- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: Turner; 2nd ed. edition (August 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1563116162
- ISBN-13: 978-1563116162
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,532,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Air-Mech-Strike: Asymmetric Maneuver Warfare for the 21st Century 2nd ed. Edition
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"Air-Mech-Strike is a must read concerning the most important debate now facing any and all who want to understand future war." -- General John R. Galvin (U.S. Army Retired)
"How to move faster, strike harder without spending a fortune. Their ideas deserve a fair hearing at the top decision-making levels of the Army and DOD." -- Joseph L. Galloway, April 17, 2000, U.S. News & World Report
Air-Mech-Strike is a monumental work and a credit to the military expertise of its authors. -- General Volney F. Warner (U.S. Army Retired)
Air-Mech-Strike is a must read concerning the most important debate now facing any/all who want to understand future war. -- General John R. Galvin U.S. Army (Retired)
If you care about our Army read this! New thinking on how to move faster, strike harder and do more. -- Joseph Galloway, Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report
From the Publisher
NEW ADVANCED CONCEPTS CONTAINED IN 2ND EDITION: * Enhanced definition of "Air-Mech-Strike" (it ain't rubber tired armored cars) * Computer simulations that show AMS 3D tracked tank force structure is far superior to existing and rubber-tired armored car IBCTs * Afghanistan Operation Anaconda Air-Mech operations using tracked BV-206s and M-GATOR ATVs * Sub-National Terrorist Group decisive maneuver defeat mechanisms * Defeat of enemy surveillance strike complexes (SSCs) by MANEUVER * Piasecki Vectored Thrust Ducted Compound Helicopters * Articulated armored fighting vehicles (BV-206S) * Nose Loading equipment for cargo 747s * Tracked and Air Cushion landing gear for extreme STOL airland operations * Reduced turrets to make M1/M2 into medium weight OFFENSIVE platforms * 2.75" Hydra-70 rockets on ground vehicles for better firepower/shock action * More exclusive photos of Air-Mech operations by U.S., British and Russians * ACTD proposals for 82nd Airborne and 101st Air Assault Divisions * Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) cargo airships to speed heavy 2D forces and logistics without need of runways/ports * Cost and performance comparisons of tracked tanks versus LAV-III/Stryker rubber-tired armored cars * Ducted-fan FTR concepts * Infared camouflage for armored fighting vehicles and troops * How AMS maneuver can collapse the will of our enemies
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Top customer reviews
This book truly shines when the authors are discussing the creation of this force; they have clearly done their research, and repeatedly make strong cases for the right type of equipment to acquire (or modify). At the heart of their new force structure are modified M-113's (as a medium element) and modified German Wiesel's (as the light element). They delve into detail as to why these systems should be chosen: there is a tremendous experience with these chassis and they are proven systems, they are easily modified for a variety of missions and they are easily maintained. Most importantly, though, they are helicopter deployable/supportable. Thus, they would provide the Army with a potent, sustainable strike package that could be inserted to maximum effect in areas unexpected by the enemy.
The authors go on to discuss at great length the structure, organization, implementation and finances of such a force structure. I was particularly pleased that they found a role for the M8 AGS, a victim of ill thought out Clinton era budget cutting. Of particular interest was their detailed discussion of the ability to implement this force with off the shelf components and vehicles. For example, I was very impressed with, and intrigued by, their discussion of how to implement a hard-hitting recon/strike unit using primarily commercial (albeit modified) ATV's. Finally, their discussion of the deployment of WIG (Wing In Ground) transports is highly warranted and long overdue.
As the title of my review indicates, however, there were some serious issues with this work. Perhaps most glaring, for a discussion of a helicopter deployable force, very little discussion is given to the role of the AH-64 Apache, and there is absolutely no mention of the RAH-66 Comanche. Considering that these two platforms will be the backbone of the Army offensive air fleet for the foreseeable future, I find this oversight puzzling, to say the least. Along these same lines, at the same time that the authors are advocating smaller, more flexible units, they advocate the pooling of the bulk of Army Air at the Corp level without much in the way of explanation.
Finally, the actual physical layout of this book is appalling, almost embarrassing. I cannot imagine how a book so loaded with spelling, formatting, and grammatical errors could have made its way into publication. Moreover, the illustrations are frequently confusing and are often downright laughable (I almost choked when I saw a toy UH-60 used in an illustration). Of course, content is always paramount, but it is difficult to take a book seriously if the authors aren't even willing to take sufficient time to assure that their ideas are cogently put forward.
There is tremendous merit in the work, and anyone who is serious about understanding the direction our armed forces need to take in the post-Cold War world would do well to read it. As I mentioned though, it does have serious flaws. If I could make a suggestion to the authors, it would be this: pull this edition, get together with the best editor, illustrator and map-maker you can find and reassemble this work to make it worthy of Simpkin and Macgregor, two authors you obviously (and rightly) admire.
Remember March 15, 2002 well!
This was the day the U.S. Army conducted its first helicopter-based Air-Mech-Strike combat assault in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda...just like described in the book. Co-author Major Charles Jarnot is in Aghanistan NOW and he emailed me the following description:
Air-Mech-Strike in Afghanistan!
The war in Afghanistan has seen several combat firsts for the U.S. Military, first use of an armed un-manned aerial vehicle and the first use of the B-1B Bombers in a close air support role to name just a few. Now in Operation Anaconda another first for the U.S. Army, the first employment of helo-based airmechanized forces by a U.S. field commander in combat, complements of the 3rd Battalion of the famed Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.
On March 15, 2002, the Canadians attached to the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division, used U.S. Army CH-47D Chinooks to air assault their armored tracked BV-206 airmechanized vehicles into the operation Anaconda fight.
Airmechanization is a relatively new maneuver warfare doctrine extensively developed by numerous European armies. First theorized in the 1930s by Soviet Field Marshall Tuchachevskiy, today the Russian, British and German armies have fielded airmechanized brigade and division sized units. The concept involves the vertical insertion of tracked combat vehicles via helicopter and fixed wing para-drops. The idea is to use aircraft to break friction with the ground and cross vast treks of terrain and obstacles to quickly gain positional advantage. Once inserted, the mechanized vehicles provide the vertically inserted force with tracked terrain mobility, protection against small-arms and shrapnel and significant increase in firepower via the heavier weapons carried on the vehicles vice foot mobile troops inserted by parachute or helicopter.
The technical challenge to airmechanization is how to build a tracked combat vehicle that has sufficient protection and weapon capacity yet light enough to transported by helicopter or parachute. Advances in information/reconnaissance technology, weapon lethality versus weight and the increases in aircraft
lift performance have all contributed to the boom in airmechanization. Today five other countries beside Russia, Britain and Germany, are in the process of fielding airmechanized brigades, including China. The most expensive part of this concept is the fielding of large numbers of heavy lift helicopters and short field cargo airplanes. The vehicles themselves are relatively inexpensive. In the U.S. Military, the critical air component is already in place with over 600 heavy lift CH-47D Chinook and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and 500 plus C-130 Hercules aircraft in the inventory.
But what about the risk posed by ultra-light combat vehicles? Isnt massive armor needed to survive? Lightweight Airmechanized vehicles (AMVs), like those employed by the Canadians in Anaconda, might seem on the surface to be extremely vulnerable. But surviving on the battlefields of Afghanistan may demonstrate a shift in this traditional paradigm. For example, the greatest risk to vehicle movement in Afghanistan is not Taliban/Al-Quedas Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), but rather the millions of land mines laid throughout the country. The Canadian BV-206 AMV used in Anaconda mitigates this risk by virtue of the very light weight and tracked suspension that results in extremely light
ground pressure. This not only contributes to its excellent terrain agility but makes anti-tank mine detonation a very small probability since the BV-206 ground pressure is far below the minimum necessary to set off a typical anti-tank mine.
Wheeled combat vehicles on the other hand, are extremely vulnerable to land mines due to the high ground pressure characteristic of typical wheeled vehicles. The separate cabs of the BV-206 also lessens the potential casualty effects of RPGs by compartmentalizing the blast areas. The lightweight also means that it can approach the enemy from terrain deemed non-useable by heavier armor and thus lessens the chances of moving into a planned vehicular kill zone. These features combined with the lethality of high tech weapons like the Javelin anti-tank guided missile (50 pounds and 2,500 meters range) and light weight auto cannons and grenade launchers like the M-230 or ASP-30 30-mm and the Mark-19 40-mm make AMVs a deadly package for their size.
Airmechanization, a competitor for the Armys planned transformation based on the Striker wheeled armored vehicle? Intuitively all new ideas are intellectually competitive with older concepts and the same is true of the 3-Deminsional airmechanization idea versus the 2-Diminsional Striker program. But in practical application there is no conflict. As most professional Soldiers know, combat is a combined-arms affair where different weapons, platforms and the specialties of different organizations combine to have a collective greater effect than any one part. The Armys Striker transformation is slated for the light infantry divisions and some of the heavier formations. Airmechanization would be more applicable to the Armys Airborne and Air Assault units where the Striker is not scheduled for fielding. As the European armies who have fielded airmechanized formations will tell you. These agile forced-entry units are battlefield enablers to heavier forces and
not necessarily their future replacement.
Like the use of the armed predator UAV in Afghanistan, this first modest employment of airmechanized forces in Anaconda will undoubtedly generate heated debate on the utility of this new and controversial maneuver doctrine. This historical event may be the catalyst for the U.S. Army to convert its own airborne and air assault divisions along the European Airmechanized models or like the ill-fated Pentomic Divisions of the 1950s, be simply a flash in the pan. Still the question that this event will pose for the U.S. Army as whole is the continued validity of parachuting or helo-insertion of dismounted troops close to the enemys crucible of anti-aircraft fire, shoulder-fired missiles and RPGs. The American public and our enemies, should know that the U.S. Armys leadership in Afghanistan is not tied doggedly to any written doctrine. The first use of airmechanized forces in combat by an American commander demonstrates the mental agility and creative prowess of a unified effort that will "leave no stone unturned" in its effort
to defeat the Al Queda and Taliban, to include employing a Canadian airmechanized force!
Major Chuck Jarnot, 101st Airborne Division Liaison
Officer in Afghanistan