Once more unto the breach

Once more unto the breach

There are many remarkable stories about the Herculean efforts our soldiers and units put forth under extremely harsh conditions during their historic march toward Baghdad–a testament to the selfless service and valor of our soldiers.

Much will be written about Operation Iraqi Freedom, but one thing is certain, our soldiers and leaders know how to complete the mission. This war was planned and executed on a grand scale with U.S. Armed Forces contributing combined resources to the effort. At the same time, small-unit actions by individual tank crews and platoons were working combined arms tactics with light infantry and mechanized infantry forces against an enemy firing from alleyways, houses, mosques, and hospitals.

Today’s battlefield demands new technologies that will keep pace with the global environment and simultaneously provide force protection. In his article, “Mechanized Snipers on the Force XXI Battlefield, Captain Timothy Morrow, introduces us to the idea of making snipers an organic part of the scout platoon. He describes several effective techniques for deploying and employing sniper teams in support of task force missions.

There is much discussion regarding the future of the M1 main battle tank and its function in the urban environment. Captains Frank Bridges and Michael Evans share an insightful article, “Tough Bows and Iron Blades: Modifying the M1 for Urban Battle.” This article suggests ideas for simple, currently available, easy-to-install applique systems that will enhance the M1-series tank and its already substantial capabilities for operating on an urban battlefield.

With the U.S. Army’s emerging role in stability operations and support operations, U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve units are assuming greater, more immediate roles as links between troubled nations and military operations. In their article, “Converting the IO Concept into Reality,” Captains Eric Guenther and Gary Schreckengost describe, from their own experiences, how to establish a successful information operations function. As events unfold on the international and domestic fronts, military leaders at all levels must reach out to link with the society they serve and the nations they support. This article suggests excellent ideas on how to do just that.

For the past 20 years, the way we fight and prepare for war has changed dramatically. Today’s operational environment reflects the likelihood that the United States will be fighting more frequently in urban areas. Sergeant First Class Andrew Barteky provides a close look at the latest iteration of the Stryker–the reconnaissance variant. In, “The Stryker-Equipped Cavalry Squadron in an Urban Environment,” Barteky examines the characteristics of the Stryker-equipped cavalry squadron (RSTA) that enable it to effectively support the Stryker Brigade Combat Team in an urban battle. Major theater of war engagements will still occur, but small-scale contingencies, urban conflicts, and isolated pockets of resistance housed in apartment complexes and city parks are what the SBCT will likely encounter. The Stryker reconnaissance vehicle will make the scout’s life better during an urban fight.

In addition to these focused articles, ARMOR also presents several other articles. In “On a Wing and a Prayer: Reversing the Trend in Brigade Combat ISR and Shaping Operations,” Captain David Meyer evaluates the problems that regularly plague ISR operations. Major Richard Monnard describes the S2’s role in collecting and delivering information that will assist the commander’s decisionmaking process. “The Maneuver Task Force Commander Expects His S2 to Collect and Deliver,” provides a quick, yet thorough, technique for task force intelligence officers to organize, prepare, and present intelligence information.

“Rounding out the ‘Tip of the Spear,'” by Captain Mark Weaver, defines a combat officer’s professional jurisdiction and his sphere of expertise and knowledge when conducting stability operations and support operations. Captain Max Pritzl, Germany army, shares ideas and suggestions on conducting combat exercises in,” German Combat and Gunnery Training for Future Challenges.” In their article, Captains Howard, Blakenhorn, and Keeler provide very insightful techniques for “Making the Eight-Step Training Model Work.”

As the United States continues its fight, the Armor and Cavalry Forces remain critical elements in battlefield success. ARMOR is the Force’s forum for reflection and analysis, and to stimulate a fruitful dialogue to share your views, expertise, and experiences at this critical juncture as military thinking evolves. Keep writing to preserve and share your experiences. –DRM

COPYRIGHT 2003 U.S. Army Armor Center

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group