Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Soldiers Still Not Getting Armor; Has Iran War Begun Already?

More wonderful news on the ongoing defeat in Iraq. Scott Ritter argues that the US war on Iran has begun already. Meanwhile the US military is still not providing armor to its troops.


Red A said...


If you are interested in a second opinion on the Marine Pfc and his dad's story, here it is from an Army reserve officer.

Now since as close as I come to military is the A&A table, I won't guess as to who is correct.

Michael Turton said...

It's certainly interesting, but ultimately the guy is just kicking up smoke. Reporting of the lack of body armor and other kit is widespread. Re-read the original piece and note:

Marine Pfc. Jeremy Tod called home with news that his superiors were urging him and fellow Marines to buy special military equipment, including flak jackets with armor plating, to enhance the prospects of their survival.

The respondent, trying to kill the story, says:

Ok, who's "they?" Is that from the command? Or did that originate with Joe Snuffy E-4 team leader, who might have done an Iraq tour and saw some of the Special Forces guys with some cool gear?

He's just blowing smoke: "they" are clearly identified in the paragraph cited by the smoke-blower: the lad's superiors. Nice try, though. The armor/equipment shortage has been a long-running sore...


Equipment shortages are generally a problem in Iraq.

Troops Challenge Rumsfeld on Humvee Armor

Body Armor problems in 2004

Last October, it was reported that nearly one-quarter of American troops serving in Iraq did not have ceramic plated body armor, which can stop bullets fired from assault rifles and shrapnel.

The military says the shortfall is over and soldiers who do not yet have the armor soon will. But many want to avoid the risk.

"What we hear from soldiers is that they are told that they are going to get body armor just before they leave or just after they get there. But they don't want to take a chance," said Nick Taylor, owner of Bulletproofme.com, an online distributor of body armor in Austin, Texas.

Inquiries rise and fall with the rate of deployments, fueled by stories of units falling under attack as little as a day after being issued body armor. Whether they are true, the stories are prompting families to think about buying the equipment, Taylor said.

Reliance Armor in Cincinnati, which makes armored vests for soldiers and police, has nearly doubled in size as a result of the shortage.

Probably the newspaper made up the shopowners, inventing the whole thing because...he's a terrorist? Wants fame? Hates America?

Body Armor problems on MSNBC

Last month, Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) and 102 other House members wrote to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to demand hearings on why the Pentagon had been unable to provide all U.S. service members in Iraq with the latest body armor. In the letter, the lawmakers cited reports that soldiers’ parents had been purchasing body armor with ceramic plates and sending it to their children in Iraq.

Body armor shortages have also been a problem for the Brits....

If you google "body armor" and "Iraq" you'll hit plenty of stories.

Most chilling was this comment from someone who claimed to have been in Iraq:

mercs have all the armor they need

There has been no shortage of armor for the civilian contractors of KR&B aka Halliburton. When you have seen a convoy of Guard troops, with no body armor or armored humvees being sent to escort some contractors wearing the best body armor & driving a armored humvee, you really question what is going on here.

Of course, that's from 2004. We've demonstrated an ongoing problem... perhaps your friend can track down some articles showing that it is solved.

The would-be fisker also objected to this comment:

His dad says America was better served with the military draft because today's professional army is not representative of the country's economic and cultural spectrum.


Hmmm. Hooookay. Dad can't tell the difference between the Marine Corps and the Army, but he can speak with authority on whether America was better served by the military draft.

He's 45 years old, and would have no adult memory of a time before the all-volunteer Army. He was 18 years old in 1978 or so.

He didn't pose as an authority, simply registered his opinion. And further, the second sentence is ridiculous. Is personal experience the only way historical judgments can be made? Finally, the argument is not over a fact, but a value, held differently by each. More smoke, pure and simple.

This crack is so absurd it reveals the writer's own inability to think clearly:

I suppose this article is filed under "columnist," so I guess we can't fault him, even though the whole story looks like it's been spoonfed to him from the DNC.

Do we have support for this last claim? I think not. Isn't that an example of the laziness he accuses the reporter of having?

But thanks for the linky.


Red A said...

Your article is from Dec. 2003 and says they are producing 25,000 vests a month. How many are available NOW?

No, let's even assume it's December 2004. How many are availble NOW?

In any case, I tend to agree with the primary source who has served in Iraq. If Karl goes there, I guess we'll have an even better answer.

Granted the blogger does add some hyperbole and partisan politics where it is not needed at all.

And again, for all I know, the Marines are going in naked for lack of BDUs.

Michael Turton said...

Red A, June 21st, Boston Globe report notes that

Marine Units Found to Lack Equipment

...is that recent enough for you? The war is destroying the Army:

The report also found that Abrams tanks and other combat vehicles are being so overused that replacements are needed quickly. It found that all of the Marines' battle tanks in Iraq have passed the normal criteria for replacing them.

Without a doubt, invading Iraq is the dumbest thing the US has done since dividing into two parts and going to war with itself.


Red A said...


This Duncan Hunter guy gets around.

I am reviewing my opinion, based on your information and this article, though I do think that in any large scale war you will have many of these problems.

For example, should we get on FDR's case for supplying the out-gunned Shermans to our troops to fight Tigers and Panthers?

However, we should always do the utmost to fix these issues if possible...learn from history, etc.

But like with the Humvee there is a limit to what you can do when people triple stack mines. Or perhaps switch to Strykers.

Red A said...

Just to give Capt. Steenweek (sp?) his due, he already posted in reply to your article from the Boston paper.


Still, I'd like to think the supply part of this would be easier to fix...

Michael Turton said...

Man, the good Captain gets around quickly. Can't wait to see it.

For example, should we get on FDR's case for supplying the out-gunned Shermans to our troops to fight Tigers and Panthers?

No, using the Sherman was the correct decision, because there is more to the performance of a tank than tank-vs-tank battles.

Let's imagine you are in charge of WWII and you can produce any tank you like. Let's see those production numbers from here, which seems to have good numbers:

Pz IV (long 75) = 7,400
Pz V (Panther) = 6000
Pz VI (Tiger I + II) = 1830

Total Sherman production = 50,000

In other words, Sherman production alone exceeded the combined tank production of the UK and Germany. We sent 15,000 to the UK, and another 2000 to the USSR.

Now think about this. The Panthers and Tigers were resource hungry, the Germans could have had 3-4 Pz IVs for each Panther or Tiger. The Pz IV was superior to the early Shermans, though about equal to the later upgunned versions. The Germans could have traded in those 7800 Panthers and Tigers and gotten ~25,000 Pz IVs in exchange. People often notice the times that Panthers easily swatted Shermans, but rarely do they think about the times Shermans had their way with unsupported German infantry because the Germans had chosen to have fewer awesome tanks than many competent ones.

The Sherman also had other advantages over the Panther and Tiger -- it was extremely reliable, and it was upgradeable in many versions (remember the Israeli Super Shermans with the 105mm guns?) and many variant versions could be produced. It was durable, and it was a superb anti-infantry tank.

All in all, were I sitting in tank-vs-tank, I'd chose the Panther. But if I wanted to fight a long serious war of brutal attrition, I'd chose the Sherman over the German tanks any day.

This is not to say that the Sherman couldn't have been improved, as these guys here argue.


Michael Turton said...

Ah, the good captain is still blowing more of the same smoke:

News flash, scoop: The M240 is a light machine gun, not a heavy machine gun. The M240 is easily man portable and fires a 7.62mm ball. The Mk-19 is a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

True, although technically the M240G is designated as a medium machine gun for the Marine corps.

But the point is he can't dispute the Inspector General's claims, so he hacks on the reporter for mis-understanding the Army's ridiculous classification systems, in which everything begins with "M".

The Marine Corps force was designed for amphibious light infantry actions. It is now fighting a totally different battle, logistically. They're fighting as motorized infantry, with tank reinforcements. Totally different, battle, totally different equipment, and logistical problems are to be expected.

Of course! This raises two issues the good captain ignores...(1) what are the Marines doing fighting battles they aren't supposed to be fighting; and, (2) why wasn't this problem anticipated and solved?

Well, shit. Welcome to the war zone, pal! Shit gets broken! Optempo has been high. There's going to be attrition.

Exactly. Shit does get broken. But being compelled to use your tanks ALL past their replacement life is a sign that you are in too far and cannot keep up even minimally. That's not "shit gets broken" but "Germany in the Eastern Front in '44" problems. That's what we call "defeat" in the real world.