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Slide 2b of 41
Ground Maneuver Forces: Co-dependency or Independence?
Societies have a love/hate relationship with their armies tasked to protect them. All too often if an army commander has too much independence, he could turn on the people and take over the government with the weak co-dependents under his charge blindly following his orders. When army commanders are not making themselves as the new Caesar, the negative consequences of such civil-military distrust is a weak, incompetent military when it comes to fighting external threats. This takes the form of Congress continuing to supply the military with garrison junk like comfy barracks, and the old men generals and admirals obsessed with "controlling" subordinates bogging them down with "mother may I?" electronics gear to micro-manage what they are doing. Co-dependency is a form of social control; if you depend on someone you are not likely to attack their corruption; you need that direct deposit paycheck to make the car payment. However in WAR, having a weak military structure composed of weak people on a short umbilical cord is easily defeated by a comparably sized and equipped enemy who can think and adapt. Despite American claims of valuing "freedom" and "independence" right now neither are tolerated in our PC age even in the current "Patriotic Correct" right-wing manifestation.
However, in war, independence and self-sufficiency are needed so you can freely attack the enemy. The best example of this being decisive is Civil War Union General Sherman cutting out all his camp furniture so he and his men could travel light on their feet in two "flying columns" free from the umbilical cord of rail lines telegraphing their intended directions to the confederates. Since this time, the mechanization and computerization of society has morphed into the current dependency of throw away items hindering the creation of independence and self-sufficiency in our military ground forces which requires a conscious decision to use DURABLE AND SELF-SUSTAINING ITEMS. The current wasteful, throw-away society American war formula looks like below:
Replacement Men---------------UMBILICAL----->Fighting Units
As you can see, all the enemy has to do is cut that umbilical cord and the fighting units wither on the vine and are defeated as the encirclement of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1953-4 showed. To keep supply/logistical lines safe you need to push all enemies to your front and we simply lack the mass mobilization WW2 force densities to do this today with volunteer armies. On the non-linear battlefield (NLB) everyone has to fight and work, all teeth and no tail just like General Gavin's Paratroopers and Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
What we propose is that we create independent operational maneuver groups (OMGs) like Sherman's flying columns so there not only is no umbilical cord for the enemy to cut, but we can out-guerrilla the guerrilla in non-linear wars. If you look at Sherman's flying columns you see that you first must have a renewable ENERGY SOURCE.
Renewable Energy Source
Sherman's renewable energy source was the biological engines of his own men and horses. As long as they stayed fed and healthy they could move at 4-7 mph. He did not need fossil fuel. His men could forage for food from civilian farms and his horse cavalry could graze the grass, everyone "living off the land". These are skills EVERY U.S. Soldier should have today by SERE training, water purifier pumps and cultural training of living in foreign countries as civilian students before wars. Every Soldier should have a holistic load bearing/field living system so like Sherman's men he can move at 4-7 mph on foot and 10-25 with carts/bicycles. This is what Bill Lind and others (Canby, Uhle-Wettler, Poole, Sparks) propose in their Light Infantry designs.
Replacement Men- - -- --> Fighting Units move by human power
* collect/purify own water
* recharge ALL of their own batteries by hand/pedal generation
* moves stealthfully at 1-25 mph
* 3-5 days of operations certain
Current tactical radios because self-power generation is not factored in try to operate as long as possible by using very expensive Lithium-Ion batteries that are not rechargeable, but results in foot infantry burdened with carrying heavy, extra batteries and to compromise their position to meet up with supply drops to insure their "lifeline" to outside fire support stays open. Peda-Generator sets are now available off-the-shelf to charge not only all types of flashlight, night vision device, laptop batteries but tactical radio batteries and the radios themselves DIRECTLY if we can get the tactical radio makers to wake up and integrate pedalgen via the necessary outlets.
Machine Protected Mobility to Solve Problems Beyond Human Bio Machine Reach
However, this is just the start point not the end state. The battlefields of today are dominated by High Explosive (HE) weaponry beyond what the human body can endure, and we are not a third world country baby machine that can keep throwing replacement men to keep a human body-only light infantry machine running like the VC/NVA did.
While Lind has been struggling with this and propping up his LI with outside help from fossil fuel wheeled trucks and armored tracks as a concession for OPEN TERRAIN, we at the 1st TSG (A) have been working on creating the MINIMALIST fossil fuel, renewable energy center possible, which can drastically improve CLOSED TERRAIN fighting capabilities, too. And the answer is the LIGHT TRACKED ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLE or "tank" not the armored car/truck. If the tracked tank is fully optimized with hybrid-electric drive, band tracks and is well armored with v hull shaping undernerath to defeat mine blasts and sloped on top yet is simple and under 25 tons so it DOES NOT become a repair parts and fossil fuel hungry monster creating a logistical tether to fighting units. However, it must be paid for by eliminating useless wheeled trucks that cannot go cross country and are 28% less space/weight efficient than tracks.
Mechanized maneuver up to 60 mph in light tracks with multiple layers of armor, excellent shaping and stealth can prevent damage to the human bodies of the fighting force in the first place while delivering massive quantities of supplies of ammunition, food, water so independent OMG operations can take place. The "mother" light track recharges batteries, and carries its own repair parts so as long as it can be resupplied with fossil fuel its a reliable energy source for the OMG. However, once human bodies cease to be able bodied, the track can move wounded men who would bog down even the force with Human Powered Vehicles at least with a 1-to-1 ratio.
Less Replacement Men-----UMBILICAL----> Fighting Units move by tracks/foot
* Simple, easy-to-maintain, go-anywhere light tracks
* protects men from enemy fires, burrowing capabilities
* can clear own landing strips for airland resupply and extraction for 3D maneuver
* collect/purify own water
* recharge own batteries by vehicle/hand/pedal generation
* moves stealthfully at 1-60 mph
* Amphibious can swim
* 30 days of operations certain
If you get at the essence of it, there are two things that "do not grow on trees" in modern war, ammunition and refined fossil fuels.
Less Replacement Men- - - - - -> OMGs
If fuel, water and ammo are carried in quick detachable trailers ("rucksacks for tracks") the umbilical need can be eliminated for short periods of time and reduced over the long haul of a campaign. If Vulture weapons brackets are used, as enemy ammunition is captured it can be turned on their former owners. If Soldiers actually practice taking captured gasoline and adding oil Ralph Zumbro style to work in their diesel engines, OMGs can "live off the land" they are moving through if the humans there have previously done the work for us.
An all-teeth and no "tail" force could fight, live and rest in well designed light tracks if they have either toilets/showers built in or in trailers. However, human beings during a long war will need some kind of larger encampment offering more protection and room than living out of combat tracks or flimsy tent cities. Failure to realize this need and take care of it has resulted in U.S. forces moving into former dictator palaces in Iraq and so inflaming the locals that a rebellion has sprung up that will lead to our strategic retreat from the area as unwanted guests who overstayed their welcome.
ISO Container Battle Boxes for mobile but fully protective Forward Operating Bases
Once you have powerful armored tracks as a mobility and energy source, its possible to transport special ISO Sea/Air/Land containers in tow which contain even more amounts of vital ammo, food, water, parts supplies and can be hardened above ground with earth filled walls or dug into the ground to be troop living bunkers. The lethality of the modern NLB with cruise missiles, theater ballistic missiles, mass destruction weapons on top of artillery, mortars, car/truck and human bombs makes it imperative that we DISPERSE, CAMOUFLAGE and BURROW ourselves by mobile BattleBoxes. We can avoid inciting rebellions by living temporarily in BattleBoxes in uninhabited rural areas. Pedal, solar and batteries cool, light and operate electrical devices within the BattleBoxes so no fossil fuels have to be delivered via vulnerable convoys (a ground umbilical) to keep a power grid running.
The Ultimate OMG Centerpiece: nuclear-powered tanks
The U.S. Navy's submarines show how they are semi-independent via nuclear power in that they only are limited by human food and the weaponry needing replacement. They create even their own oxygen to breath!
Preferred Food- - - - - - - - - - - - - ->Nuclear Submarines
In Jules Verne's "20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea" his men gather food from under the sea to feed themselves, but a full-time warship cannot afford this distraction, though its true that a nuclear submarine with a peaceful existence could for 20 years at a time imitate a fish in a mechanical way and enable the humans inside to live there without need of artificial societal resupply. If there was ever a way for mankind to survive a nuclear or climatical world wide catastrophe, an undersea "Noah's Ark" might be the way since the oceans would offer a reliable nomadic food supply that living underground couldn't offer. You would need to grow food underground; and this would be a spaceship like possibility for the survival submarine, too.
The ultimate answer though would be essentially limitless nuclear power in a "Super Tank" that could power the tank's electric motors, distil drinking water from sea and raw water sources, and charge the battery packs for dismounted troop laser weapons as well as offer unlimited numbers of shots for its own larger power laser weapons.
Preferred Food--- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ->Nuclear tank
The following short story outlines what a "SuperTank" could do.
SUPERTANK: THE RETURN OF THE YANKEE CHEESEBOX
War broke out suddenly in the Far East without warning.
Within seconds, thousands of artillery and rocket shells were raining down on the Asian countryside of the prosperous U.S. ally living at ease in materialistic splendor.
Following the horrific barrages that exploded gas stations, flattened civilian city blocks as well as wiping out parked rows of Army ground vehicles and aircraft came swarms of enemy tanks and infantry pouring across the countryside.
Flying high overhead, the U.S. radar aircraft's screens turned into christmas tree lights of enemy targets as fighter-bombers were desperately vectored in to strafe and bomb. But the size and ferocity of the attack had caught the allies off-guard and the enemy within 4 hours was already on the outskirts of the capital city. Refugess fleeing the carnage had clogged the streets with civilian cars which when enemy shells landed upon them turned them into highways of flaming death. Panic set in as people ran for their lives on foot. All the roads clogged the friendly army could not react with reinforcements to stop the enemy invasion.
Back in Hawaii and Alaska, the U.S. Army's Stryker wheeled armored car motorized infantry brigades were alerted and began loading C-17 aircraft to fly into a blocking position to hopefully be more successful than Task Force Smith in 1950. On Okinawa, marines were loading ships and planes to be thrown into the fight on foot without any armored vehicles though they brought lots of rubber-tired trucks. The rest of the all-wheeled U.S. Army mostly on foot but some in the new wheeled Future Combat System (FCS) family of 20-25 ton armored cars was alerted to fly at once to the threatened country after the Stryker armored car brigades were shuttled in.
Despite massive bombing from the USAF and Navy, the enemy had now intermingled itself with the civilian populace and their artillery barrage shifted farther south to crush and and all reinforcements as special forces troops destroyed ports and airfields. The situation was extremely grave.
While this was happening, Army Reservists Nick Jones and Mike Lockwood were putting their finishing touches on their DARPA/UDLP project light tank/APC that was nuclear-powered. Able to carry 4 infantry troops in the back, their "Gavin II" was based on M113 components and a new hull of advanced materials/protection shooting a turreted high-energy laser of unlimited amount of "kills" thanks to the nuclear reactor. They watched CNN and the news with trepidation.
After a fierce firefight the Paratroopers of the 1st/501st had secured a runway from the enemy commandos for the Stryker brigades to airland. 72 hours after the invasion the U.S. had one brigade of motorized infantry on the ground in the center and one brigade en route to land on the coast to link up. The enemy sensing some kind of Pusan perimeter pummeled the tiny force mercilessly with artillery fire, shredding the tires of all of their Stryker armored cars. The entire brigade would have to walk exposed to merciless enemy fire. The Brigade was soon surrounded by enemy troops.
Meanwhile on the coast, the marines landed unopposed but when they moved inland found the roads clogged with refugees and burning cars that they couldn't push out of the way or drive over. Moving off-road into the many rice paddies, their trucks became stuck and had to be abandoned as enemy artillery fire found them and forced them to scatter. If they pressed inland to reinforce the Army Stryker troops they themselves would become encircled. The marines set-up a perimeter to hold on to their beachhead with their backs to the sea and hope for reinforcements.
The situation critical, the President of the United States authorized the use of nuclear weapons. The enemy countered by publicly threatening to set off a nuke of their own in the capital city. The surrounded Stryker brigade was asked to surrender or be annihilated. Their commander refused and a huge concentration of artillery fire destroyed much of the brigade's manpower and all its vehicles were aflame. The Stryker BDE CO ordered everyone into 2-man escape and Evasion teams to work their way through enemy lines back to the marine toe hold along the coast.
Meanwhile, the first FCS units of action were landing at the beach toe hold using a cleared stretch of highway to land the USA C-17s. 4 days into the crisis, 2 units of action of FCS armored cars were now ready to move forward to meet the enemy tanks/infantry that were converging on the beach head. Only constant USA air strikes from Japan and USN air strikes from aircraft carriers kept the enemy army at bay from the tiny lodgement. The FCS units of action were ordered into the attack.
At first they made some headway along secondary roads found through digital reconnaissance but then things fell apart. The enemy anticipating this tactic had placed hunter/killer teams with RPGs along these routes and they began firing at close range at the FCS armored cars wheel well areas and rubber tires, mobility killing the vehicles. As the teams fled away, artillery fire was called on the disabled vehicles turning them into fiery coffins for anyone left inside. FCS armored cars that evaded the hunter-killer teams ran into enemy heavy and medium tank fire in meeting engagements and were quickly destroyed by tank main gun fires. The Units of Action Soldiers fled their vehicles and fought on foot back to the perimeter. The attack had failed miserably. The next morning the entire weight of the nemy army would fall upon the Soldiers and marines sending them back into the sea.
That was when Lockwood and Jones made their call to their friend at Travis Air Force base. With 4 other Army buddies they had arranged for a C-130 ride to Hawaii with their Gavin II supertank. There at Hickam AFB they rigged their Gavin II for parachute airdrop and scrounged some M16 5.56mm ammunition and T-21 parachutes for themselves. Against all odds, they had convinced an Air Force Reserve pilot to fly them into the shrinking perimeter area and parachute Them in.
The Final Morning
As dawn broke, the enemy sent messengers asking for the Americans to surrender.
The enemy tanks and infantry could be seen from a distance under the low fog that had grounded all allied air strikes.
Then a sound of a single aircraft was heard.
Then blossoming parachutes. First a huge pallet flew out under several large cargo parachutes. Then, one, two, three, four, five, six smaller chutes.
They all landed in the no-man's land beyond the perimeter. The troops were ordered to stay put and not come to assist them.
The men were soon on the ground de-rigging their Gavin II and inside it. Just in time as the enemy opened artillery fire all over the American positions. Navy LCAC hovercraft were hit and scurried back to their ships. The enemy began to advance.
Then an amazing thing happened.
The tiny little tank turned and attacked the enemy!
Then silently enemy tanks began bursting into flames from invisible laser beams, one then two. Then another. Then another. A sweep across the front and dozens of burning enemy bodies stagered forward and died. Then more. The enemy would fire at the little tank but its armor wasn't hurt by it and it returned fire killing its assailants.
The Americans seeing everything and startled started pouring fire into the enemy! "Help the little yankee cheesebox!" cried a Soldier from the south who knew the civil war story of the Monitor versus the Merrimac.
Propelled by tracks Lockwood and Jones plunged right into the ranks of the nemy's tanks and infantry who were too close to fire back lest they kill their own. Their Gavin rumbled over the burning cars on the roads and went cross-country shooting up everything in sight using their tracked mobility. They went across rivers and lakes using their amphibious capabilities as they hunted down the enemy and kept moving to avoid being hit. Their silent electrical propulsion made them unable to be heard as they surprised the enemy and routed him. Even German Tank Ace, Michael Wittman would have been impressed.
High overhead the JSTARS aircraft watched a swath of destruction cut by the supertank. Orders barked in. "By God, help them down there!"
Soon fighter-bombers were vectored in to support the supertank's advance deep into the enemy's rear. The enemy attack had been broken.
For 3 days Lockwood and Jones and their scout team blazed a path of destruction that paralyzed an entire enemy Army. Then their laser malfunctioned. Deep inside enemy lines without communications, their JSTAR "guardian" sensed something was rong. "They are not firing". The order came to get them and their tank OUT OF THERE. Under no circumstances would it fall into enemy hands.
Lockwood and Jones kept moving. They found a stretch of highway free of destroyed cars. They hoped they had rescuers that would land and get them. Setting a perimeter around their supertank, the enemy found them in the night and the M16 versus AK47 firefight commenced. Running low on ammunition they set plans to destroy their supertank if they ran out of ammunition. A Special Forces team dropped in by fast rope and reinforced their perimeter and drove off their attackers. A C-130J Hercules landed and all hopped a ride on the supertank, which drove up the rear ramp and the aircraft took off as A-10 air strikes wiped out the surrounding area of any possible enemy.
The friendly allied country was saved.
The moral of this hypothetical story is clear: the all-wheeled U.S. Army is a dangerous mistake and should be stopped. The full potential of the tracked tank has yet to be fully exploited, especially the light tank/APC that is capable of 3D air-ground maneuver.
If you could figure out a way for the nuclear powered tank to grow/create food you would have the ultimate self-sufficient fighting platform...you would have the U.S.S. Enterprise of the science fiction TV series, "Star Trek"! And we have come full circle in our discussion of co-dependency vs. independence in military operations.
The whole appeal and adventure of Star Trek is to be FREE, to not be constrained by co-dependence amongst other, usually narrow-minded humans via a "star ship" that can explore what's "out there" at will. Former military officer Gene Roddenberry when he created Star Trek was laying out the "what ifs" of such an "enterprise". For our military to prevail we need a similar ground-based ("terran based" if you want a sci-fi flavor) "Starship Troopers" version of Star Trek correcting the bias of Heinlein who chose to not have ground vehicles in order to showcase the human infantry in his book. Watch the movie version of the book and it becomes clear that if alien bugs tower over you, why limit yourself to just the human size? And the same thing applies to the 4th Generation Warfare minimalists who want to limit themselves to just foot infantry, why limit yourself when you can have both fighting men and fighting vehicles when the "bugs" out there are very large HE bombs?