Thursday, September 13, 2018

When You Start to Build an Armored Cavalry Regiment, Build an Armored Cavalry Regiment

The Strykers for 2nd Cavalry Regiment are being turned into an infantry fighting vehicle with the addition of an anti-tank capability replacing the need to dismount Javelin-armed infantry to fire the weapon:

A new tech solution being fielded to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany this month will remove a long-standing vulnerability to dismounted troops working with Strykers.

Until now, if a soldier needed to fire a Javelin missile from the light-armored vehicle, the Stryker would have to stop, the soldier would get out and hit the target with the shoulder-fired missile, and then jump back on board.

This is in addition to the upgunning of the Europe-based 2nd Cavalry to 30mm from heavy machine guns. Add some Abrams tanks to the regiment and it might stand a chance in high-intensity conventional combat.

But remember, the Stryker was designed as a motorized infantry unit personnel carrier with a large complement of infantry. It is still a light vehicle crammed with troops. I seriously think the Army should consider the use of remotely operating weapons on the vehicle used by troops to the rear, reducing the human cost of catastrophic hits in the type of conventional mobile war that the 2nd is being upgraded to fight in Europe.

Actually, I think the Army should consider returning the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to its former status as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment with tanks, actual infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, and armed helicopters as the core combat capabilities. As I've said many times, I'd pay good money for that unit in our force structure again.

The new Strykers make 2nd CR a better unit. But the vehicle isn't an infantry fighting vehicle even with the upgrades and the unit still isn't an armored cavalry regiment.

UPDATE: For God's sake we are treating the regiment like it is already an armored cavalry regiment:

Pfc. Patrick Aumick isn’t optimistic about his personal survival if Russian troops came storming across the Suwalki Gap, a vulnerable corridor along NATO’s eastern flank regarded by military planners as today’s version of the Cold War’s Fulda Gap.

Aumick, a 20-year-old forward observer with 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said his unit’s task in a crisis would be to slow down a larger Russian invasion force that would have the Americans outmanned and outgunned.

When we defended the Fulda Gap (and the Hof Corridor) in the Cold War, we used honest-to-God armored cavalry regiments that would slow down the Russians and force them to deploy because the ACR was too tough to sweep aside. It would kill armored vehicles at a high rate and grind the enemy down before they hit the main line of resistance. The ACR was never outgunned even when fighting outnumbered.

Brush up on the 1991 Battle of 73 Easting if you want to see what armored cavalry can do to Russian tanks. Yeah, I want that.