Tanks in the News Part 1

March 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Interesting Reads, Military | 4 Comments

Those of you who read my friend ABW’s blog know that her husband is a tanker. Because of him, I tend to notice news stories involving tanks. I’m not sure how I stumbled onto the first one, but United Press International has been publishing a very interesting six part series on tanks. The first article in the series starts off with what, to me, seems to be the “take home message” of the entire series:

“Main Battle Tanks remain masters of the battlefield despite IEDs — and military planners in all the world’s great powers still know it.”

After opening with the position that, despite the nature of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, tanks are regarded by the world’s “military powers” as essential components of a strong military, Part 2 of the series addresses “Why tanks still matter”. This installment in the series reviews the role of tanks in military conflicts over the last 60 years. It concludes that, although there have been specific battles and conflicts tanks have not been suited for, a strong armor/tank component remains important in the modern military. This theme is continued in Part 3 which discusses historical aspects of tank/infantry integration and advancements in tank technology. In Part 4, there is a brief introduction to weapons and methods of defense used against tanks while Part 5 discusses the worldwide importance of tanks for both capturing and maintaining control over territory. In what appears to be the final installment in the series, Part 6 provides an overview of technological advances and changes in American tanks in recent decades. This installment pays particular attention to technological advances designed to enhance the coordination of armor and infantry assets of the US Army. The conclusion of this article states that:

As it has for the past 90 years, the Main Battle Tank remains master of the land battlefield.

Like I said, I tend to notice stories about tanks because of Gunner, but I am by no means a tank expert. The way this series took a long-term view in evaluating the role of tanks in a strong military appeals to me. As a society we are very prone to careen back and forth from one extreme to another, if X doesn’t work we tend to want to try the exact opposite action. In reality, the smarter and more effective course of action is to evaluate what we have done and the observed outcomes and then refine our actions. This is how true progress is made.

Although tanks and heavy armor are playing a different (and undeniably smaller) role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than they have in previous conflicts, this does not mean that they have no future role in the military. Rather, knowledge gained in the past seven years clearly indicates that that technological advances addressing infantry/armor coordination and increased defensive abilities are warranted.


The links to the six articles in the Defense Focus: Betting on Tanks Series are :

Part 1 Introduction

Part 2: Why tanks still matter

Part 3: From Stalingrad to Baghdad

Part 4: Ant-tank weapons and how to defeat them

Part 5: Using tanks to conquer and hold countries

Part 6: The evolution of the American tank

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4 Comments »

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  1. Tanks a lot!

    ABW’s Friend is over there on the “reciprocal Blog Links” list on the sidebar. She’s connected with the wife of an Army tanker, and she follows things pertaining to tanks in the news. Today she has an article up that links to …

  2. Thanks for the link MC!

    I already commented at MC’s blog, but also wanted to say something here. His post relates his personal experiences as a tanker with the issues brought up the UPI articles. You should check his post out!

  3. Ah…the “other woman”. Gunner loves his tank.

    He’s going to love these articles. He better hurry up and pack first though!

  4. I know what you mean about Gunner loving his tank- I can hear it in his voice when he talks about “her” on the phone. Of course, it pales in comparison to the way he sounds when he talks and writes about you and the kids.


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