26 February 2008

US Tank Article

An interesting article from 1972 that I recently stumbled upon:

Armor In Closed Terrain - U. S. Army Experience In Vietnam

I. Purpose:

To establish the combat role of armor in close terrain operations by using U.S. Army experience in Vietnam.

II. Problem:
In spite of the various spectacular victory achieved by armor inclosed terrain operations during Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War,the general military perception has been that the combat guidelines for armor mobility, firepower, protection and chock effect can only be exploited effectively in an ideal terrain of open, rolling country.

III. Data:
The valuable experience on armor operation in closed terrain during theSecond World War were shelved away and forgotten as soon as the war ended. Until 1966, the U.S. Army had no independent armored units deployed in Vietnam. The decision to deploy U.S. armored units to Vietnam was made only after a careful and exhaustive study done in 1966. Contrary to the impression of the U.S. Army planner, the study found that armored forces could operate effectively inVietnam. Soon after armored forces arrived in early 1967, they proved to the critics that their mobility, firepower, and protection could play an effectivecombat role in Vietnam. As a result armor played a pivotal role in Vietnam. In the final offensive mounted against South Vietnam, North Vietnamese Army has proved beyond doubts that armor was not out of place in close terrain.

IV. Conclusions:
The U.S. Army experience in Vietnam indicated that manymilitary professionals have over estimated the difficulties of closed terrain.Armor in Vietnam has proved beyond doubts that, with thorough planning and imaginative employment, armored forces can play a useful combat role in closeterrain.

V. Recommendations:
The U.S. Army must acquire and expand a capability foroperating in close terrain. This capability could be acquired now by re-examining and analyzing tactics and techniques employed by armor in Vietnam. The equipment modifications and innovations that were achieved in Vietnam should befurther evaluated and documented. The lession learned should be transformed into relevant doctrines.

Read the full article here:

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