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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More on logistics 
Now we have a different take on the NETties: The Knights Who Say "NEE!" (Not Enough Equipment).

http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2005/06/21/marine_units_found_to_lack_equipment?mode=PF

Ok, first of all, we have a reporter here who doesn't even know the weapons:


The units also need more M240G machine guns, a heavy gun used in battle, and more of the lighter MK19 machine guns, used at checkpoints to thwart insurgent attacks.


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.

Which is lighter: 7.62mm ball? Or 40mm high explosive? Think about it REAAAAAALLLLL hard, scoop!

Old Scoop fails to understand the issue on a lot of levels, here:

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.

The operational requirement for 50 cal machine guns in the kind of fight they're in now are on the order of two per platoon. That's enough to equip two gun trucks, which can escort a 4 truck convoy and enable a platoon to move. Plus the two guns can provide mutually supporting fire from the flanks in a platoon level op.

But NO light battalion was designed like that - army or Marine Corps. The 50 cals are not practical for light infantry. They're too big. It takes two people to carry one, and even then you won't want to carry it that far. You have to mount it in a fixed position, or on a vehicle. And under the Expiditionary TO&Es, and the Air Assault and Airborne and light TO&E's, you don't get vehicles at the platoon level.

The ONLY units that would have two or more 50 cals at the platoon level are the tank battalions and the mech infantry battalions, which would have about four per platoon. The Army converted many of these units to mounted infantry.. They kept maybe one tank company per Bn and converted the rest to Humvees. But the platoons still have their .50 cals and two M240 Bravos per platoon.

And the vehicles! Now, genius, suppose you designed a vehicle that was heavy enough to withstand an extra half-ton or so of supplemental armor, including the baseplates. How useful do you think that would be on a beach? In a swamp? Along a riverbed? Anywhere they have amphibious operations?

That's right, genius. Not very. It would be dumber than a sack of hammers, then, to try to make that standard equipment on a Marine Corps Expeditionary TO & E. If the Marines were operating elsewhere - say, offroading in the Marshes, we'd be howling that their vehicles were too heavy. And indeed, the transformation of the land forces into a LIGHTER (hint!) more deployable force (meaning, you know, lighter vehicles WITHOUT SO MUCH ARMOR), so they can be loaded onto cargo aircraft, and transported by Chinook helicopter, is a transformation that goes back decades.

(How is it you think we can concentrate quickly in offensive after offensive around Iraq, from Najaf to Al Qaim? It's not because we're musclebound.)

The reporter fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the question.

Look at the graphic! It depicts an erosion in the % of equipment deemed battle ready.

Well, shit. Welcome to the war zone, pal! Shit gets broken! Optempo has been high. There's going to be attrition. The Army offered to fix their vehicles. Maybe they can use some more support forward, but that's Brigade commander business. The reporter doesn't seem to have the wherewithal to ask, "Well, how's your CL IX budget? Is it adequate? Where's the bottleneck?" The reporter sheds no light on the significance of the graphic. Hell, an operational readiness rating of 39% is roughly what mine was BEFORE we went to Iraq (we left Iraq at about 80%). It was easier to get parts over there.

It may have to do with fundamental incompatibility between reserve component and active equipment, or USMC and Army equipment. That takes time to work out.

There are ALWAYS logistics problems. You NEVER have everything you think you need. You ALWAYS have shortages. It's a WAR ZONE!

Commo: Yes, SINGARS FM radios are insufficient in Al Anbar. We figured that out on Day One. Enter the Thuraya Cell Phone, and the Satellite Phone. Hell, there's local vendors for that stuff. We were buying those FOR OURSELVES before they installed a phone center by every chow hall. Think outside the box, people!

Again, though, a Light infantry platoon is not designed to operate alone, but as part of a company, as part of a battalion.

The light/heavy difference is by design, and is decades old. Armies adjust. And reajust. It's a zen like process, and it's happening continually. It's not going to change overnight. And if it does, if all of a sudden, we magically got the optimum T O and E for some theoretical optimal Survivability/mobility/firepower mixture for the terrain, the enemy would simply shift his emphasis to some area we're not optimized for.

Geez...get some persective, will ya?

Splash, out

Jason

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