Thursday, December 09, 2004

Military and Armor

Instapundit is reporting and commenting on the members of the military having a desire to up-armor everything.

This has long been a complaint of service members. There are also very good reasons to prevent it. One of the important problems is that on the modern battlefield speed is life and adding weight to a vehicle chasis both slows it down and reduces its reliability. However it pales in comparison to the major problem: its easy to screw it up and actually reduce the vehicles survivability.

Uparmoring to many members of the military translates to "let me weld some steel on this pig if you won't do it for me". So they do wherever they want and with no regard for how it will actually handle blast, fragment, etc damage. Guess what happens? The IED goes off, it throw its own fragments around, and hits your vehicle with blast too. However the dumbass job you did of armoring the vehicle means their blast and fragments blow your crappy armor all over the place. Now you have supplied large metal plates and additional smaller fragments to act as lethality enhancers for the enemy. Best yet, you probably put most of your crappy armor around the personnel compartments, so you have put it exactly where it will do the most damage.

So your guys end up deader because you decided to amateur uparmor the cabin of your humvee. This is precisely why the Army has rules against this sort of thing. There is a high harm to good ratio.

Now the guy reaming out Rumsfeld just wants more approved stuff for his unit. Welcome to the US Army. The worst warfighting machine in the world except for all the other ones... Well, maybe the Marines have us beat. :)

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias is saying that Rumsfeld is giving the troops the finger. Whatever.

FURTHER UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has referred to this as the armor gap and said that the government is rectifying this. I get her point but I think the term "armor gap" has false implications.

In the missile gap we were worried about the Reds (you know before that meant hicks in fly-over country) having more missiles than we did. This isn't the case now. The enemy has very little armor, certainly none equivalent to our own. The "gap" is between what we have and what we would like to have given infinite time/money/etc.

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