SnafuDude sends us a link to the Strategy Page which reports that one of the casualties of the Defense budget cuts is the M2-series Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. I was among the first squad leaders to lead a 10-man squad in the 26-ton Winnebago known as the Bradley back in 1983, I think. I was glad to see it come and replace the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier which was exactly that – just something to carry troops in. A squad leader had control over more firepower than ever in history. A coaxial 7.62 machine gun, a 25mm chain gun and anti-armor TOW missiles was added to the ten-man squad of infantrymen. It began a new era of battlefield supremacy for the US Army, and I was proud to be a part of it.
If we had faced Saddam Hussein’s army in 1991 with Jimmy Carter’s mechanized divisions, there might have been a different outcome because Saddam’s army out-matched our 1983 army. And our unit in Desert Storm had the oldest Bradleys in the theater and we experienced surprisingly few mechanical break downs because of the reliability of the Bradley IFV.
The Army’s reasoning for replacing the Bradley is it’s vulnerability to roadside bombs, according to Strategy Page;
The army is trying to come up with a new IFV design. The MRAP and Stryker are not adequate replacements because these wheeled vehicles have poor off-road capabilities. The design of the new GCV (Ground Combat Vehicle) is supposed to be ready by 2015, after which prototypes would be built and tested. At best, the army might have a new IFV by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, thousands of M-2s are still in service and would be sent into combat if it was believed roadside bombs were not going to be a major presence on the battlefield.
We knew from the beginning that Bradleys weren’t as impervious to anti-armor weapons as the M1, we were supposed to use the terrain for cover, keeping in mind that it was vulnerable. I guess it’s a little harder to use terrain as cover when the bomb is right next to you. I’ve heard that Strykers have their problems, too, but I never paid much attention to the debate, so i won’t comment on that.
But I hope the Army isn’t stupid enough to completely get rid of Bradleys until they have a new replacement. If it takes ten years to replace it, and they dump the Brad, you can be sure that we’ll need them sometime in the next ten years. That’s the nature of the business and our enemies.