Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Miss Armored Cavalry

In the past, recon units in peacetime tend to lighten up in armor and firepower, on the theory that scout vehicles should be "agile" and able to scoot in, have a look, and get out. Force-on-force combat tends to undermine that theory and lead to recon units adding firepower and armor until they look suspiciously like line combat units because it turns out that recon units usually have to fight to get close enough to have a look and survive that mission.

There is an effort in the Army to provide more firepower to our scout units:

Scouts need a specialized vehicle with enough firepower to destroy enemy recon formations, a point that [LTG] McMaster continues to emphasize.

"To overmatch that enemy in those encounter actions, you need some firepower," McMaster told the audience after watching the devastating effects of 30mm ammunition on rusted-out tanks down range.

"We are facing threats, enemies and adversaries who have watched us very closely in recent years and have adapted their capabilities and developed new capabilities that have resulted in our forces in the future potentially losing our ability to overmatch the enemy in close combat."

Personally, I'd have scout units equipped with tanks and cavalry fighting vehicles as the core. This light stuff is fine for battling insurgents when we also have uncontested air space to fly recon drones. It won't cut it when we are up against enemy heavy formations in the Suwalki Gap or further north in the Baltic NATO states.

I really miss our armored cavalry regiments and the squadrons that we had in our divisions. Our current scout formations seem like little more than glorified forward observers.

But hey, up-gunning the scouts is at least a start.