marine Corps
Gazette (September 2000). On-Line.

36COL

James H. Nunn, and Paulson, John C.,
LTC, “Three Tanks Featured In Russian Arms
Show,” ARMOR, September-October 1999, p. 26.

Montross, Lynn and Nicholas A. Canzona.
United States Marine Corps Operations in Korea, 1950-1955, Volume II: The Inchon-Seoul
Operation. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters,
United States Marine Corps, 1955.

540.

47Appleman,

Bedi.

34Ibid.

Kortegaard, Birchard L. “Korean War: Tanks and
Fighting Vehicles.” Available from http://
rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/tanks.htm.

Blair, Clay. The Forgotten War: America in
Korea, 1950-1953. New York: Times Books,
1987.
Duncan, David D. This Is War! A PhotoNarrative of the Korean War. Boston: Little,
Brown, and Company, 1990.
Everson, Robert E. “Standing at the Gates of the
City: Operational Level Actions and Urban
Warfare.” M.M.A.S. Thesis, School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army
Command and General Staff College, 1995.
Geer, Andrew C. The New Breed: The Story of
the U.S. Marines in Korea. New York: Harper
and Brothers, 1952.
Harrigan, Anthony. “Combat in Cities.” Military
Review 46, no. 2 (May, 1966): 26-30.
Heinl, Robert D., Jr. Victory at High Tide: The
Inchon-Seoul Campaign. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1968.
James, William T. “From Siege to Surgical: The
Evolution of Urban Combat from World War II
to the Present and Its Effect on Current Doctrine.” M.M.A.S. Thesis, United States Army
Command and General Staff College, 1998.
Jessup, John E. and Robert W. Coakley. A Guide
to the Study and Use of Military History. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Company,
1998.
Knox, Donald. The Korean War, Pusan to
Chosin: An Oral History. New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1985.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

Tallent, Robert. “Street Fight in Seoul.” The
Leathernecks: An Informal History of the U.S.
Marine Corps. New York: Franklin Watts,
1963: 240-247.

CPT Matthew H. Fath graduated
from the U.S. Military Academy in
1992 with a B.S. in Military History.
He has served as a rifle platoon leader, support platoon leader, and battalion S4 in 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Ft. Bragg,
N.C. After IOAC, he served as an
assistant brigade S3 (plans) for 1st
Bde, 4th ID (Mech) and commanded
A Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, both at Fort Hood,
Texas. Recently, he served as an
AC/RC assignment as an observer-controller trainer for the 27th
Enhanced Separate Infantry Brigade
(NYARNG) in Syracuse, N.Y. Currently, he is a company team trainer,
Light Combat Trainer Division (AB),
Operations Group, National Training
Center, Ft. Irwin, Calif. Additionally,
he is a graduate student at the
American Military University pursuing a Master of Arts in Military Studies in Land Warfare. His military
schooling includes Airborne School,
Sapper Leader Course, IOBC, Ranger School, Jumpmaster, IOAC,
Bradley Leader’s Course, CAS3, and
the Joint Firepower Control Course.

35

TANK MYTHS

U.S. M4 Sherman

Soviet T-34/85

On TV lately, there’s been lots of information on World War II tanks ...
...And unfortunately, a lot of it is wrong
by Charles M. Baily
Editor’s Note: Charles M. Baily’s book on
the development of U.S. tanks and tank
destroyers in World War II (Faint Praise:
American Tanks and Tank Destroyers in
World War II) is considered by many experts to be a definitive study of this subject.
(Unfortunately, the book is currently out of
print and is difficult to find.)

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to
take it anymore. Continuing reiterations
of myths about World War II tanks,
particularly American tanks, on television and in print are driving me to distraction. Adding injury to insult, the
facts to quash these myths are available
on library shelves for anyone willing to
do the most basic research. With so
many myths and so little time, this article will only address two: the Christie
myth and the Patton myth.
The most recent version of the
Christie myth seen by this author was
an episode entitled “Tanks,” one of the
History Channel’s series Weapons at
War. In this episode, George C. Scott’s
sonorous tones describe J. Walter Christie’s tanks and their revolutionary torsion bar suspension. Later in the segment, the curator of an Army museum,
with a Christie tank in the background,
tells us that the Christie suspension was
so good that the Soviets used it in their

36

tanks through the T-62. Implicit in the
presentation is the larger part of the
Christie myth — that the U.S. Army
could have had a tank as good as the
Russian T-34 if it had only heeded the
genius of J. Walter Christie.
The technical facts of this program are
dead wrong and the implication is
tenuous at best. The Christie suspension was not a torsion bar suspension. It
was a system of large roadwheels attached to bell cranks and coil springs.
While the T-34 did have a Christie suspension, its immediate successor, the
T-44, and all Soviet medium tanks ever
since, have used torsion bars. This information is in standard texts that have
been on library shelves for years.1
Both the suspension system and
Christie’s quarrels with the Army were
best described by George Hofmann on
these pages in 1976.2 To summarize
Hofmann’s excellent article, Christie
simply would not work with users to
fulfill the military requirements but, instead, wanted the Army to fund the
tanks that he wanted to build.
To address the larger myth, that the
Army could have had its own T-34 if it
had only listened to Christie, requires a
brief examination of the Russian tank.
The myth fails on two counts: the fea-

tures that made the T-34 an excellent
tank owed little to Christie and, in any
case, the T-34’s superiority over the U.S.
M4 Medium tank is not convincing.
After purchasing models of Christie
tanks in 1930, the Russians embraced
the notion of fast tanks with enthusiasm. Their version of the Christie, the
BT-7, follows Christie’s concepts quite
closely, including narrow tracks and
thin armor. Russian ideas are evident
by the tank’s main gun, a 45mm, which
was heavy armament for its day. (Firepower was never a distinguishing feature of Christie’s designs.) As the Russians developed the fast tank idea, their
own genius contributed the features
that made the T-34 such a shock to the
Germans in 1941. They added a 76mm
gun, 45mm armor angled at 60 degrees,
broad tracks, and a dependable engine.
The only Christie feature on the T-34
was the suspension system.
Further, if we are to credit Christie
with an overarching contribution to
tank design, we should also look at
those “other” Christie tanks, the ones
built by the British. Like the Russians,
the British also purchased Christie
tanks in 1936 and used them as the
basis for their cruiser tanks, such as the
Covenanter and Crusader. These tanks

ARMOR — September-October 2001

T-34/76

M4A1

Gun/Muzzle
Velocity (fps)

76mm/2160

75mm/2050

Armor

20-70mm – turret

3 inches – turret

45mm at 60 degrees – hull

2 inches at 47 degrees – hull
front

Top Speed

31 mph

24 mph

Track Width

19 inches

16 inches

Weight

28 tons

33 tons

are far more similar to Christie’s ideas
than the T-34, being poorly armed, thinly armored, and notoriously unreliable.

associated with the very successful T34 — the origin of the Patton myth is
shrouded in mystery.

Finally, the U.S. M4 medium tank does
not suffer by comparison to the T-34.
The table above summarizes some salient characteristics of both tanks.

In A War to Be Won, authors Millet
and Murray make the astonishing assertion, without any supporting evidence,
that George S. Patton blocked introduction of the M26 with its 90mm gun,
which they claim could have been in
full production in early 1944.3 In Death
Traps, Belton Cooper also accuses Patton of blocking introduction of the
M26, illustrating that this notion may
be widespread.4 None of these authors
offer their readers a clue as to what
Patton actually did or when he did it,
probably because they do not have one.

The T-34’s broad tracks relative to its
weight offer the only obvious advantage over the M4. However, the T-34’s
two-man turret was clearly inferior to
the three-man turret on the M4, which
also had an efficient turret traverse that
was better than either Russian or German equipment. Because its armor was
sloped at 60 degrees, the T-34 was actually better protected than the M4,
although this marginally superior protection had little practical advantage:
German 75 and 88mm guns could readily penetrate either tank.
Both Russia and the U.S. improved
their tanks during the conflict. Later T34s had a three-man turret with an 85mm gun. Later M4s were fitted with
wider 23-inch tracks and a 76mm gun.
On paper, the T-34/85 was nominally
superior to the M4 because of its larger
gun, but, in the few confrontations during the Korean War, M4s easily killed
the Russian tanks. In sum, the superiority of the T-34 over the M4 is not convincing.
The remarkable reputation of the T-34
is primarily based on the technological
shock that it delivered to the Germans
in 1941. Popular German military histories enhanced this repute. By the time
the Germans encountered M4s in late
1942, they were already coping with
the T-34 and heavier Soviet tanks by
increasing the firepower of their tank
armament, self-propelled guns, and
towed anti-tank guns. As a result, the
M4 never enjoyed a notoriety similar to
the T-34 with the Germans or post-war
Western writers.
The Patton Myth
While there is some basis in fact for
the Christie myth — his ideas were

What makes Millet’s and Murray’s
claim even more astounding is the fact
that among the supporting volumes for
the relevant chapter are two excellent
biographies of George Patton: Martin
Blumenson’s Patton: The Man Behind
the Legend, 1885-1945 and Carlo
D’Este’s Patton: A Genius for War.
Neither biography mentions anything
whatsoever about Patton being involved in tank development or production during World War II. While researching the development of the M26,
this author examined the records of the
Ordnance Department, Army Service
Forces, Army Ground Forces, War Department G-4, and European Theater of
Operations. There is nothing in those
records associating George S. Patton
with the development, production, or
introduction of the M26. Nothing.
Besides ignoring their own sources,
Murray and Millett should have been
extremely skeptical about the possibility that Patton blocked production of
the M26. By their own account, they
were very much aware that following
the slapping incident during the Sicilian
Campaign, Patton was on very thin ice.
Arguably, only Eisenhower saved him
from George Marshall’s wrath and an
assignment training troops in the U.S.
The idea that Patton had sufficient clout
to block a major production program
strains credulity.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

The timeline on the following page
summarizes the Army’s decisions about
producing the M26 and who made
them. All this is in the author’s book,
Faint Praise,5 but the reader is respectfully asked to suffer through the citations in order to be assured that those
decisions can be documented from
primary sources.
As the timeline shows, George Patton
was not involved in the decision to
produce 250 T26s. The possibility that
he would have inserted himself into the
process in September 1943, when LTG
Leslie J. McNair (responsible for ground
force doctrine and equipment) was involved, is incredible. After General Jacob Devers weighed in with a production request, the idea that Patton would
have interfered in an exchange between
George C. Marshall and his theater
commander is absolutely fatuous.
Possible production of the T26 in
April 1944 is nearly as difficult to sustain. After the war, Ordnance spokesmen argued that McNair’s opposition
to an additional production order in
September 1943 delayed production of
the tanks, but he did not explain the
cause and effect. No one interfered
with the order of May 1943 for 10
T26s, but prototypes were not completed until February 1945. In September 1943, the tank was still in the blueprint stage. Further, to begin production
in April, Ordnance would had to have
found some way to rush the prototype
into production, but the prototype was
unsatisfactory to the users. Of course,
at the time, not even the Ordnance Department predicted production before
the fall of 1944.
As a minimum, if someone can develop a scenario showing how the disputes during the fall of 1943 over producing additional T26s actually delayed
final production, they should leave Patton out of it. If someone was to blame
for delaying introduction of the T26, it
was NOT George S. Patton.
This author hopes that those writing or
speaking about tanks during World
War II, even if they are constrained
from looking at primary source documents, will at least consult references
already on library shelves. Particularly,
if they are prone to sully reputations, as
Murray and Millet are, their conclusions ought to be based on meticulous
research rather than sloppy scholarship.

37

This Signal Corps photo
from the latter days of
WWII shows the thennew M26 tank of the 9th
AD in action near Vettweiss, Germany in March
1945.

Thank you dear readers, for allowing
me to vent.
Notes

Oddly enough, the official photo caption notes
that the new tank had a
“Christie
suspension,”
which it did not. Of U.S.
WWII armor, the M26,
along with the M24 light
tank and the M18 Hellcat
tank destroyer, used the
more modern torsion bar
suspension.

1See

Peter Chamberlin & Chris Ellis, Pictorial
History of Tanks of the World 1915-1945 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1972) pp. 93-97,
169-172, 206-207, and 220-225 for details on
British, U.S., and Russian tanks. John Milsom,
Russian Tanks 1900-1970 (New York, N.Y.:
Galahad Books, 1970), pp. 96-111 have further
details on Russian tanks.
2George F. Hofmann, “A Yankee Inventor and
the Military Establishment,” ARMOR, March-April
1976, pp. 13-17, 50-52.
3Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millet, A
War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War
(Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2000), pp. 463.
4Belton Cooper, Death Traps: The Survival of
an American Armored Division in World War II,
(Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1998), p. 139.
5All details and their supporting footnotes are
from Charles M. Baily, Faint Praise: American
Tanks and Tank Destroyers during World War II,
(Hamden, Conn.: Shoestring Press, 1984), Chapters 4 and 5.
6Memorandum from Assistant Chief of Staff,
G-4 to CG, Army Service Forces (ASF), 24 May
1943, Records of Army Ground Forces (AGF),
file no. 470.8, Record Group 337, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
7Letter from MG T.J. Hayes, Acting Chief of
Ordnance, to HQ, ASF, 13 September 1943,
Document collection entitled T20 History, Research and Development, Records of the Ordnance Department, Record Group 156, NARA.
8Cable from Devers to the War Department, 13
November 1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4
Decimal File, file no. 470.8, Record Group 165,
NARA.
9Cable from McNarney to Devers, 7 December
1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4 Decimal
file, NARA.
10Cable from Devers to McNarney, 10 December 1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4 Decimal file, NARA.
11Memo from Maxwell to CG, ASF, 16 December 1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4
Decimal file, NARA.
12Cable from Marshall to Devers, 21 December
1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4 Decimal
file, NARA.

Charles Baily is a senior analyst with Coleman Research Corp. and currently works in the National Missile Defense Program. Before joining Coleman, he served 22 years as an Armor officer in a variety of command and
staff positions in Vietnam, Europe, and CONUS. He holds a Ph.D. in history
from Duke University and is a graduate of the National War College.

24 May 1943

The War Department approved production of 10 T26
tanks as part of a larger production order on T20series tanks.6

13 September 1943

In an indorsement to an earlier Armored Command
letter requesting adjustment to the production numbers of M4, the Ordnance Department requested production of an additional 500 T26s.7 General Lesley J.
McNair, CG of AGF, successfully opposed this request.

13 November 1943

General Jacob Devers, CG of the European Theater
of Operations, requests production of 250 T26s.8

7 December 1943

Because of McNair’s continued opposition to production of the T26 and other objections, MG Joseph
McNarney queried Devers whether his request was
based on operational requirements.9

10 December 1943

Devers confirmed his request for production of 250
T26s.10

16 December 1943

General Russell Maxwell, Army G-4, directed the CG,
ASF to produce 250 T26s to meet Devers’ requirements.11

21 December 1943

General Marshall demonstrated his personal involvement in the T26 by cabling Devers about the decision
to produce them, advising a nine-month delay before
production.12

15 January 1944

General Marshall asked the new CG, ETO, General
Eisenhower, if the requirements for the T26 still
stood.13 Eisenhower confirmed it.

21 February 1944

The Ordnance Department estimates first production
of the 250 T26s in October 1944.14 Production actually
began in November. Prototypes from the batch of 10
ordered in May 1943 started arriving during February
1944.

20 May 1944

The Armored Board at Fort Knox emphasizes that the
T26 was not ready for production in its present state.15

13Cable

from Marshall to Eisenhower, 15 January 1943, Records of the Army Staff, G-4 Decimal file, NARA.
14Memo

from HQ, ASF to Assistant Chief of
Staff, G-4, Records of ASF, file no. 470.8, Record Group 407, NARA.
15Letter from the President, Armored Board, to
CG, ASF, 20 May 1944, Records of ASF,
NARA. See Baily, Faint Praise, page 122 for
details on the serious problems with the T26
prototypes.

38

ARMOR — September-October 2001

An Abrams covers dismounts
as they advance
at the Fort Knox
MUCT site.

All photos by Robert L. Stevenson

The Abrams Tank,
Fulcrum of Army Transformation
by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Pride
In this era of transformation, the main
focus of Army modernization is, with
good reason, on the development of the
Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT)
and the Objective Force. The Interim
and Objective axes of the Army’s threepronged Transformation Campaign are
under a watchful eye and remain topics
of professional debate around every
coffeepot. As the Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) and the Future Combat
System (FCS) are developed, one must
not lose sight of the fact that the
Abrams tank is undergoing a positive,
and often overlooked, transformation
process of its own.
In the last year, the Abrams tank
achieved major fielding milestones and
received funding for selected upgrades
and recapitalization. This good news
deserves our acknowledgement, not our
neglect. This article will highlight the
most significant Abrams tank milestones achieved during the last year and
offer some insights into the Abrams’
challenging future.

Modernization

Fielding

Abrams tanks are not being modernized but selectively upgraded and rebuilt. True modernization, according to
the Army definition, involves “a new
program start” like the Crusader,
Comanche, and the Tactical Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle (UAV). During the last
18 months, certain organizational
realignments and deactivations reduced
the number of tanks in the force. To the
2LT and PFC, it may at first glance
appear to indicate doom and gloom for
the U.S. Tank Corps. On the contrary,
the future is very bright for the 3,325
armor officers and 9,232 NCO/enlisted
who wear tanker’s brass. Lurking quietly in the shadows of Army Transformation are spectacular tank developments, each one worthy of a little chest
thumping and fanfare.

• In June 2000, the Army fielded the
first M1A2 SEP battalions to 2nd Bde,
4ID at Ft. Hood, Texas. Fielding to 367 AR, 1-67 AR, and 1/10 Cav marked
the introduction of the Army’s first
weapon platform equipped with secondgeneration forward-looking infrared
(2nd gen FLIR) sights and the new
fully integrated brigade and below digital battle command system. The 1CD is
fielding its M1A2 SEP tanks now
through 2003. (See story, Page 42)

Every day, dozens of stories emerge
from the field praising the tank’s capabilities and warfighting potential. Here
are just a few of the more salient events
that took place over the last year.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

• In July 2000, we fielded the first
digitized M1A1D battalions (1-66 AR
and 3-66 AR) to 1st Bde, 4ID. The “D”
identifier signifies the tank is modified
with the appliqué version of the new
digital battle command system and possesses the Far Target Locate (FTL)
capability.
• Additionally, 1-66 AR marked the
first fielding of tanks from the highly
acclaimed Abrams Integrated Management (AIM) depot overhaul pro39

“The M1A2 SEP tank is the most lethal land combat system in the world
and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future....”
gram. When a unit receives their AIM
tanks, they are receiving a depot rebuilt
tank (zero miles/hours), complete with
a new paint job and that new tank
smell. USAREUR (1-1 Cav) received
their first AIM tanks in May 2001. The
next battalion scheduled to receive the
AIM M1A1 is 1-37 AR, 1AD in October 2001. The remaining two 1AD armor battalions will complete AIM fielding by May 2002.
Demonstrations of Warfighting
Capability

• During August-September 2000,
M1A1D’s from C-1-66 AR successfully participated in the Joint Contingency Force (JCF) Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) at the JRTC. In
the pine forests of Fort Polk, elements
of C-1-66 AR demonstrated complete
digital command interoperability with
their supporting light force. This digital
connectivity demonstrated the Army’s
growing capability to operate seamlessly at the tactical level in a lightheavy environment.
• From March-April 2001, during the
Division Capstone Exercise (DCX) at
Fort Irwin, 4ID successfully demonstrated its digitally interconnected command and control (C2), intel, and admin-logistics systems. The DCX displayed for the first time the awesome
lethality of M1A2 SEP and Bradley
A3’s equipped with second generation
FLIR sights, FTL, and integrated digital battle command. The tanks from
4ID also premiered the Under Armor
Auxiliary Power Unit (UAAPU). This
addition saves fuel, reduces wear and
tear on the main engine, and improves
survivability during mounted surveillance by reducing the tank’s overall
thermal and noise signature. The OPFOR, when asked what challenged
them the most during the rotation, replied emphatically — “the SEP.”
Threat and the Contemporary
Operating Environment
In view of the changing operational
environment, TSM Abrams led an interagency team of subject matter experts on a task to conduct a comprehensive Threat and Vulnerability (T&V)

40

assessment of the Abrams main battle
tank. Numerous organizations from
around the Army participated in the
T&V Integrated Product Team (IPT) to
review threats to the Abrams tank and
identify vulnerabilities as a result of the
threats. The T&V assessment verified
traditional threats and uncovered some
newer threats which emerged from the
new contemporary operating environment. Few deficiencies were identified
during the vulnerability assessment that
weren’t already known to us. Vulnerabilities encountered are minor and will
be factored into the Abrams 1-N list for
correction.

tions to the Abrams tank are not feasible, selective upgrades will be. Moreover, the Abrams may be the recipient,
later this decade, of some key FCS
technologies. During the 2001 Armor
Conference, an International Tank Panel convened to discuss tank modernization. Representatives from France, Germany, Russia (United States subject
matter expert), United Kingdom and
the United States discussed national
tank initiatives and shared ideas on
potential tank upgrades in the new operating environment. Some of the upgrade and recapitalization plans for the
Abrams include:

While most details of the T&V assessment are safeguarded, it is clear
that the M1A2 SEP is the “baddest
beast on the battlefield” and completely
capable of full spectrum warfare. Even
the 2001 M1A2 SEP Live Fire Test and
Evaluation (LFT&E) verified the tank
is fully capable of withstanding the
most severe battlefield threats. Provided adequate tactics, techniques, and
procedures are in place for non-MTW
related tasks, the Abrams will still
function extremely well in future fights.
Today, the tank’s biggest problem is
getting to the fight quickly. The tank
just cannot rapidly get to all of the locations our Army needs it to go, and get
there fast enough, with all of its enablers. Hence, a new Future Combat
System (FCS) is needed.

• In November 2000, the Army
awarded a contract to develop and replace our older AGT-1500 tank engines
with a new Abrams/Crusader Common
Engine (ACCE). The new turbine engine will be 30 percent more fuel efficient and five times more reliable than
the 1970’s vintage AGT-1500. Fielding
of the new engine is anticipated in
FY04 and will be installed in M1A1D
and M1A2 SEP tanks.

The Future of Abrams
The M1A2 SEP tank is the most lethal
land combat system in the world and
will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Our Legacy Force is, and
will remain, a key component of our
National Military Strategy. There are
over 4000 Abrams tanks and over 5000
Bradley fighting vehicles in the force.
Irrespective of transformation, these
armored systems will not disappear
overnight. The Abrams is expected to
be in the Army until 2031, which
means that it is conceivable that second
lieutenants in today’s Armor Basic
Course could still command an Abrams
battalion.
The Abrams tank will continue to
evolve. While major block modifica-

• Earlier in 2001, the Army approved
the requirement for a 120mm canister
anti-personnel round. This “shotgunlike” round (already dubbed the
XM1028) will fulfill an urgent requirement to defeat massed dismounted
threats with one blast of the main gun.
This new requirement did not fall on
deaf ears. Approved by the Army as a
Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Program,
the canister round will enter development a year earlier than forecast. This
essential capability is targeted for fielding by 2004.
• Increasing lethality in the close
combat zone is critical to success on
future battlefields. We must preserve
our lethality overmatch because, despite what you might think, our adversaries have not stopped modernizing
their tanks. The threat continues to upgrade their tanks with thermal sights,
improved armor and countermeasures
systems, and more lethal ammunition.
Our solution to this challenge is the
M829E3, APFSDS-T round. This Kinetic Energy (KE) round is guaranteed
to blow through the toughest of armor
targets. The M829E3 design was ap-

ARMOR — September-October 2001

annual training at
Fort Knox’s MOUT
Site in July 2001.
Summary

proved this year and should be fielded
by 2003. For long-range targets, we
have the Tank Extended Range Munition (TERM) planned. The TERM requirement was approved at HQ TRADOC this year. TERM will provide the
Abrams-equipped force with the ability
to destroy high value targets at extended line-of-sight and beyond line-ofsight ranges out to 10 kms.
Tanks in Complex and Urban
Terrain
There have been several articles published that call for upgrading the
Abrams to be more versatile in complex and urban terrain. To provide the
tank with full spectrum capabilities, the
Armor Center gained approval for
fielding the 120mm canister anti-personnel round. Other initiatives that posture the tank for 21st century operations
in complex and urban terrain include:

• Contingency Side Armor – This

low-weight, non-obtrusive, add-on armor provides additional protection to
the side of the tank without major
modification. This additional protection
will be used in contingency operations
should the threat dictate its use. Effective against a full range of threats, contingency armor will be required in urban and complex environments where
added flank protection is critical.

• Secure, wireless tank-infantry com-

munications – The U.S. Marine Corps
put the tank external phone back on its
tanks. While the Army is monitoring
this effort, a more flexible system is
under development that provides tank
crewmen continual connectivity to the
vehicle intercom even when dismounted from the vehicle. This system has
tremendous application to heavy-light
operations, as well as peacetime safety
and training utility. The mounted crewmen cordless communications set was
successfully demonstrated by 5-112
AR, Texas National Guard, during its

The Armor Corps
is
experiencing
many
exciting
transformation-related changes. We are fielding two upgraded tanks — the M1A1D and the
M1A2 SEP, each complete with a
sporty new paint job, that new tank
smell, and zero miles/hours on the
powertrain. (Note: The M1A2 SEP
even has an air conditioner, Bose
speakers, and a Rolls-Royce auxiliary
power unit.)
New materiel upgrade initiatives are
emerging that will preserve our Armor
Force’s combat overmatch capability as
the Army undergoes its necessary metamorphosis. Team Abrams is committed to maintaining the necessary overmatch required to guarantee a superior
21st century main battle tank, with full
spectrum capabilities. Our Abrams
strategy is simple — provide full spectrum combat capabilities overmatch
while simultaneously improving reliability and reducing fleet operating and
support costs.
The Abrams tank remains lethal, survivable, and its future secure. The
Abrams tank, along with its Bradley
counterpart, continues to provide this
nation with a critical warfighting capability. During Army Transformation,
the Abrams serves as the fulcrum. Constantly under pressure to fight and win
our nation’s wars, the Abrams force
will support the other two axes of transformation (Initial and Objective) until
they achieve initial operational capability. The Army continues to demonstrate
its continued commitment to the Abrams
fleet. In joint testimony to Congress,
the Secretary of the Army and the
Army Chief of Staff reported:
“Today’s force, the Legacy Force,
enables the Army to meet near-term
national military strategy commitments.
Until the Objective Force is fielded, the
Legacy Force — augmented or reinforced with an interim capability —
will continue to engage and respond to
crises to deter aggression, bring peace
and stability to troubled regions, and
enhance security by developing bonds

ARMOR — September-October 2001

of mutual respect and understanding
with allies, partners, and potential adversaries. It must remain ready to fight
and win if necessary, giving us the strategic hedge to allow transformation.”1
While much of the Army’s modernization and transformation attention is
focused on developing the other two
axes of the Transformation Plan, it is
important to remember that the Abramsand Bradley-equipped Legacy Force is
still our decisive, ground fighting force.
The future is bright and all tankers
should know they are in the finest tank
in the world. This situation will not
change until significant numbers of
Future Combat Systems are fielded in
the next decade that take the Abrams’
place as the new “king of the killing
zone.”2
Author’s Note: The organization
within TRADOC that conducts total
system management for the Abrams
tank across the DTLOMS is TRADOC
System Manager (TSM) Abrams. This
organization represents the “Field” and
serves as the TRADOC advocate and
voice for tank issues. TSM Abrams
coordinates user requirements for the
tank, fights for high-payoff improvements, and oversees all issues related to
the modification (safety, training, survivability, lethality, digitization, etc.) of
the Abrams tank and its training devices.
Notes
1Joint Statement by the Honorable Thomas E.
White, Secretary of the Army and General Eric
K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff United States Army
before the Committee on Armed Services, United
States Senate, First Session, 107th Congress, 10
July 2001.
2Orr Kelly, King of The Killing Zone: The Story
of the M-1, America’s Super Tank, Berkley
Books, N.Y., 1989.

LTC Dave Pride was commissioned in Armor in 1980 from the
University of Tennessee. He has
had various tactical, joint, and armor acquisition assignments. He is
currently assigned as the Assistant
TRADOC System Manager (TSM)
for the Abrams Tank at Fort Knox,
Ky .

41

1-12 Cavalry Fields New Abrams M1A2 SEP Tanks
by Specialist Jonathan Del Marcus, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs Office
The 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, became the first unit in the division, and only the second in the Army,
to begin fielding the new Abrams
M1A2 SEP main battle tank, at Fort
Hood, July 9-13.
As America’s First Team transitions
from the ‘legacy force’ into the Force
XXI structure, the M1A2 SEP (System
Enhancement Program) is among many
new pieces of equipment that will add
the capability of digital connectivity to
the division’s arsenal, gradually integrating the new technology fully into
the division by the end of fiscal year
2003.
The most important characteristic of
the Abrams M1A2 SEP that distinguishes it from its predecessor, the
Abrams M1A2, is an embedded battle
command system that allows soldiers to
communicate with each other, within
and across echelons, to relay and share
information, said Cathy Oldham, Chief
of Force Integration, 1st Cav Division.
This ability increases command and
control as well as situational awareness
on the battlefield, Oldham noted.
“Unlike an analog system, all M1A2
SEP tank crews will have instant access
to the latest information on battlefield
conditions, and everyone will have a
common operating picture through the
use of the same graphics,” said Major
David Farlow, Public Affairs Officer,
1st Cav Division.
The commander’s display unit (CDU)
displays a map showing terrain features
with grids that show your tank’s location, the location of your unit’s tanks,
and any known enemy locations or
equipment, said Sergeant Michael W.
Steward, gunner, Co. A, 1-12 Cav. The
CDU can also send and receive e-mail
messages.
There is also a second-generation forward-looking infrared sight, with five
different powers of magnification, that
displays the environment outside of the
tank on the commander’s independent
thermal viewer, added Staff Sergeant
Derek J. Hall, master gunner, Co. A, 112 Cav.

42

“What the SEP tank will do as part of
the modernization of the Army is give
us the digital systems — what’s called
the Army battle command systems —
and it will allow tank crews to know
where they are on the battlefield, where
the rest of the formation is and where
the enemy is. That’s pretty powerful
stuff,” said Major General David D.
McKiernan, 1st Cav Division commander.
“The best description I heard used
some years ago was from then Chief of
Staff of the Army Gordon Sullivan. He
said, ‘You know what’s really important is that a soldier knows where he is,
knows where his buddy is, and knows
where the enemy is,’” McKiernan explained.
1-12 Cav’s tank crews spent much of
the work week in the motor pool preparing the new tanks to standard for use
as lethal, digitally capable, and combatready chariots of fire.
Before they could draw the new tanks,
the tankers spent more than three
months on the arduous and tedious task
of readying their M1A2 tanks for turnin.
“It’s not like going down to the Ford
dealership, saying ‘here’s my old car,
give me some trade in on it, and let me
drive away in my new car,’” McKiernan said. “They have had to do thousands, literally thousands, of supply transactions — moving equipment around,
reorganizing soldiers — how they battle-roster soldiers, and the most glamorous part of it, the biggest part, is turning in their tanks and drawing new
tanks. But, it’s only one of many equipment issues that they are working on.
While the process was demanding for
1-12 Cav, the ends have justified the
means. “I know I’m excited, and my
sense is the soldiers are excited about
getting this as well,” said Lieutenant
Colonel Robert Forrester, 1-12 Cav
commander.
“We’ll start a fairly structured new
equipment training program for about
50 days, and then we’ll go into platoon-,
company-, and battalion-level training

exercises, all of the time trying to hone
the skills that we are going to need so
we can employ the SEP tank to its full
potential,” he said.
Much of the anticipation for fielding
the M1A2 SEP surely stems from one
other new addition to the tank.
The M1A2 SEP adds a new air conditioning system, an air-handling unit that
will bring the temperature inside the
tank down 22 degrees from 110 degrees
to 88 degrees, Hall said.
This will add to the comfort of the
crews, particularly in places like Texas,
as well as possible deployments in other hot environments, said Specialist Marion Saunders, loader, Co. A, 1-12 Cav.
Not only are the leaders and soldiers
in 1-12 Cav pleased, the fielding of the
M1A2 SEP will undoubtedly add much
excitement within many units in the
First Team.
Each of the First Team’s four maneuver brigades will field new equipment,
successively, in the next three fiscal
years, beginning with 1st Brigade during fiscal year 2001 and finishing with
4th Brigade by the end of fiscal year
2003.
October will be a busy month for 1st
Brigade. 2-5 Cav will start fielding the
new Bradley M2A3 and 2-8 Cav will
draw the Abrams M1A2 SEP.
By the end of fiscal year 2001 alone,
approximately 6,700 pieces of equipment will have changed hands within
the division, said Major Frank Schneck,
Division XXI Project Officer.
After the change has been made to outfit all of the tank units with the M1A2
SEP, the division will require fewer
tanks to do the same job, Oldham said.
The Force XXI conversion process is
a “comprehensive process for modernizing and preparing for the challenges
of the 21st century. It provides our soldiers with the necessary doctrine, organizations, the most realistic training
and the best equipment and weapon
systems that our nation can provide,”
Schneck said.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

How to Build a Successful Scout Platoon
by Sergeant First Class Shawn E. Wallace

SITUATION: You are a
newly assigned scout platoon sergeant to TF 03-00
and your unit has just deployed to CMTC for the
first time in a year. The
task force mission is to
attack in zone. The time is
0530 and the TF commander has just received
his brief from the S2 on the
reconnaissance effort. The
scout platoon was assigned
four NAIs (Named Areas
of Interest) in zone; out of
the four patrols tasked:

• One is confirmed destroyed in a minefield.
• One had to return to his
vehicle hide after moving
six kilometers to change out his short
whip antenna with a long whip.
• Third patrol’s plugger battery has
died and they’re without a compass, reporting enemy locations by sending
wrong grids.
• There’s been no commo with the
last patrol in four hours and, by the
way, the TF commander just found out
that the PL is with this patrol.
Unfortunately, too many times, this
same or similar scenario plays out here
at CMTC and, when leadership is asked
what happened and why, it’s almost
always the same answer. The TF gave
us a messed-up mission, undo-able, or
nobody listens to us. My question is
WHY? In this article, I’m going to
identify the WHY and also how we can
fix it.
The single best way to prevent this
kind of report is through training. Scout
platoons come to the CMTC undermanned mainly because soldiers do not
reenlist to be scouts. The scout platoon
is viewed as the detail platoon or sacrificial lambs when it becomes time for
the unit to conduct its mission. As an
O/C monitoring the scout reporting
nets, the spot reports are scrutinized in
such a manner that the report becomes
old and changes seem unbelievable
(i.e., scouts report BMPs at a specific
location, and the confusion infiltrates in

This also marks your starting point for daily physical
fitness. Set challenging but
realistic platoon goals, and
don’t stop until you hit the
mark. Provide incentives
and reward soldiers with
high PT scores; it challenges the others to do better.
2. Small arms marksmanship – Set up an M16
range and have everyone in
your platoon qualify at the
same time, whether they
need it or not. This allows
you not only to get everyone in tolerance, but it also
allows you to see the level
Photo by Robert L. Stevenson
of excellence at which your
platoon can run a range.
when the report doesn’t match the S2’s
Take the time to get one-on-one with
enemy sittemp).
your soldiers who have problems qualifying.
MISSION: Build a successful scout
platoon. The scout platoon sergeant has
3. Navigation – Withhold all pluga very important job. He has to train a
gers from the platoon for a time period.
platoon leader coming from a tank or
Set up a land navigation course, with
infantry platoon. The PSG also is redifferent day and night runs, and break
sponsible for the motivation, morale,
the platoon into two-man teams with
discipline, accountability, serviceabilcommo. Give the task, conditions, and
ity, and training of all soldiers and
standards, and run the course. This alequipment in his platoon.
lows you to see your strengths and
weaknesses in NCOs and juniors and
In my experience, as a scout from
how to direct your training. Afterwards,
squad leader to PSG, building a sucplace your strong navigators with the
cessful scout platoon greatly depends
weak. Once a month, send them out to
on three areas: assessment, training,
retrain.
and validation. The worst thing we can
do is jump into this new position and
4. Team building – Set up a 12-mile
make corrections in areas that are not
road march course with a detailed and
broken. This not only undermines your
challenging packing list, and break the
subordinate leadership, but it also builds
platoon down into their sections. Give
a wall between you and your soldiers
different incentives for best times,
that says, it’s all about me, your ideas
stagger their start times, and run the
are appreciated but not welcome.
course. This will allow you to see how
well your NCOs conduct PCIs (PreEXECUTION: Assessment, training,
Combat Inspections) and PCCs (Preand validation phases.
Combat Checks).
ASSESSMENT PHASE
5. Living area – Give your soldiers
their private space IAW the single solShortly after assignment as a scout
dier policy. At the same time, standardPSG, it is imperative that you begin an
ize some things across the board, i.e., a
immediate assessment in the following
clean and healthy environment; then
areas:
hold them accountable. It’s very impor1. Physical fitness – Administer a
tant to treat all your soldiers as men
diagnostic PT test and observe your
and women and not kids; they’re our
platoon’s strengths and weaknesses.
future NCOs.

ARMOR — September-October 2001

43

“This scout lane should take at least five days to run,
however, train to the standard and not to time. Remember the art to learning is through repetition....”
6. Off-post home visit – Make appointments to visit your soldiers’ homes
off post and spend no more than 20
minutes per visit. Meet their spouses.
See how your soldiers live, and ask
both wives and soldiers if they have
any problems with their home or landlord. When visiting junior soldiers, take
the section sergeant with you. Insist, no
meals! Soldiers don’t care how much
you know, until they see how much you
care.
TRAINING PHASE
The crawl, walk, run approach to training is one of the best ways to get everyone, down to your juniors, on the
same sheet of music.
1. Crawl phase:
The PSG is the primary instructor for
every class. On occasions, coordinate
classes to be taught by subject matter
experts (i.e., mortar NCO on call for
fire and S2 on the scout role as an intelligence collection asset, the importance
of accurate reports and IPB). The scout
platoon should train on everything from
tactics, techniques, and battle drills, including all seven forms of actions on
contact:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

Direct fire
Indirect fire
Red air
Obstacles
NBC
Radio jamming
Chance contact

Thoroughly teach and test reports.
Scouts must send timely and accurate
reports. Schedule a call for fire trainer
or set one up at your LTA (Local Training Area): a hill, a HMMWV with a
plugger and smoke to mark the area
called, and a target HMMWV. Scouts
must be proficient on call for fire.
The platoon’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is now under construction or revision based on whether the
platoon already has an SOP.
2. Walk phase:
Gather all materials needed and construct a sand table box for future missions. Show the platoon what scout
movement techniques look like on the
table. Go over battle drills and report
formats just like you would mounted.

44

The art of learning is through repetition.
Establish the scout platoon PCI and
give the platoon a mission to bring in
all designated items on a packing list.
Establish a checklist for your leaders
and an SOP for your vehicle load plan.
Settle for nothing less than what is published. Consider tactical movement and
safety. Always remember the doer will
do what the checker will check.
Oversee your scout platoon’s maintenance program, ensure it’s being done
IAW the TM. Develop a good working
relationship with the mechanics and
stay on top of parts ordered and deadlined vehicles. Always reinforce the
crew’s responsibilities.
Mount up and take the scout platoon
to the LTA and go over section movement techniques, battle drills, actions on
contact, casualty evacuation, assembly
area procedures, and the importance of
security IAW FM 17-98. Get the platoon used to responding to FRAGOS,
and not just reacting to them. No opposition needed.
The scout platoon should have a standard way they do business, OP (Observation Post) occupation, crossing danger areas, clearing ORPs (Objective
Rally Points), and OBJs (Objectives),
establishing TRPs (Target Reference
Points) and triggers, use of range cards
and sector sketches.
Get your leadership used to conducting their TLPs (Troop Leading Procedures) in a timely manner. Conduct a
good map recon and plan routes using
IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the
Battlefield) (think like the enemy) so
danger areas are avoided or approached
with caution.
Establish a scout platoon battle book
with a skeleton operations order,
WARNO (Warning Order), and all
needed reports. This book will also
include coordinating instructions and
questions for passage of lines, and coordinating with adjacent units.
REHEARSE,
HEARSE!

REHEARSE,

RE-

3. Run phase:
Establish scout platoon section STX
(Situational Training Exercise) lanes at
the LTA. Use either internal assets or
coordinate this training with other TF

scouts. When using internal assets,
break the platoon down into their four
respective sections. Build two scout
lanes IAW the scout MTP (Mission
Training Plan), two sections will provide opposition, one section will be in
the prep phase, and the other in the
execution phase. Ensure you have different scenarios for each section.
The PL will give an OPORD (Operations Order) to the section in the prep
phase, and the section sergeant will
begin to prepare for his mission. Base
areas to be trained on the strengths and
weaknesses of the platoon. The PL and
PSG will shadow the section as it negotiates the course to provide feedback
and C2.
The lane will have no less than the
following: control measures, an obstacle, an enemy OP, an enemy patrol, an
objective with targets for fire missions.
This scout lane should take at least
five days to run; however, train to the
standard and not to time. Remember
the art to learning is through repetition.
Don’t settle for anything less than a T
in execution. The PL and PSG will
conduct a hot wash AAR upon completion of the course.
The scout lane should be run both
mounted and dismounted to develop
infiltration techniques.
When the scout lane runs with another
scout platoon, the same concept is used,
except you have the capability to build
a longer lane with more scenarios and
opposition.
Always train individual tasks at crew
level. Train section tasks at platoon
level, and train platoon tasks at TF
level.
4. Validation phase:
Upon completion of the run phase,
publish a working copy of the scout
platoon SOP. The scouts should now be
ready to validate their training. NTC,
JROTC, and CMTC will provide that
validation. During the validation phase,
take notes and make refinements.
Scout gunnery is a special area of
emphasis on which the scout PSG and
PL focus. With the aid of a master gunner, together IAW FM 17-12-8, the
light scout gunnery field manual, or
FM 23-1, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
gunnery manual, establish a training

ARMOR — September-October 2001

program. The PSG takes the time to
plan and execute gunnery skills training
at individual and crew level. All ranges
and ammo are forecast and scheduled
three to six months in advance with
range control and S4.
Now, the scout platoon SOP is
proofed and ready for print. This SOP
includes, but is not limited to, garrison
duties of reception and integration, to
tactical operations, to deployment operations. The scout platoon SOP is designed to standardize the way the platoon does business. A new soldier
should be able to read this SOP and
understand how to plan and prepare for
future operations.
Conclusion
This article outlines a technique I have
successfully used as a scout PSG. Everything mentioned above is incorporated with a will to learn, hard work,
discipline, and no tolerance for failure
due to incompetence
Your soldiers will learn to work a
couple of skill levels higher than their
present level.
Always prepare and train as you will
fight! Keep your equipment as though
you are the ready platoon in DRF 1;
settle for nothing less. Your soldiers
will become so well rounded and flexible that they will be able to quickly
adapt to any situation.
SFC Shawn E. Wallace enlisted in
the army in 1982 as a cavalry
scout. He has served as a squad
leader, section sergeant, platoon
sergeant, S2 NCOIC, drill sergeant,
observer controller, and instructor.
His assignments include: 1/9th Cav,
Ft. Hood; 1-72 AR, Camp Casey;
2/9th Cav Ft. Stewart; 3/11th ACR,
Germany; 3-73 AR, Ft. Bragg;
2/13th Inf, Ft. Jackson; 2/5 Cav and
2/8 Cav, Ft. Hood; and CMTC,
Hohenfels, Germany. His military
schools include: Airborne, Air Assault, Drill Sergeant, NCO Battle
Staff, NBC, Opposing Forces Weapons Course, Light Armor Vehicle
Course, PLDC, BNCOC, ANCOC,
ITC, and SGI. Currently, he works
as an ANCOC instructor at the
NCO Academy at Fort Knox, Ky.

This amusing account, from the British armor journal, Tank, recounts
the impressions of British troopers attached to U.S. forces during a
search for weapons in the Balkans. From time to time, it is rewarding
to see ourselves as others see us.... - Ed.

Last One to Find a Gun Buys the Beers*

A Search Operation
in the Zegra Valley
by Trooper M. T. Llewellyn, British Army

Whilst on Op Flers, Corporal Nash,
Trooper Cheetham and myself were
attached to the Americans for a
search operation to see how they did
things differently to us. The night
before the operation, we attended
the American brief to see where we
would fit into the search. However,
nothing was said about our role because they all seemed more interested with the search dog than an
actual plan.
The brief went on for about 20
minutes, 15 of which were devoted
to the damn dog. One of the officers
asked the dog handler, ‘Hey, doesn’t
the damn dog ever get tired?’ and
the dog handler stood up and said,
‘Sir, yes Sir, the dog does get tired,
Sir, but we take it away for a rest
and then the dog and myself will
rock and roll again, Sir!’
In the morning, we parked up at
the front gate and waited for the rest
to turn up. The Americans arrived in
10 massive Humvees (4x4 jeeps)
ready for war. All of them wore
body armor, helmet and pistols,
carried rifles with grenade launchers, and had machine guns on all of
their vehicles. I thought we were
going to wait for an Apache escort,
but we left for the target house without air cover.
We pulled up at the house and
waited for the dogs to unload. We
were expecting spaniels or something like that, but the door of the
Humvee opened and two fiery-eyed
hellhounds jumped out, causing a

ARMOR — September-October 2001

mass dash of people trying to escape
a savaging. We let them search the
house first, on their own, which was
best for all of us.
When the dogs finally tired and
had gone to sulk in their Humvee
about not being allowed to eat anyone, we gathered our kit and went
into the house. When we do a search
on a house, two men do each room
so that we stay out of each other’s
way, and so that the house gets a
thorough going over. However, our
Yank colleagues have a competition
to see how many people they can
cram into one room, and so after a
day’s disorganized searching, they
had only found an AK-47 magazine,
whilst we had found a loaded 9mm
pistol. Everyone then congratulated
each other on being either members
of, or friends of members of, the
most fabulous country in the world,
and true defenders of democracy.
On a serious note, it was good to
see how other nations operate, and
the Americans were very friendly,
helpful, and just as keen as us. After
this mission, we moved on to patrolling once more, but it would be fun
to work with them again, and the
finds made the whole thing worthwhile.
(Reprinted with permission)
*While the Americans may be able to
purchase the beer, they would not be
permitted to drink it in either Bosnia or
Kosovo.

45

The Adventures of a Liaison Officer at the NTC
by Captain Clinton D. Alexander
FM 71-2 describes the duties of a liaison officer as follows,
Liaison officers (LO or LNO) are
commissioned and noncommissioned
officers who represent their commander at other headquarters. Through
personal contact, they promote cooperation and coordination, and facilitate
the exchange of information. LOs are
tasked with general coordination instructions in the task force SOP and
with specific coordination instructions
each time they are dispatched to another headquarters. Their role as task
force commander representative requires LOs to know all task force plans
and dispositions. LOs ensure that critical information is passed between the
task force headquarters and the headquarters to which they are dispatched.
When operating in the main CP, LOs
are supervised by the shift OIC.
This was the guidance I received in
May of 1999. I had recently finished a
stint as a company executive officer in
Charlie Company (Cobras) 1-64 Armor
at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and was told I
would finish my time in the unit in the
S3 shop before leaving for the Captain’s Career Course. The S3 was deployed, and his assistant (CPT Dan
Peck) told me I was going to be the
LNO, and that there was not a lot of
information on what an LNO does, but
that I could look in FM 71-2 for some
guidance. After reading the above guidance, the crusty master gunner said,
“the LNO is a Lieutenant with Nothing
to Offer.”
Non-deterred, I searched for more information. In FM 100-5, I found my
answer, “The Army provides specialized training (for example, language) to
liaison officers.” Now I was getting
excited; after all, I was going to language school. A year and a half later, as
I sat in the three shop with the Ironhorse Brigade in the 1st Cav, I realized
that I should have written down everything I learned as an LNO, and captured it for future LNOs. That way, the
next time I am at NTC executing my
duties in the brigade CP, the LNOs for
the battalions will have some TTPs to
work with.

46

The first question you need to discuss
prior to an NTC rotation is, who should
be your LNO? Some might say the
LNO should be a newly assigned captain; but for several reasons, I believe
that a senior first lieutenant would be
preferable. A senior first lieutenant —
one who’s been an XO or on staff for a
while — knows just about everyone in
the brigade. He knows who he can
trust, who he can’t, and who the “goto” guys in the units are. While the
newly assigned captain might have
more book knowledge, he probably
won’t have the contacts that the senior
lieutenant has developed. Instead, let
the new captain wow the staff with his
OPORD skills, battle captain prowess,
and CAS3isms.
Just as with any task in the Army, you
cannot just show up at the NTC and
expect to be a great LNO. The skills
you will learn during your train-up will
serve you well. During this train-up,
you will quickly learn what equipment
you will need. I could probably write
an entire article on what equipment you
will need as the LNO; the next couple
of paragraphs are just a synopsis.
Wheels – The first thing you’ve got to
have as the LNO is a set of wheels —
your own set of wheels. One thing you
will quickly learn is that the LNO is not
an MTOE position that comes with
driver, vehicle, weapon, etc. You have
to scrounge. During our NTC train-up,
I shared a HMMWV with the OPS
SGM. This worked out great until the
OPS SGM went to get chow. While he
was gone, the brigade called saying
there was a FRAGO to pick up. Since
the 1/3-2/3 rule requires you to get information to and from higher in a
timely manner, you’ll need a set of
wheels! If that means you commandeer
the OPS SGM’s HMMWV, leaving the
HHC 1SG to deliver chow to the TOC,
then so be it. In my case, I failed to
learn this rule. I let the master gunner
take back LOGPAC the second night in
the box, but he got lost, the OPS
SGM’s HMMWV broke down, and a
FRAGO, which drastically changed the
mission, was not picked up. From about
1700 ’til 2300, the FRAGO sat in the
TOC, waiting for someone to get it.

Field grades, for some reason, don’t
like to loan lieutenants their wheels, but
it doesn’t hurt to ask. The bottom-line
is, keep your own wheels. At NTC, you
can request to draw an extra HMMWV;
just work it out with your S4 ahead of
time.
Equipment – As LNO, you will need
a pack full of good staff officer equipment. You will need: acetate, pens,
computer disks, folders, zip-lock bags
for waterproofing orders, and 100 mph
tape, to name a few. Twice, the diazo
machine broke during our rotation,
once at brigade and once at battalion.
When this happens at brigade, you can
either wait until someone makes you a
copy of the graphics, or spring into
action, copy your own (neatly), and run
it back to your unit. The brigade will
normally put in the timeline when subunit graphics are due, so that the brigade can produce consolidated graphics. If your diazo breaks, take out the
markers and start copying. Here’s another TTP: if your diazo breaks, and
you are in good with the copy boys at
brigade, run a copy up there and use
their machine for your battalion. You
will be a hero. You’ll also need a compass (the TOC only had one GPS),
map, weapon, etc.
Commo – Along with some wheels,
you need some way to talk. At home
station, it may be difficult to find an
extra radio, but at NTC you can draw
one. This is important, so you can relay
information to the TOC. Also, get on
the SIGO, and make sure the DNVT or
MSRT (I don’t know the difference,
it’s a phone) in the TOC works. The
one at brigade will work, trust me. This
is a quick way to relay information
back and forth, without actually driving
all the way back to your TOC, to simply pass on the timeline or an answer to
an RFI (Request for Information). If
you can scrounge an OE 254, and a
couple of poles, you can also quickly
throw that up, to help improve your
range, which can be a challenge at NTC
given some of the distances.
Driver – If your TOC is short on personnel, your unit may not want to give
you a full-time driver. They might sim-

ARMOR — September-October 2001

ply give you one as needed, and put
him to work as RTO the rest of the
time. This is hogwash. You need a fulltime driver, who can do maintenance
on his own, knows how to copy graphics, and has excellent night driving
skills. My old driver was the best. SPC
Hill kept everything tight, and often
spent every night driving back and
forth from the brigade headquarters. If
he had to pull RTO all day, he would
have been a safety hazard for all the
night driving we did. Let him sleep,
make him pull maintenance, and you
will be all right.
With the basics established, I will now
cover some of the duties and some of
the TTPs I learned concerning mission
analysis. As the LNO, your home must
be the brigade or higher headquarters.
This is where you will develop a rapport with the planners, and pick up tidbits of information, which will help
your unit’s planners. Our sister battalion used their LNO as a battle captain
and TOC OIC. This worked great, until
he got lost going to brigade one night.
The reason he got lost was that he was
so strung out from doing everything
else, that he had not realized the brigade TOC had jumped. Also, by remaining at brigade, you can get what I
call a “bootleg” copy of orders. The
planner for the brigade would often
give me copies on disk of the OPORDs,
and FRAGOs before their approval,
and I would run it back to our battalion
planner. That way, he could begin writing our own order and save valuable
time. Once the order was approved, I
would then run the “real” copy down,
and the battalion staff could begin the
mission analysis, most of which was
hastily done with the “bootleg” copy.
You also should be at brigade to participate in their mission analysis and
wargame, and speak on behalf of your
battalion if asked for information. You
must also learn to read personalities
and know when to quit annoying everyone. There will be times when the
planners need some quiet time to write
the order, without some lieutenant bothering them.
Another thing you will need as the
LNO is information. Every time you
leave a TOC, write down every bit of
information you might need to know.
Every time I set foot in the brigade
TOC, the battle captain would ask,
“Hey 1-64, where are all your scouts
at?” Every time I left my TOC, I had a
standard list of information I would
write down. These were: slant and location of all our companies, location of

47

each scout section, our battalion timeline, copies of our latest orders and
graphics, and any RFIs that our staff
needed answered. You also will need a
good idea of your battalion’s scheme of
maneuver, because you will probably
be asked by the brigade 3 or commander. Not a time to start tap-dancing. Likewise, when you leave brigade, you will
need to be armed with the latest orders,
graphics, timeline, answers to RFIs,
and any guidance that your unit will
need. The first thing you will be asked
upon arrival at your unit is, “What time
is the rehearsal?” You must know.
Sometimes your unit will ask, “What
are they smoking at brigade?” This is
the time for you to share the brigade’s
logic for the tasks they assigned your
unit. You understand the brigade’s logic, because you sat in on the wargame.
Timely information is the most important thing you provide as an LNO.
Along with providing information,
you are also the link between the slice
elements and their higher headquarters.
In the brigade TOC, you will find combat engineer, ADA, fire support, and
other assets. These folks write orders,
but often have no way of getting them
to their subordinate units that are attached to maneuver battalions. Every
time I left the brigade TOC, I would
simply stop by each cell, and ask if
they had anything for the FSO, engineer, or ADA platoon leader. They
normally will have an order, or a copy
of their annex to give you far in advance of the issuing of the actual brigade order. This will help your attachments out immensely. You will normally get engineer, A2C2, and fire
support graphics to pass along to your
attachments as well.
This works both ways, because you
will need to run your attachment’s orders/graphics back up to their higher
HQ as well. Too many times after a
battle at the NTC, I would go into the
TOC and find unit orders and graphics
that were never picked up. It is not only
a waste of time and effort to copy these
orders, but important information that
could synchronize a battle could be
missed and lives could be lost.
The final area I want to discuss is the
personality of the LNO, what FM 71-2
calls the “human dimension” of combat
power. You have to be outgoing and
capable of finding who to go to. You
must be a diligent listener, and be able
to tell what is important and what is
not. You must have the ability to know
what your commander would say, if the
brigade commander asks you a ques-

tion. You have to be able to scrounge
parts, POL, Class I, and anything else
you might need. You have to be independent. There is no wingman to follow to the BDE CP, through Indian
country, at night, in the cold, as you
find out that the CP jumped since the
last time you were there. (Hint: use
your PVS-7s, and look for all the lights.
I always wondered how the OPFOR
found us.)
In closing, when I was given the job
of LNO, I was not thrilled. I thought I’d
get some sexy job like the mortars or
scouts. However, the information I
learned as the LNO thoroughly prepared me for the Captain’s Career
Course and for my next job as a brigade
assistant S3. Although I lost a lot of
sleep, was miserably cold, and didn’t
get to fight the OPFOR like when I was
a platoon leader, I learned more as the
LNO and got to watch some fine senior
officers at work.
On the future battlefield, orders may
be passed by leveraging technology
over a tactical internet. However, you
will never be able to replace that “human dimension” that an LNO provides.
A tactical internet will never be able to
answer those questions like, “What’s
brigade saying about us,” or “How’s
MAJ So-and-so holding up,” or “What
are they smoking at brigade?”
So do your job well, young LNO.
Others are depending on the timely
distribution of your information. As
one old friend used to say, “Getting the
battalions a 70 percent solution on time
is better than giving them the 90 percent solution too late.”
I’m still waiting; however, on the language school slot.
CPT Clinton Alexander is a 1996
Distinguished Military Graduate from
the Citadel. He was a tank platoon
leader in Charlie Company, 1-64
Armor at Fort Stewart, Ga. and
served as executive officer of C/164, and then as the LNO/assistant
S3 in 1-64 AR. After leaving Fort
Stewart, he attended the Armor
Captain’s Career Course, followed
by CAS3 at Fort Leavenworth. He
returned to Fort Knox to attend the
Cavalry Leaders Course and the
M1A2 Tank Commander Certification Course. Currently, he is assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division,
where he serves as an assistant S3
in 1st Brigade (Ironhorse).

ARMOR — September-October 2001


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