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Subject: Stryker IFV vs upgraded M113? rss

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Gordon Reynolds
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From some reports the US military is looking to upgrade their APC fleet.

If you had to choose one of these vehicles to equip your force, which would it be?
What are some of the pros and cons of each?
What type of unit would you equip? What would it's role be?
..many other questions but should suffice for now

M113


Stryker IFV
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As much as I am a fan of the ol' fashioned M113, I'd think that the tracked approach would be prohibitive in a variety of low-intensity deployments and environments. Higher maintenance, slower, more susceptible to environmental and both enemy active and passive damage.

But I do love the adaptability of mission-specific platforms for the M113, particularly for a set-piece conventional approach as opposed to an urban COIN or relatively desolate desert/arid/sparse setting.

I'm sure we'll have enough former servicemen pipe in on this one that have worked with both types, interested in what they have to say, as opposed to my Cold War-nostalgic M113 fanboiism.

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Bill Eldard
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CountDeMoney wrote:
As much as I am a fan of the ol' fashioned M113, I'd think that the tracked approach would be prohibitive in a variety of low-intensity deployments and environments. Higher maintenance, slower, more susceptible to environmental and both enemy active and passive damage.


Having spent three years in the US mechanized infantry '73-'76, I'm very familiar with the M113A1 both as a passenger and a qualified driver. I think your assessment of the vehicle is spot on.

I believe one of the drawbacks of the M113A1 was its amphibious capability. We never used that capability in West Germany, yet it necessitated that the APC be light weight, which was achieved by using aluminum armor which could'nt protect the passengers from anything bigger than small arms fire.

(I actually swam an M113A1 at Fort Knox. It's a scary experience. Even without the squad in it, you have about 4-6" of freeboard, and if you let off the gas, the automatic transmission downshifts, causing the front of the track to buck downward, submerging the trim vane and allowing water to come in the open hatches. At that point, if the driver hasn't already mashed down on the gas pedal again, the track will likely sink.)

CountDeMoney wrote:
But I do love the adaptability of mission-specific platforms for the M113, particularly for a set-piece conventional approach as opposed to an urban COIN or relatively desolate desert/arid/sparse setting.


It certainly had versatility. The tracks in our battalion were used to carry infantry and stay up with the M60A1 tanks; carry and fire 81mm and 4.2" mortars and TOWs; serve as an ambulance to evacuate wounded under fire; and when the maintenance-heavy M114 armored recon tracks were removed from the TOE in '75, they became the scout vehicles for the scout platoon in each mech infantry and tank battalion.

However, I wouldn't want to be in one in a battle. Our tactics were to get the squads to the battle and dismount. I would never want to fight from the vehicle against an enemy with heavy weapons.

I understand that this changed when the Bradley AFV was introduced as a counter to the Soviet BMP. Firing ports allowed the infantry to fight from the vehicle, while improved armor gave them marginally better survival capability.

I'm even less familiar with the Stryker, though I'm sure that being a wheeled vehicle, it is both faster and easier to maintain. There are few things less pleasant than trying to restore a thrown track on a M113A1 in a foot of mud in winter. Busted tortion bars are also a big maintenance downer.
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Michael Dorosh
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Eldard wrote:


I believe one of the drawbacks of the M113A1 was its amphibious capability. We never used that capability in West Germany, yet it necessitated that the APC be light weight, which was achieved by using aluminum armor which could'nt protect the passengers from anything bigger than small arms fire.

(I actually swam an M113A1 at Fort Knox. It's a scary experience. Even without the squad in it, you have about 4-6" of freeboard, and if you let off the gas, the automatic transmission downshifts, causing the front of the track to buck downward, submerging the trim vane and allowing water to come in the open hatches. At that point, if the driver hasn't already mashed down on the gas pedal again, the track will likely sink.)


The first 500 Tiger tanks had a snorkel on them, the theory being that it was so heavy, so some bright-eyed engineer figured why not just let it deep-wade through rivers (13 feet deep) rather than risk collapsing bridges. I'm not sure how often it was done in practice but lots of things look great on the drawing board.

I don't recall exactly, but it seems to me I've overheard similar conversations between qualified AVGP (Grizzly) drivers who have gone to swim their APCs only to find various plugs were missing. After beating a vehicle up in the bush for months, and most cases now, years, expecting them to be water-tight seems, to be charitable, unrealistic.
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Bill Eldard
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
Eldard wrote:


I believe one of the drawbacks of the M113A1 was its amphibious capability. We never used that capability in West Germany, yet it necessitated that the APC be light weight, which was achieved by using aluminum armor which could'nt protect the passengers from anything bigger than small arms fire.

(I actually swam an M113A1 at Fort Knox. It's a scary experience. Even without the squad in it, you have about 4-6" of freeboard, and if you let off the gas, the automatic transmission downshifts, causing the front of the track to buck downward, submerging the trim vane and allowing water to come in the open hatches. At that point, if the driver hasn't already mashed down on the gas pedal again, the track will likely sink.)


The first 500 Tiger tanks had a snorkel on them, the theory being that it was so heavy, so some bright-eyed engineer figured why not just let it deep-wade through rivers (13 feet deep) rather than risk collapsing bridges. I'm not sure how often it was done in practice but lots of things look great on the drawing board.

I don't recall exactly, but it seems to me I've overheard similar conversations between qualified AVGP (Grizzly) drivers who have gone to swim their APCs only to find various plugs were missing. After beating a vehicle up in the bush for months, and most cases now, years, expecting them to be water-tight seems, to be charitable, unrealistic.


Normal wear and tear from heavy field use can affect the M113. To float, it needs the drain plugs installed in the bottom of the hull, and the water-tight rubber gasket around the rear ramp and the hatch to the engine compartment must be intact. The plywood trim vane and locking support arm must also be intact and extended forward to create a bow.

But to propel through the water, the APC needs both rubber skirts attached on either side. Because the APC uses the tracks for swimming, the skirts are necessary to hold the water over the top of the tracks as it gets pushed from the front to the rear of the vehicle. If the skirts are missing or badly damaged from combat, the M113 can't swim.

I don't know how the added protection like those cage skirts affects the floatation or the drag as it swims. And they have to makes sure it's not too top heavy or the damn thing can capsize.

When swimming an M113, the driver slowly enters to water until he feels the vehicle being lifted off the bottom. He then pushes the gas down to drive the RPMs up to the required threshhold (It's been 40 years, so my memory is foggy, but I believe it's 3000 RPMs), and hold it there. The engine is racing so high that it sounds like it will explode, but the APC is only moving through the water at 3-4 mph. The inexperienced driver will let off the gas because the engine is revving so high, but when he does, the automatic transmission drops down a gear as the RPMs reduce, causing the vehicle to buck nose down.

Snorkeling a tank takes a lot more prep because the vehicle will be completely submerged. The Soviets required a special grease to be applied to seal the rubber gaskets around the hatches; the current in the river couldn't exceed approx 5 mph or the snorkel could rip off; and the river bed needed to be substantially firm.

That's why tanks rely so much on bridging and/or ferrying.
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Shawn Baldwin
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I have been in Stryker units and Heavy Mech units that had 113's.

No brainer to me:
Strykers kick ass!
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My only brief experience was riding in an M113 at Fort Lewis once. I thought it'd be a relief to ride for a change instead of marching, but I soon wanted out. We were traversing only moderately bumpy ground, but I was thrown all over the place. There was a hand strap, but it broke off, and it was all I could do to keep from flopping all over my fellow passengers.

I suppose one gets used to it after a while.
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Jason Sadler
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For Afghanistan, I would say they are both just about useless.

For fighting a war against another belligerent that had a military, I would use the Strykers to provide a screening force for Armor and Divisional Recon assets and the M113s as APCs for troop movements where contact was likely.

We used the LAV-25s as APCs to deliver scouts to foot patrols in Afghanistan and they were just about the worst people movers in the world.

There is a quote on the wall of the Marine Corps Museum that says something along these lines: "I thought being in a submarine was bad, but being in an LAV is pure hell".

Edit, picture worth a thousand words:
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Bill Eldard
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
My only brief experience was riding in an M113 at Fort Lewis once. I thought it'd be a relief to ride for a change instead of marching, but I soon wanted out. We were traversing only moderately bumpy ground, but I was thrown all over the place. There was a hand strap, but it broke off, and it was all I could do to keep from flopping all over my fellow passengers.

I suppose one gets used to it after a while.


Nah, you never really get used to it. It's a bad ride. You can't escape the smell of the diesel; to this day, when a city bus spews out a heavy cloud of diesel exhaust, I'm instantly transported back into the APC. yuk

The best way to ride in an M113 is when you're so bone tired you could sleep on broken glass. Stick your arms up to the elbows through the hand straps hanging down, and that keeps you sitting upright while you sleep and sway with the vehicle.
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BeatPosse wrote:
For Afghanistan, I would say they are both just about useless.

For fighting a war against another belligerent that had a military, I would use the Strykers to provide a screening force for Armor and Divisional Recon assets and the M113s as APCs for troop movements where contact was likely.

We used the LAV-25s as APCs to deliver scouts to foot patrols in Afghanistan and they were just about the worst people movers in the world.

There is a quote on the wall of the Marine Corps Museum that says something along these lines: "I thought being in a submarine was bad, but being in an LAV is pure hell".


All the boneheads who want to get rid of boardgames and conventional video games, who are slavering and licking chops at the thought of the day we will have "holodeck"-like simulators for "total realism and immersion" have no idea what they are wishing for.

The only M113 I ever rode in was a bulldozer variant - with the blade up - and I was lucky in that it was at least kept to the gravel road. Even at that, I recall the claustrophobia - couldn't imagine trying to fit winter kit inside the thing, or wearing NBC/CBR gear.

Worst ride I ever had was actually in the back of a 6/4 ton truck when the company sergeant major forgot that he had just ordered me into the back and he set off cross-country at speed. I had to press my back flat to the floor of the vehicle and pray for my very life.
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rod humble

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Great thread. Thanks to those who have been in these vehicles for the insights.

Anyone been in a BMP or BTR for comparison?
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The crewmen were usually pretty good about remembering their human cargo, but the few times the scouts were inside the vehicles when things got heated were some of my most terrifying moments in the Corps. It was like trying to hold on to a bucking Bronco that was made out of metal and could run at about 45 miles an hour. I got my head bashed against the back of the turret a few times, one fellow got thrown clear of the vehicle and managed to miraculously land back on top of the open crew hatch, another had to be medevaced after he ducked down halfway through a hatch at the wrong time and got his face smashed. Those vehicles are feared and despised by the 0311s that have to ride them. The cloud of diesel fumes and sand that assaults the scouts (The crewmen are elevated above and in front of the cloud) is unbelievably bad. I would "borrow" just about any conveyance I could find to move my team around that wasn't the pigs.

The BTR is similar to the LAV/Striker as far as the scouts are concerned. I rode in one on some US Army base during a dog and pony show. It was designed at a similar time when people thought we would be fighting on roads and not wearing giant armor, so they pretty much suck for the scouts too. The only BMPs I ever saw were scrap metal.

Michael Dorosh wrote:

All the boneheads who want to get rid of boardgames and conventional video games, who are slavering and licking chops at the thought of the day we will have "holodeck"-like simulators for "total realism and immersion" have no idea what they are wishing for.

The only M113 I ever rode in was a bulldozer variant - with the blade up - and I was lucky in that it was at least kept to the gravel road. Even at that, I recall the claustrophobia - couldn't imagine trying to fit winter kit inside the thing, or wearing NBC/CBR gear.

Worst ride I ever had was actually in the back of a 6/4 ton truck when the company sergeant major forgot that he had just ordered me into the back and he set off cross-country at speed. I had to press my back flat to the floor of the vehicle and pray for my very life.


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Gordon Reynolds
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These would be either brand-new M113 or refurbished vehicles.
So how would that effect all the concerns about reliability and maintenance.

They would also have the latest and greatest in command, control, communications gear.
 
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rgordon44 wrote:
These would be either brand-new M113 or refurbished vehicles.
So how would that effect all the concerns about reliability and maintenance.

They would also have the latest and greatest in command, control, communications gear.


The first thing they need to do is improve the crew protection against blasts below the vehicle. The driver sits over the left track, and in Vietnam, when the left track struck a landmine, the driver was often blown out through the hatch.

The entire underside of the vehicle needs more armor against IEDs, as well as the sides.

All of this will probably make it too heavy to be amphibious.

I imagine newer alloys will improve the torsion bars that connect the road wheels so that they don't bust over rugged terrain.

 
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rgordon44 wrote:
These would be either brand-new M113 or refurbished vehicles.
So how would that effect all the concerns about reliability and maintenance.

They would also have the latest and greatest in command, control, communications gear.


I'm not sure if an improved M113 with all the latest bells and whistles would mitigate its weaknesses; after all, like Bill Eldard mentioned, it was designed with a different mission in mind back in the day--keeping up with armor in mechanized hauling of infantry to the battle area with armor marginally thicker than aluminum siding. It's a tracked Higgins Boat.

I don't know about the Stryker's future, or even the Bradley's, but if the military is thinking about upgrading its APC fleet, it's got to identify the mission: is it COIN? Is it a compliment to set-piece warfighters? Is it Soweto-style urban suppression, a la the old Buffalos and Hippos of the South African '70s?

Then again, this is the Pentagon we're talking about.
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One of the "striking" aspects of the Stryker is its size:



From http://www.com-central.net/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewto...
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CountDeMoney wrote:
rgordon44 wrote:
These would be either brand-new M113 or refurbished vehicles.
So how would that effect all the concerns about reliability and maintenance.

They would also have the latest and greatest in command, control, communications gear.


I'm not sure if an improved M113 with all the latest bells and whistles would mitigate its weaknesses; after all, like Bill Eldard mentioned, it was designed with a different mission in mind back in the day--keeping up with armor in mechanized hauling of infantry to the battle area with armor marginally thicker than aluminum siding. It's a tracked Higgins Boat.

I don't know about the Stryker's future, or even the Bradley's, but if the military is thinking about upgrading its APC fleet, it's got to identify the mission: is it COIN? Is it a compliment to set-piece warfighters? Is it Soweto-style urban suppression, a la the old Buffalos and Hippos of the South African '70s?

Then again, this is the Pentagon we're talking about.


You're exactly right. The Bradley was designed to fight it out with BMPs and other light armored vehicles, while the M113 was strictly an APC.

So, the Army has to decide what the primary function of the vehicle is.
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rodvik wrote:
Great thread. Thanks to those who have been in these vehicles for the insights.

Anyone been in a BMP or BTR for comparison?


Drove (and rode in) M113s and M577s as well as driving and riding in BTR 60s and MTLBs while I was with the Opfor at Ft Irwin. Got to crawl around in a BVP-80A (essentially a BMP-2), although I never drove it or rode in it.

Riding in the troop compartment of any of them was uncomfortable - at best - and worse if you closed down the hatches (even worse if you crammed a full squad into one). The BMP really made me feel like I was a hulking brute (5'10 and weighed about 155 but seemed about half again too big for the troop seats).

Our BTR-60s didn't run well because they were cobbled together and didn't have the proper engines, but they weren't a bad ride (we didn't have a lot of mud or other soft terrain that actually required tracks).

Based on my experiences with these vehicles, and with what I've heard from friends who served with Strykers, I'd choose the Stryker.

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Eldard wrote:

So, the Army has to decide what the primary function of the vehicle is.


Depending on what you are doing, some times you just need a Ford F350. Sometimes you need an Abrams. I hate having the wrong one.
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joedogboy wrote:
rodvik wrote:
Great thread. Thanks to those who have been in these vehicles for the insights.

Anyone been in a BMP or BTR for comparison?


Drove (and rode in) M113s and M577s as well as driving and riding in BTR 60s and MTLBs while I was with the Opfor at Ft Irwin. Got to crawl around in a BVP-80A (essentially a BMP-2), although I never drove it or rode in it.

Riding in the troop compartment of any of them was uncomfortable - at best - and worse if you closed down the hatches (even worse if you crammed a full squad into one). The BMP really made me feel like I was a hulking brute (5'10 and weighed about 155 but seemed about half again too big for the troop seats).

Our BTR-60s didn't run well because they were cobbled together and didn't have the proper engines, but they weren't a bad ride (we didn't have a lot of mud or other soft terrain that actually required tracks).

Based on my experiences with these vehicles, and with what I've heard from friends who served with Strykers, I'd choose the Stryker.



Thanks!
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Gordon Reynolds
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Quote:
So, the Army has to decide what the primary function of the vehicle is.

No no no
You decide, that is the fun of this entire exercise.

What would you do?
Lay out your vehicle, your capability requirements, your potential missions and operating environments.
(within reason, given today's budgets...)
Brain storm.
Speculate.
Theorize.
 
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