Friday, June 22, 2007

Iraq : US Troops Told To Get Out Of Their Tanks And Walk

Insurgent Attacks Render Tanks, Humvees Useless

Car Bombs Continue To Strike Baghdad, Despite The US Troop "Surge"

The use of IEDs and shaped charges by Iraqi insurgents against American tanks and Humvees has proven to be so effective a method of combating their enemy that US troops have been told to get out of their vehicles and conduct patrols on foot instead. Even with sniper fire, it's safer to be on foot, and spread out. When improvised bombs detonate, less Americans are killed than if they are confined inside a vehicle.

Astounding. Iraqi insurgents, who US Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly dismissed as all but harmless and not worth worrying about, up until 2006, have effectively rendered useless the entire US fleet of tanks and military vehicles, by making use of a basic weapons technology that has been included in American war fighting and counter insurgency manuals for decades.

From Raw Story :
Top US commanders in Iraq have been encouraging soldiers in Baghdad to "get out and walk."

In fact -- they've been using those very words. According to Friday's LA Times, a counterinsurgency guidance memo "released last week by Army Lt. Gen Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of day-to-day military operations, urges Iraqi and American troops to 'get out and walk.'

The paper notes that the memo argues that although Humvees offer protection, "they also make units predictable and 'insulate us from the Iraqi people we intend to secure.'"

More to the point, according to soldiers interviewed for the article, walking is safer: "U.S. troops working the streets of the capital fear one Iraqi weapon more than others -- a copper-plated explosive that can penetrate armor and has proved devastating to Humvees and even capable of severely damaging tanks," writes the LA Times Julian Barnes.

"The power of what the military calls an EFP -- for explosively formed penetrator, or projectile -- to spray molten metal balls that punch through the armor on vehicles has some American troops rethinking their tactics," Barnes adds. "They are asking whether the U.S. should give up its reliance on making constant improvements to vehicle defenses."

IED and shaped-charged attacks are killing and wounding more than 60 American soldiers every week in Iraq. Now Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are adopting the roadside bombing tactics of the Iraqi insurgency.

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Blogging From The Front Lines Of The War