What do you guys make of this?
‘U.S. tanks roll into Germany to Bolster NAto deterrent against possible Russian aggression’:
The numbers don’t impress me. They’re token forces. In WWII Europe, we put 80,000 tanks in there. I don’t think the Russians would waste an Iskander on 87 tanks. In one engagement, Iraqi infantry put 24 Apaches out of action for weeks just from small arms fire from the ground. They knew that anything in the air wasn’t theirs, so fired their machine guns and Kalashnikovs at the low-flying choppers. Only one of the aircraft that took part in that engagement was airworthy upon return. An Apache, depending on which model, runs about $20 million to $65 million. Not a bad trade for a few thousand dollars in small arms ammunition. Commanders from then on were reluctant to send expensive Apaches on support missions.
In my reading of the Soviet campaigns in WWII, like Kursk, 3500 tanks were destroyed in a week. Both sides lost about the same number, but the Russian T34 replacement rate was much faster….the Germans lost badly there. In another campaign, the Red Army caught 750,000 Germans in a pocket, and wiped them out. I think the word the history book used, was “annihilated”. That’s about the size of the entire US Army and half of their reserves. They regard our D-Day assault on Normady as a firefight. Had 20 million Russians not soaked up Mauser bullets on the Eastern Front, we would have faced an entirely different situation in France.
Staging areas for all of this (as little is it may be) attracts the attention of targeting planners. If a nuclear Iskander costs $10 million, but will destroy a billion dollars in US equipment (not to mention the TIME it takes to replace it and transport it all the way to Putin’s front door)…it’s a good trade. This is why I’ve always been a skeptic of pre-staged equipment in Europe. They show up as bulls eyes on Russian satellites (or, any Russian tourist can walk right up to the fence with a smart phone and capture the GPS coordinates….see the film, 13 Hours. We should know this because we target any concentration of forces or equipment, too, the last example was ISIS. They quickly learned to disperse their trucks, artillery, tanks after the first few air strikes. We, on the other hand, still haven’t learned….and park our planes in neat rows and our tanks bumper to bumper in parking lots, together with their spare parts, ammunition, and fuel supplies.
We’ve sprinkled a few Bradleys and SP guns in Norway, too, but it’s all token stuff. It’s a message. A weak one. Obama never should have withdrawn American troops and armor from German in the first place. I think Germany has about 350 tanks that still run. Aggressors are opportunists. If they see weakness, they will be sorely tempted to exploit it.
In September, the US Commander in Europe said Putin could overrun NATO in 60 hours. With these tanks arriving, in such small numbers, it will take Putin 65 hours. For 80. It really doesn’t make much difference. Obama is an empty suit, and Putin knows it. Trump will be the FNG in Jan 20th. He has yet to learn what all the buttons and levers on his deck actually do. He will have to work with the Obama-promoted generals at DoD and in the field. We have not repaired much of the aircraft worn out and broken from W’s wars in the middle east. Russia hasn’t worn out their equipment in such campaigns, and their operation in Syria involves a minimum number of aircraft.
BTW, while watching some of these new reality shows of our guys in Afghanistan in combat, I see a trend. We send our men out in these light armored vehicles to “patrol”. A lot of chattering with the children in the street, and PR work. Eventually, they come under heavy fire from insurgents, and from there, it’s a defensive action all the way. They take casualties, lose vehicles, and withdraw. Sometimes, they call in an expensive jet or Apache or two to drop explosives on the bad guys or fire a few $33,000.00 Hellfire missiles at them, but I never see aggressive, fire-and-maneuver tactics. The enemy seems to control the battle space, decide when to engage and when to disengage. We did this same stupid stuff in Vietnam…send infantry out to get shot and step on booby traps, and when they make contact, back off and wait for air and arty. Our grandfathers didn’t have close air support in WWII…..they used good old, solid tactics to find, fix, maneuver, and close with the enemy and destroy him in close combat. Our field commanders are either restricted from doing their jobs or just want to get their ticket punched so they can move up the food chain. No effort seems to be made to take the fight to the enemy, cut them off and destroy them. As long as they run away when air support shows up, we’re just happy to get our broken stuff and wounded back to the compound, where the enemy still pounds them with rocket and artillery fire whenever they wish. Not the way to win, for sure, and it wasn’t the way W ran his Iraqi campaign, in which we destroyed Saddam’s army in a week. Afghanistan is a Jihadi shooting gallery.