"The LAV-25 in the reconnaissance role, will be much more likely to meet a tank than the LAV-AG, which will be in an overwatch role. Based on this criteria, none of the LAV family will survive the overmatch since the stated requirement was to protect against 7.62 armor-piercing rounds at point blank range."

--Col. Andrew R. Finlayson "The 105mm Gun Is The Only Way To Go" Marine Corps Gazette, March 1989.

Its true that we need light Armored Fighting Vehicles ORGANIC to our Light/Airborne units that are the first-to-fight. But we cannot waste any more money on vehicles and chassis purchases; we need a BIG GUN on a light AFV NOW. The U.S. Army doesn't have money for vulnerable, thin-skinned (just 10mm!) LAVs in use by the mc, if it does it needs to buy the tracked and adequately armored M8 Armored Gun System. If the U.S. Army doesn't have the $$ then it can do everything the wheeled LAV advocates want to do as reported in the March-April 1998 issue of U.S. Army Armor magazine, with a wheeled LAV, with the already-in-service TRACKED M113A3 LAV using 106mm Recoilless Rifles and Javelin fire & forget ATGMs as Stan Crist and I point out regularly, (see my article on the future tank and the letters section in back of same issue) only better protected, with better mobility and almost zero cost. With these vehicles we demolish buildings, bunkers AND kill T-80 tanks. We need and can have BOTH. Whats the mental block here? The 1987-manufacture M113A3 isn't "new" enough for us?


The Professor's "poorly armed opponents"----Third World Country thugs have huge supplies of rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) that will penetrate the mc LAV armored car's huge sidewall fuel tank (I will let you guess which side its on, for a 50% chance of the bad guys missing) and incinerate everyone inside. There are so many RPGs available they can barrage-fire them at helicopters as air defense weapons. Armor protection must be proof against Kalashikov-type small arms AND RPGs. CPT Riggs in his long-winded article on "Global Cavalry" says, "The equipment should provide a level of protection to the crew equal to or greater than the current BFV" (Bradley Fighting Vehicle) then contradicts himself by proposing the pathetically armored mc LAV as the base vehicle for his "Global Cavalry"!

In contrast, the already paid for, M113A3 can have applique' armor fitted and has spall liners not fuel tanks on its side walls to repel RPGs and its external fuel tanks, if hit ignite away from our Soldiers.


Paul Hornbeck in the same Armor magazine issue the "LAV-mafia" goes to bat and strikes out in, writes:

"Army studies unanimously conclude that a tracked configuration is the optimal solution for tactical, high-mobility roles (off-road useage greater than 60 percent), gross vehicle weights in excess of 20 tons, and missions requiring unrestricted terrain movement, continuous all-weather operations, smaller silhouettes/dimensional envelopes, and greater survivability."

PDF version of Wheels versus Tracks:"

Why does the McAdvanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) have TRACKS and not wheels? Want to get off the beach? The vehicles that fulfil this truth are the M113A3 and the M8 AGS. The U.S. Army "needs a few, good light tracked AFVs, and the wheeled LAV ain't it". The authors of these letters and articles state they want a light AFV for fire support for the 82d Airborne Division? Then use our money for a BIG GUN (dual 106mm RR turrets from Spain or a 120mm mortar direct-fire turret) on superior M113A3 tracked armored vehicles we already have not waste money "reinventing the wheel" (literally) and be only able to put weak 25mm "pop guns" on the vehicle. The U.S. Army MP community is buying 1,740 Army Security Vehicles (ASVs) that are 4x4 armored cars. Whatever we want to achieve in a light wheeled cavalry we can do with the ASV as long as its armed with at least a 90mm gun.

Note this wheeled AFV is armed to the teeth! AFVs must be victors, not victims


We need to be killing the enemy not hosing him down. War is an EXTREME activity, to win requires extreme violence, not "modesty". The 25mm pop-gun is almost worthless in a city fight.

IN 0531 Combat in built-up areas states:

"The direct-fire system is the most effective fire support in built-up areas. Once a target can be located in a building, one or two direct-fire rounds can accomplish what entire salvos of indirect-fire artillery cannot. Direct fire support is key to success in fighting in built-up areas..."

"Securing and/or clearing a built-up area is very manpower-intensive. A city block in Panama City often included 50 buildings, many of them multiple storied, to include high rises. Most buildings were constructed of concrete reinforced with rebar."

U.S. Army Lesson Learned: Operation Just Cause Building Clearing

"The 25mm gun produces its best urban target results when fired perpindicular to a hard surface (zero obliquity). In combat in built-up areas however, finding a covered firing position permitting low obliquity firing is unlikely unless the streets and gaps between buildings are wide. Most shots impact the target at an angle which normally reduces penetration. With the armor-piercing, discarding sabot with tracer (APDS-T) round, an angle of obliquity of up to 20 degrees can actually improve breaching. The rounds tend to dislodge more wall material for each shot, but do not penetrate as deeply into the structure"

"Reinforced concrete walls which are 12 to 20 inches thick, present problems for the 25mm gun when trying to create breech holes. It is relatively easy to penetrate, fractures, and clear away the concrete, but the reinforcing rods remain in place"

---IN 0531 Combat in built-up areas

Yet we're spending BILLIONS$ on a fast water swimming assault vehicle and putting the same 25mm "pop gun" on it that poorly armored 8x8 LAV-25 cars and tracked M2/3 Bradley IFVs now have! Thus, all Light, Airborne and HEAVY troops will have only "garden hose" area suppressive weapons--25mm---or 40mm and .50 caliber HMGs mounted on vulnerable wheeled HMMWVs---Somalia's debacle all over again. Our men pinned down by superior numbers of enemies firing bargain-basement AKM automatic weapons and RPG fire plus their own 30mm AGS-17 auto-grenade launchers behind urban cover are not going to be able to stand up in the open and shoulder fire bulky rockets and missiles (AT4/M72A2 LAWs, 83mm SMAWs, 90mm M67 or 84mm Carl Gustav RRs, Dragon, Javelin, Predator-Broadsword MPIM, ATGMs) to regain fire superiority. We're fighting at best "even" and more likely losing.

So even if the "Heavy" forces can arrive before the battle is over they'll have 25mm "garden hoses", and a handful of 70-ton immobile tanks that are unlikely to even operate in the Third World much less fir into their rubbled cities torn by violence. M1s doing all the bunker busting, building clearing once done by the M728 CEV, AND kill enemy tanks with a mere 40 main gun rounds onboard?

The Russians can mount a 100mm main gun that shoots HE, HEAT etc to reduce buildings effectively AND laser-guided long range ATGMs, with a 30mm autocannon "pop-gun" and machine gun in the BMP-3 which also carries a squad of infantry and SWIMs!!!! We can't do more than a 25mm pop-gun on an armored car? Who is thinking "out of the box" here?


The professor is fond of Grenada, 1983 but has his revisionist, selective history wrong, its was TRACKED M60 tanks and AAV-7s used by the mc on Grenada, and they didn't over-run the island, the northern part was undefended. These vehicles didn't land until the U.S. Navy SEAL team surrounded in the Governor's house by enemy BTR armored cars (the only wheeled LAVs on the island and toasted by our own RPG-equivalent LAW rockets) called in for the help, not force recon marines ala' Hollywood. LAVs didn't enter mc service until long after Grenada. Where the island was defended, in the South, (strategic 10,000 foot runway at Point Salines for channeling Soviet arms to Latin America, remember?) it took U.S. Army Rangers and 82d Airborne Paratroopers to put down the enemy and rescue the hostages, not Clint Eastwood's gyrenes in the historically inaccurate, propaganda film Heartbreak Ridge.

The history we should be studying in detail is Panama where air-delivered M551 Sheridan light tanks and M113 AFVs rolled over the enemy opposition with tracks impervious to broken glass and debris and blasted the enemy to surrender with BIG GUN shock action. If we were solely equipped with wheeled LAVs there and later in Somalia with 25mm "pop-guns" the enemy would have been able to fire RPGs into them, setting them and their tires on fire, at which point runflats wouldn't help. LAVs instead of HMMWVs burning in the streets, whats the differance?


CPT Riggs on one hand says the 82d Airborne HAS to drop onto airfields to seize them to AIRLAND vehicles thereafter then says we should STOL AIRLAND HIS LAVs onto dirt strips and roads? Since we can AIRDROP light AFVs up to 30 tons NOW, why need a runway at all? If we can airland HIS LAVs onto dirt strips and roads, why not the 82d Airborne's vehicles? It sounds to me like what he wants is to keep from having to AIRDROP his light AFVs so his non-Airborne type unit and AWWG Study Group can get new "LAV-toys" and not have a unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps get the mission. It also explains why members of the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) were not welcomed into the AWWG because we'd "rain on their little airland-easier-for-me-LAV-new-toy parade". Regardless, the 2d ACR is an Airborne Contingency Corps unit and it should AIRDROP if it has light AFVs to replace the 3/73d Armor BN. If we can STOL airland into an Assault Zone, why do we need a runway? Why do we need CPT Riggs and his "LAV-toys" if we can just as easily STOL airland the 4 M2 Bradley IFVs and 4 M1A2 Abrams tanks already a part of the Immediate Ready Company (IRC) assigned to the 82d Airborne Division? We don't. We can AIRDROP anywhere its open enough. We can airdrop AWAY from enemy defended runways with 82d Airborne Paratroopers who in light M113A3 AFVs and human-powered vehicles converge on the airfield or port/beach area from an unexpected direction or better yet---- collapse the enemy from the inside by destroying his "center of gravity": AIRBORNE WARFARE not airfield seizure. Sounds to me like timid people unaware of the efficiency and superior speed/operational flexibility that AIRDROP offers. Wars are over within hours--operational maneuver from the AIR can end conflicts quickly ala' Czechloslavakia, Afghanistan and Panama.


The professor is again off on the battle of Khafji where mc units were surrounded and cut off because even the Iraqis were able to broad-base jam their obsolete single-channel AN/PRC-77 radios! Call in fire? When they failed to report it was U.S. Air Force AC-130 "Spectre" gunships and attack jets that decimated the Iraqi probing attack not someone with a credit card and a telephone line ala' the film "Heartbreak Ridge". One of those AC-130s got shot down with the loss of 14 aircrew and this revisionist claim of the mc "winning the battle by radios" is grotesque.


Its the inevitable conclusion here that those who still want the thin-skinned mc wheeled LAV must have an ulterior motive other than providing our Light/Airborne forces a light AFV with a battle dominating BIG GUN NOW, if they wanted this---they'd be in favor of the M113A3 Gavin with a big gun system and/or purchasing the M8 AGS. If they are not, what is their real motive>?

My conjecture is they want a new "toy" vehicle which they can drive around in training "wars" and play "tank" without having to be a "tank" and perform track maintenance. Everything looks "rosy" when everyone makes it back alive to give their "2-cents" at the After-Action Review (AAR). They want a light AFV that can fly around the battlefield? Use the M113A3 as the base vehicle for a 2d Armored Cavalry Squadron's variants. I question if any of the avante garde'-LAV-wheeled-toy advocates have ever been inside a LAV-25 to see the deathtrap it is-- if asked to do more than scouting (find enemy and run away)??? Put the 105mm gun turret the mc wasted millions $$$ perfecting then refused to mount on the LAV and you have a start. Then applique' armor and get the damn fuel tank out of the vehicle. Not willing to do this? No money$$? Just want to play "JEB Stuart" riding around with pop-guns while the men assaulting the enemy at "Gettysburg" need big-gun shock action? Then lets use a vehicle that is already survivable, logistically easy to operate/maintain in an "austere" environment and available: the M113A3 "Gavin" AFV.


Murphy rules!

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