Monday, July 22, 2019

Bar me........

One of the things that has intrigued me over the years is our military procurement system where several committees are formed, the top contenders are wheeled out and a decision is made. Fair enough, but is there transparency built into the system where the reasons, the pro’s and con’s for the decision are made public.

Not everyone fell in love with the LAVs and there was some genuine concern from old 
soldiers on their purchase, much of it valid.
Bar armour on British Viking APC

Since WW2 we have not faced an enemy with built in anti tank capability. We, along with Australia and the United Kingdom have faced only the RPG in the hands of militias or untrained guerillas. Almost all North Vietnamese soldiers and their southern counterparts fired their first rocket in action.

The RPG7 is an effective weapon if you know it’s parameters but it is overhyped, out of the fifty or so fired at the British army in Northern Ireland only one death has been recorded. It is, when used properly against APC’s or light skin vehicles, a deadly weapon.

However it is also easy to defeat. It needs to ignite flush against it’s target to have any hope of working so we can thank the Russians for the answer. Many years ago I saw a photograph of a T34 tank entering Berlin, it was covered in old beds bases with springs tied on everywhere…….what was that all about I thought.

The Panzerfaust, one shot handheld shaped charge anti tank weapon. The forerunner of the RPG destroyed hundreds of US tanks in the bocage country of Normandy and played havoc with Russian armour on the march to Berlin…….hence German beds on Russian tanks...they twigged that if you detonate the charge before it strikes, even a few inches, it will not penetrate.

The British army in Iraq and Afghanistan used bar armour, cheap as chips and any field workshop could knock up a set out of rebar in a few hours. A proven life saver, it works on trucks, Humvees etc. as well.

The burning question is why did we not use anti RPG armour on the LAVs and borrowed Humvees in Afghanistan? Why were our soldiers put at unnecessary risk?

Why does each generation of soldiers forget the hard won by lessons of the previous.?

Back to the original thread….the (lightly)armoured personel carrier (APC) concept was thought of long before drones, laser guided battlefield missiles and satellite guided artillery shells. It is a tin box with a target painted on it’s side and against a sophisticated enemy should not be allowed within 20 miles of the front line.

NZ LAV Afghanistan without bar armour 

Crude but effective anti RPG armour. Australian Centurion 1968
Nui Dat Sth Vietnam


Noel said...

From memory the three LAVs were up armoured for IED protection which was the major considered threat in the area they were used.

James said...

The LAVs would have become immobile in the extremely narrow roads, which were more akin to goat tracks, in Bamyan province had they been equipped with bar armour, which they could have been. It’s the age old dilemma between protection and mobility.

There is a current program underway to identify their replacement. It’ll involve going around the buoy again in terms of trying to figure out if we motorise / mechanise the NZ Army’s two infantry battalions, and if so to what extent, or do we just equip the armoured regiment (Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles), and again if we do to what extent.

Noel said...

Yes James they were never considered for Bamyan because of terrain. Toyota's the preferred SAS option.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Upamoured against IED's (mines) usually means laying sandbags on the floor or welding inverted halfinch plate to the underneath...nothing to do with RPG strikes.

James... where did you gain that knowledge...goat tracks my arse...did we not run in covoys where we were hit by RPGs....did we not have people wounded by RPG srikes on vehicles...I actually have no idea of the answer but you might.

Noel.... you have moved into the dark side......what wasn't considered for Banyam province? Want me to do a post on Bamyan Province topography. Well for a start the people were not Afaghani.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Oh's Wayne telling us how good the roads are and we are just sending more LAVs.....sans anti RPG armour....our inteligence must have discovered that there was a shortage of RPGs.

What springs to mind is extremely good luck won over bad judgment....just take another look at the 1968 Aussie tank which as armour 3 times the thickness of a LAV......these guys have seen what a hollow charge missile will do.....a hole the size of a two dollar piece and everyone dead inside.

Noel said...

Oops 2009.