L-188
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Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sat Oct 02, 2004 3:15 pm

One of the reasons why I have have felt that american forces have been so successful of the feild of battle the past century is our inbred ablitity to adapt, improvise and overcome.

There are several examples of this happening, where troops on the field have been able to inmprovise specialized equipment to get the job done, Hedgerow cutters on tanks being probably one of the more famous ideas, another one was the gun truck of Vietnam.

A gun truck was typically a 2 1/2 or a 5 ton truck retrofitted with armor plating and a number of automatic weapons meant to escort covoys through the jungle. These trucks typically had anything from 7.62 machine guns for armament up to old WWII vintage Quad 50 machine gun mounts.

Well fast forward to the present day in Iraq where insurgents trying to make attacks on convoys. There currently aren't enough of the new striker vehicles to provide escort and tanks and other tracked vehicles are too slow, maintaince and cost expensive for that role.

So roll back in the modern Gun truck.



This vehicle puts together a old 800 series 5 ton truck with the 4 inch aluminum armour of the M113 Armored Personel carrier. The glass is from an uparmored Humvee. Currently the vehile only has the single .50cal mount on top in the standard 113 mount.
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NWA742
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sat Oct 02, 2004 3:20 pm

That looks like one hell of an awesome machine, great news that they're making a comeback.




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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:50 am

The South Africans have had armored personnel trucks on the market for a while, I wonder what would prevent them from installing a twin .50 or a Mk.19 .50 on a Casspir?
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:54 am

Well the company that made the Casspir from what I understand is out of buisness.

I have felt for a long time that the US military really should have looked closed to the South African experience in Angola. There was a reason why they developed all of those mineproof vehicles.

The .060 sheet aluminum of a Humvee isn't armour.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:56 am

What about the pig, the old British Sarazen wheeled APC of Northern Ireland fame? It is at least bullet proof.

Jan
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zak
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:59 am

ali with the rpg thanks the u.s. for providing them with a barndoor sized "soft" target.

the only control for medium to heavy insurgency is a tank at every crossroad, not worrying too much about collateral damage. the u.s. forces in iraq should have used the lessons of the russians in chechnya in regard to COIN(apart from the one that you will even be vulnerable after turning a city into a parking lot like they did with grozny).

they have built the BTR-T based on the T-55 tank chassis( http://www.rbs.ru/vttv/99/Firms/KBTM/efsf/btr-t-f.htm ), if the u.s. wants some riot control stuff, they should just redo old m1's or m60's, clad them in thick layers of ERA from israel and change the armament to something more suited to COIN in MOUT.
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:01 pm

I dunno zak.

There is a proposal to cut a couple of holes in the back of that 113 and stick a couple of 7.62mm miniguns on each side.....sort of like the British male and female tanks of WWI.

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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:02 pm

I think it was absorbed by Denel. The defence industry in RSA has gone through some serious changes but they retain the ability to produce their excellent armored vehicles. The Humvee is not, nor was it designed to be bulletproof. It is resistant to shrapnel up to a certain size and velocity, but the idea of the guntruck scares me because it is a retreat into the convoy mentality we were discussing in reference to the French in Vietnam in the other thread.

I do see a need, however, and I hope the Stryker is proving its worth...is there any word yet from the field?
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:08 pm

Ian,

I still see the problem of supply convoys over predictable routes. You can eliminate this problem, at least for smaller outposts, by flying in supplies by helicopter (The British did this in Northern Ireland), but you will still have to supply larger garrisons by truck. As far as I understand, the idea was not to use armed convoys like the armoured trains of the Russian revolution to control areas, but just to guard supply convoys, to have some mine, RPG and bullet proof vehicles distribute throughout the convoy to provide covering fire in case of an attack.

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:13 pm

That BTR-T parellels the Israeli "Arczerit" (I know the spelling isn't even close) Same idea, a T-54 conversion to a heavily armourd APC.

The problem with those conversions in this application is that they are too slow to keep up with convoys, which means that if you want to use them in escort the convoy has to slow down, and therefore stay in the danger area longer.

Which is why the Strykers are reportedly excellent in this role, armored, armed and speedy enough to keep up with the trucks, which limits everybody's exposure time.

Actually rather then a M-113 I would rather see a surplus M163 sitting on top. They reportedly did well in Nam too with that 20mm.

Here are some of the Vietnamese versions that inspired this rig.





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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:19 pm

Well, then take a modern tank as a chassis, like the Leopard 2, they can easily do 80 km/h and I don´t think the trucks a faster. Give it some quadruple 20mm cannon and you´ll have plenty of fire support.

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:24 pm

To be honest by the time you go thorough the mod program on a modern chassis you might as well have brough purpose built APC's. In the case of the Israeli T-54 conversion, They converted it to run engine forward (Tanks typically are on the back) and a whole bunch of work.

I have heard several reports on other internet sites that during the fighting in Falluja that the Bradleys where actually prefered for fire support o the Abrams. Apparently the smaller Bradley is more manuverable in built up areas and the smaller 25mm has a wider raidius of movement the the big M1 gun.

The other think is that while tracks have several advantages, there are also a lot of disadvantages, For example flatten a tire on a Styker and you can run on the other seven. Loose a link one a track and you have a mobility kill.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:28 pm

As Zak said, the problem is the suicidicaly inclined idiot with an RPG hiding behind a wall. And for this you´ll need more armour than a M113 can provide. I don´t know though if it could stand the attachment of ERA.

Jan
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zak
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:30 pm

yeah l-188, the israeli approach is always a good hint at what works well in such enviroments. here is a very informative link http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/vehicles/armored_personnel_carriers/achzarit/Achzarit.html to the achzarit. it also has the vehicle i think is best for the task, the nakpadon: http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/vehicles/engineer_vehicles/nakpadon/Nakpadon.html

something like that should be 10 times more useful compared to strykers and humvees or bradleys. the only downside, as you have mentioned, is convoy protection speed. modern engines and mods to the tracks might improve that, but generally speaking i think we agree on that a convoy needs speed more.
these vehicles are perfectly suited for COIN though since they have certain attributes that vehicles made for cavalary tasks on the field of europe(bradley) are not as capable of. the stryker does totally lack armor, the bradley also gets its share of losses due to its rather thin(normal for APC's, their purpose is mainly to protect inf from artillery not direct heavy fire) armor.
the russians and israelis, the only armies that have vast experience in urban warfare with modern tools of the trade, both seem to agree on that you want MBT armor apcs with a good dose of ERA slapped on against those pesky fools hiding behind corners with rpgs.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:36 pm

Zak,

I think the Nakpadon gives problems when it comes to the infantry to mount or dismount as they have to get in and out of the top, with very little protection. I think a vehicle with a big door at rthe rear would be better. The hatch on top should stay though for observation purposes.

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:40 pm

Well the downside of the Israeli experince in this regard is that generally because of the smaller size of the country compared to Iraq. So while such equipment would be very applicable for operations in Fallujah or Samara, road convoy escort operations should look elsewhere for inspiration.....which is where South African and Vietnam might be better models.

Frankly I think we need armored D-9 Cats for urban fighting before Axhzarits and nakpadon type vehicles in urban surroundings, and before that gun truck type vehicles for these escort missions.
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:44 pm

Exactly if you look at the photo of that Achzarit in the link that Zak put up, you notice the very small rearward exit door. That was a sacrifice that had to be made to acommodate the powerpack. but it also restricts how fast you can dismount that vehicle.

A wide door at the rear, so that the dismounting infantry has protection from the vehicle is ideal. Anybody remember the opening scenes from "Saving Private Ryan" where the germans are firing down into the throat of the Landing craft before the guys can clear it?

If you want an heavily armored APC on a modern chassis, you are probably going to be better off working from a clean sheet, borrowing components as needed and then getting something that is better layed out.

[Edited 2004-10-03 05:46:52]
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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:40 am

Sorry I dropped out for a day here....

L-188 The problem with using D-5B or D anything Cats is that they are not designed to run at full speed along roads for long periods. I remember having to convoy the things down firebreaks and roads and they were forced to stop every mile or two to let the turbos cool and prevent other overheating. They are big on torque but not so on legs. The use of the BFV's (Bradley or Burning), with reactive armor to defeat RPGs, to clear insurgents in the cities is probably the best solution because they have the chain gun as well as a machine gun, and they can carry troops to use as protection against ambush from an enemy grunt with a can-opener. It would be nice to use tanks, but they are too vulnerable for the expense in a city. they cannot turn as effectively and they are somewhat overkill. An LGW-Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (Germany)">HE round from the 120mm gun destroys entire houses and ruins blocks. Kind of the elephant gun on a porcupine theory.

Jan..taking the problem of having to resupply large garrisons over predictable routes is the biggest issue. Aircraft can take some of the burden for the smaller garrisons, but for the bigger cities we are working two avenues.

One, since it is impossible to use tracked vehicles to escort convoys at high speed over hardball without tearing up the asphalt and tracks and otherwise wearing out the vehicles, it seems the Strykers are doing a good job of convoy escort. They have the speed necessary as well as adequate firepower. I now that several of my buddies wish they still had M113 mounted Vulcans, and they have suggested a 25 mm mount as the Marines have, but they are able to provide the security needed to dissuade most attacks from terrorists.
Two, the Iraqi military has recently been equipped with small observation aircraft from Jordan and will begin to use these for pipeline patrol as well as MSR patrols. They are less expensive as well as less observable (lower profile and less noise than an A-10 or F-16) and they can go slower and lower to see activity on the ground. Now is the time we need a good COIN bird, and one former OV-10D pilot has expressed to me that he thinks it would be an excellent bird for the job of terrorist/insurgent interdiction on the roads and pipelines. I wonder how many warbirds operators or if Thailand or Colombia would give some OV's or A-37s back for a little while. These would be perfect for the job. Unless we want to start a new line for AD-1 Destroyers, which Boeing would do if properly instructed.

THe problem with laying waste to the city is a'la Russian action in Chechnya is that we can look at previous examples of this in Stalingrad, HUe City and others to see that if you destroy the homes of the people you will firm the support of the true enemy and it is even harder to take over a city if there is lots of rubble to hide in. We need to be careful about how we work for the hearts and minds, as we are making progress. These people have not ever had anyone acting on their behalf, so we have to continue to make every possible effort to make them see we are not the enemy. As long as we avoid wholesale destruction tactics and the terrorists are the ones killing children 35 at a time, we will gain in cooperation and the terrorists and insurgents will lose support. We have to figure out how to protect ourselves in the meanwhile.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:52 am

Ian,

Exactly, you´ve got to keep damage to innocent people to a minimum to drain the support for the terrorists. BTW, it is also quite likely that e.g. a family has a house in a tacticaly good position for an ambush, they will be ordered out by the terrorists, as happened in Northern Ireland, or they would face retribution as "traitors" by the terrorists.
In urban Northern Ireland a killing ground was often a completely deserted street, but all doors of the houses left unlocked, so that the terrorists could use them to get away. I´ve read of a British Army patrol, which noticed something was wrong because suddenly the whole street was quiet. They managed to hide in one of the houses, just before they got into the fire sector of the IRA machine gun at the other end of the street. When one of the IRA came looking for them (the provos knew the patrol had entered the street, but disappeared), they grabbed him, used him as a hostage and human shield to get out. Very lucky those guys. The inhabitants of the street have been told a few hours before by the provos that it would be for the best of their health if they would leave their houses for a few hours and don´t ask questions.

Jan
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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:09 am

Jan,
We got classes from the guys in 2 Para and No 9 Co RE (Para) and they said that Northern Ireland was the most frustrating place because one minute your'e playing football with a group of kids, then you find they are distracting you from the activities of a bomber or hit team nearby, and you are forced to treat a group of 14 year olds who are looking for adventure as terrorists. They also had differing opinions of what the best courses of action are to defeat an entrenched insurgency, but they all agree that the less mayhem and damage that occurs to non-combattants the better. The catch-22 there is that you never really know who the combattants are. Civilians are often forced into bending whichever way the wind is blowing that day in order to keep their home in place and not get killed or imprisoned by one side or the other. We saw this in VIetnam when villagers were scared equally of the VC and the ARVN.

The real solution is to teach the citizens that their best defence is their own preparedness to defend themselves and that if they stay unified in the face of threats terrorists and insurgents will be force to go elsewhere as they cannot fight large groups of people. In Vietnam there was some success with the MIKE force and CIDG Battalions. We lost sight of that when we tried to fight a set piece war, and the politicians lost their courage and started meddling, but it worked better in Central America where we trained the militaries to defeat the insurgents while supporting the civil population. They went through some bad times when rogue military and upper class business people and planters used their own terrorists, but in the end it was proven that if you show people the way to peace is to empower them politically and show them that you will protect them and even let them help protect themselves the idea of chaos or disorder will lose its appeal. Civil populations are looking for the leaders who will protect them and provide an enviroment where they can live in peace.

The problem is that it takes a couple of battles to prove it to the bad guys, and the good guys always lose too many. It is a delicate balancing act. The civilians in Iraq are still joining the police and national guard, and they are for the most part working in the right direction, but we are at the delicate stage where it could go either way, and if we falter here the civil pop will be endangered by the terrorists looking to bully their way into power. Solutions to these problems we are looking at are being sought by people right now and I really hope they are getting it right here again, as the stakes are very high.
We prevented the spread of communism in Central America and eventually helped spread democracy. It is still developing and not yet perfect, but go there and see how many show up to vote when it is time..they are not letting go of the franchise, and their children know of no other way now. Small things like the right way to defend convoys and prevent mayhem and disorder will go a long way to getting these people their freedom secured.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:19 am

Another thing, start with democracy at bottom level, like village and neighbourhood comittees and local mayors, not to go straight for presidential election. You guys did the same thing in Germany, let the people practise democracy in things which concern them directly, under supervision. later it can always be expanded once the mindset is accepted. Also, it is very important that the population sees within short terms that democracy improves their lifes. People with a job and a family generally don´t join radical groups. Let as much as possible of the reconstruction work be done by locals, not by foreign contractors.

Jan
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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:52 am

You are correct in your ideas that democracry starts locally, and in Iraq every town not under military siege has an elected mayor or political body that is in charge of things. The allied military presence is there for security, not civil administration. The people of Iraq are doing most of the work. Most of the contractors are either teaching critical skills or supervising the work being done. The internal expertise Iraq needs is being retrained and will be the prime contracting source as soon as they can manage it. No one really wants to pay for US contractors any longer than possible, as it requires politically difficult funding votes in congress.

The terrorists and insurgents know this as well, which is why they are targeting civil workers and bystanders as much as military targets now. Another reason to do what is possible to improve worksite and convoy security.
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:24 pm

Dl021,

I wasn't refering to using them as convoy escorts, but rather the same way the israeli's use the, demolish buildings out from under the snipers that are using them as nexts. As you note, they are dinosars but in the right application very effective.

There are several turrets available to the LAV/Stryker chassis, from 25mm up to the 40mm bofers. I would think the heavier Bofers would be ideal for chewing up enmplaced positions in buildings.

Actually what I told a friend of mine who is just about ready to deply what they needed was the old Ontos turret mounted on a small tracked or wheeled vehicle.

One of the things that is sorely missing is a way to effectivly attack fixed positions. The US Army needs to bring back the M40.


MD11Engineer,

I agree with you on that. For quite a while now I have thought that the current establishing goverment policy has been 180 out of phase, You start with letting the local people elect and then you move to state/province, country ect. Doing the way the US appears to be is like putting the jelly on a sandwhich before the peanut butter.
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flight152
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:30 pm

They should make a street legal version for moms that need to pick up the whole soccer team.  Laugh out loud
 
L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:43 pm

Hey "Mad Max" would be proud.


Anyway, does seem like something out of junkyard wars doesn't it.
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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:18 pm

l-188
OK..in the case that you are interested in breaking down the city, the US already has what is probably the best equipped weapon system to do this. The M-728 CEV, based on the M-60 chassis, is equipped with a boom, a dozer blade, a 165MM gun that fires HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) rounds for building implosion, and carries the .50 cal and coax 7.62. It does not carry extra troops, but it would be a realistic option to carry out destructive sniper hide denial operations. It cannot keep up with modern armored forces, but in a city the speed is not as critical. THe other option using in-inventory equipment is to use the M-9 ACE, with some form of armament bolted on for self defence.
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:52 pm

I don't belive that particular piece of equipment is still in service.

They where supposed to recieve those M-1 Abrams based Grizzlies but that programs keeps getting delayed.

And the M-9 while a very interesting piece of gear, is actually pretty lightly armoured. I understand that during the 1st gulf war when they where using them to clear the tank traps the Iraqi's had dug, the had to bring up M2 Bradleys to provide fire support.
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dl021
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:00 pm

The M-728 is pretty much out of service, there were not that many to begin with. They are still sitting in parks right now, however, and if the army chose to they could bring them out of mothballs. The Grizzly is definitely being delayed, and the ACE is cool, but as I said it would have to be up-armored. The things are not intended for the purpose you gave. I was just looking for a realistic solution that the army could draw from existing materiel.
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:39 pm

True, but is that 165mm still around or has that all been burned as obsolete?

To me the Bulldozer is the realistic solution, it is just a matter of getting the bulldozers from Catapillar and the armored cab kits from IAI.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:08 pm

On the other hand consider the political and sociological implications if you decide to tear down all buildings within 200 yards of a convoy route, destroying people´s homes. Don´t you think the terrorists would suddenly get lots of support by people p*ssed off that the Americans broke down their houses? Just look at Israel...
In a post further up I gave an example from Northern Ireland that the people often don´t give their houses to the terrorists voluntarily, but get threatened.
I think a house clearing operation by infantry, though more dangerous to the soldiers, would bring more benifits in the long run, if you intend to dry up the terrorist swamp.

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:11 pm

I wasn't quite going that drastic, MD11.

Just the ones that shooting is actively taking place from.

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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:18 pm

What about using counter snipers?

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Gun Trucks Make A Comeback.

Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:26 pm

That works too,

Depends on the situation though.

Best thing is to have many tricks available.

A lot of reading I have done about flushing out German snipers during WWII in Holland involved sending a squad around the back of the building while you hit the front with bazookas or tank fire....something that exploded.

They the squad in the back guns down the sniper as they flee the nest.





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