[FoRK] Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood
owen at permafrost.net
Fri Apr 30 20:16:58 PDT 2004
Hey Mr. Special Forces/In The Know
The current scramble to get more TANKS to Iraq doesn't seem to fit your
previously advanced views on
modern combat. Whats up with that?
*U.S. rushes more tanks to Iraq*
Thu 29 April, 2004 01:20
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has rushed more tanks and other
armoured vehicles to Iraq in response to requests from commanders
grappling with a worsening security situation, a top American general says.
The move to fortify U.S. forces with armour like the M1A1 Abrams tank
and Bradley Fighting Vehicle reverses a decision made just months ago
that less heavy armour would be needed for troops rotating into Iraq in
the first half of 2004 amid hopes for an improving security environment.
Marine Corps Major General John Sattler, U.S. Central Command's director
of operations, told reporters at the Pentagon from Qatar on Wednesday
that some additional tanks and armoured personnel carriers already had
arrived in Iraq and more were headed there.
Sattler said the armour was requested by Marine Corps and Army units
trying to quell unrest in the so-called Sunni Triangle area that has
been a hotbed of resistance to the American-led occupation of Iraq.
The requests were made by the commanders of the Marines engaged in the
flash-point city of Falluja and other areas west of Baghdad and the
Army's First Infantry Division, operating out of Tikrit, Sattler said.
A U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "a
couple dozen" Abrams tanks were sent from Germany to the First Infantry
Division in Iraq, and the Marines were getting probably a similar number
of additional tanks.
The official did not give the number of Bradleys or other armoured
Violence has flared dramatically this spring -- a year after a U.S.-led
invasion toppled President Saddam Hussein -- and April has been the
deadliest month of the war for American troops. The Pentagon said at
least 124 U.S. troops have been killed this month, and 724 killed in the
13 months of hostilities in Iraq.
LEAVING ARMOR BEHIND
Sattler sought to explain the reasoning behind deploying units to Iraq
while leaving some of their armour behind.
"As the security environment was moving in a very positive direction,
the need for tanks and tractored vehicles was overshadowed by the need
for wheeled vehicles and warriors on the ground," Sattler said.
"Counter-insurgency requires you ... to actually engage and work with
the population. And that's tough to do from inside a tank or a Bradley
or an armoured personnel carrier," he added.
But Sattler said the "when they got here and the security environment
changed" commanders requested more heavy armour. Sattler did not specify
the number of additional vehicles being delivered to the commanders.
Iraqi insurgents have staged regular attacks on U.S. military vehicles
and convoys using rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs, some of
which have been powerful enough to topple tanks. Many of the U.S.
casualties in Iraq have come in attacks on standard Humvees or
General Larry Ellis, head of Army Forces Command, recently wrote a memo
to the Army's top general saying the "Up-Armoured" Humvee, or
High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, was not sufficiently
protecting troops in attacks. He urged that more of the Stryker, the
Army's new armoured vehicle now being used by U.S. forces in parts of
northern Iraq, be sent to Iraq.
Ellis said in a statement on Wednesday his memo, leaked to journalists,
"has been misconstrued."
"The Up-armoured HMMWV has saved lives and prevented injury on numerous
occasions and continues to be the best, immediately available solution
to the challenges of the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan," Ellis said.
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