The end of tanks?

| February 2, 2014

The Washington Post speculates that the Pentagon is moving away from tanks (they throw the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the mix under that term) and towards drones, submarines and fighters. The Post claims that the reason we’re still buying tanks is because Congress is trying to save jobs in Congressmen’s respective districts;

The manufacturing of tanks — powerful but cumbersome — is no longer essential, the military says. In modern warfare, forces must deploy quickly and “project power over great distances.” Submarines and long-range bombers are needed. Weapons such as drones — nimble and tactical — are the future.

Tanks are something of a relic.

The Army has about 5,000 of them sitting idle or awaiting an upgrade. For the BAE Systems employees in York, keeping the armored vehicle in service means keeping a job. And jobs, after all, are what their representatives in Congress are working to protect in their home districts.


The Army is pushing ahead on a path that could result in at least partial closure of the two U.S. facilities producing these vehicles — buoyed by a new study on the state of the combat vehicle industry due for release next month.

This is short-sighted thinking. The Chinese and Russians aren’t buying fewer tanks. But, of course, I suppose the brain trust in the Obama Administration has the next war all planned out. They hope that it’s an island-hopping war in the Pacific, or that it will look like the last war.

They want to do away with the Warthog tank-busting aircraft and our own tanks – they’ve already pulled all of our tanks out of Europe, I guess, in hopes that all of the other countries in the world will do the same. Most likely, the next war will be with Iran, or with North Korea since those two are doing their best to rise up our shitlist. Both are heavily tanked-up armies. Maybe they’ll do like Hussein did in 1990-1991 and give us a chance to build up an armored presence before we attack. Only, the next time, they’ll have to give us years, so that we can build from scratch an armored force, that is if we can a manufacturer who will retool and make the commitment.

It appears that the Pentagon is forgetting the simple rule that the only ground you control in war is the ground between a Joe’s feet and they’re bound and determined to pull all of Joe’s support, so it will be like Kasserine Pass all over again – an untrained, ill-equipped force facing a better-trained, better-equipped Army paying for the politicians’ ill-considered defense policies in their own blood and lives.

Category: Big Army

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HS Sophomore

Same damn mistake that was made after they invented wire-guided missiles. People figured that with that capability, tanks were now obsolete. The Israelis proved that one wrong in a hurry. High mobility, high caliber firepower that can move in support of infantry, function in all or most weather (anybody know what happens to drones once a nice windstorm gets started?), and see the things that can’t be seen from air is never going to be obsolete. As one Iraqi tank commander said: “When I came to Kuwait, I had seventy-six tanks. After six months of American air strikes, I had sixty-five. After ten minutes against a battalion of M1 Abrams, I had none.”

A Proud Infidel

It has been said that B. Hussein 0bama was overheard saying that wars CAN be won by air power alone and cited Star Wars as an example!


Barry, et al, need to read Fehrenbach’s “This Kind of War” from 1963. The sub title is: “A Study in Unpreparedness”. It relates, mainly to how hosed we were when Korea blew up.

My beloved bro (RIP LTC) gave it to me when I graduated from Citadel in ’63. Time to read it yet again…my copy is dog eared throughout. I commend it to you folks.


They’re not building more submarines–quite the contrary. We’re down to a total of 71 boats; 54 SSN’s, 4 SSGN’s, and 18 SSBN’s.

Compare that to when I hit the fleet in the mid-80’s when we had over 100 SSN’s and 40 SSBN’s. By the time I got out a decade later we were down to 65 SSN’s and 18 SSBN’s.

And to top it off, there are those in the Pentagon (and elsewhere) that think we can do the job with just 35 SSN’s. Uh, not only no, but hell no.


PS re my #4: I know, Barry doesn’t give a shit and won’t be reading anything but Marx, Mao, etc.


Correction to last–4 SSGN’s, 14 SSBN’s. The first 4 Ohio-class got reconfigured.


We could end up starting all over!

A Proud Infidel

I heard that B. Hussein 0bama himself was overheard saying that wars CAN be won by air power alone, and cited Star Wars as an example!


Just read where the Abrams that just got pulled from Germany, just got sent back to Germany


Teh Emperor likes super heroes…all you need is Dr. Manhattan…


Nice… I stay away from here for almost a year and come back to find “Happy Music” at the top of the page yesterday and then “The End of Tanks?” today? This is rather unsettling.


Wull…why did you stay away so long, girl?


“Submarines and long-range bombers are needed. Weapons such as drones — nimble and tactical — are the future.” Because drones, bombers and submarines can take and hold ground?
“The military says”? Is that similar to “some say” or “there are those who say”?


Maybe someone should take a closer look at how poorly the Stryker BDE did against tanks out at NTC last week.

B Woodman

Suuurrrrrre. So let’s get rid of and destroy the tanks we don’t need any more (according to El Preezy and Teh Kongressional Lack-of-Brains Trust) — that is, until the next ground war, when we’ll need them again.

Short-sighted Marxist assholes, one and all. You’d think they were doing this on purpose.

Just An Old Dog

Thinking outside the box here. You can’t fall in love with a platform. The concept is that of a weapon that is resistant to enemy firepower, can move at good speed, hold a position and deliver a potent punch in the defense or attach.
Nothing says that weapon should have to weigh 70 tons, have a crew of 3-5 men, use fossil fuel and require a huge logistic tail.
Not saying we could do without them, but if you aren’t looking to make it it better, you’ll fall behind. If you look at the movie “The Terminator” from 1984 many of the sci-fi type weapons are in our arsenal now. We have unmanned drones and EOD robots.


This is just idle speculation on part of the MSM. They don’t know anything about the military. Hell at one point they insist the the Bradley is a tank saying that the “military insists that it isn’t”….

WaPo sucks.


They’ve been trying to kill off the A-10 for what ~30 yrs now?
Funny how it took ARMOR to help take Fallujah, (if you ever read the old Milblog Armorgeddon, for a first hand account) yet it only took a bunch of chickenshit politicians to give it right back.


OWB says: Keep them! Improve them as science and technology advance. And do the same with boats and ships and aircraft and every other piece of rolling stock.

Since we always go to war as a reaction to someone else starting a war, we need to plan for every possible contingency. Air, land, and sea. Kinda like we have always done.

Some of the details really are rocket science, but the big picture isn’t.


I put this right up there with fighter jets not ever needing a gun again because of missiles, and we know how that worked out.

Just An Old Dog

Think of how Cavalry went from horses to armor to aircraft…


they’ll just give them to your local police dept.

Zero Ponsdorf

The next generation of armored vehicles are gonna have remote drivers.

Really, that should negate Jonn’s premise “the only ground you control in war is the ground between a Joe’s feet “.

That guy with a joystick in his hand is a good guy. The UAVs have demonstrated that many times.

Yeah… Or: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Toss a coin.


We don’t need tanks… until we need them.

Remember how we didn’t need tanks in Somalia (thanks, Les Aspin)… until all of a sudden we needed them.

Sigh. Tanks and infantry work together, and need each other to protect each other. That’s a lesson going back to, say, Stalingrad or thereabouts?

But, sadly, we seem destined to keep learning the same lessons of history over and over and over again, because we are too stupid to remember them.


An Abrams would be fun, but I’d rather have a new motorcycle.


Broncos just got ran over by tanks….


Somewhere back in them there good ol’ days, a fellow named Richard Gatling invented a rapid-fire weapon, which you may or may not have heard of: the Gatling gun. I’m quite sure that with the use of that piece of machinery during the Civil War (e.g., 8 were on boats, Butler used his own money to buy 12 and 2 were used in the field), the Army was impressed enough to overcome its pre-war reluctance to purchase this advanced weapon system for ordnance testing. Here’s a quote from a letter by Dr. Gatling in re: the invention of the Gatling gun: … It occurred to me if I could invent a machine–a gun– which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a great extent, supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished. I thought over the subject and finally this idea took practical form in the invention of the Gatling Gun. Another quote from a letter to Pres. Lincoln: Gatling’s own written words seems to be less than glamourous, for in 1864 he touched somewhat on his motives in a letter to President Lincoln. “The arm in question is an invention of no ordinary character,” he wrote from Indianapolis to the President on February 18, 1864. “It is regarded by all who have seen it operate, as the most effective implement of warfare invented during the war, and it is just the thing needed to aid in crushing the present rebellion.” As you know, the tech-ridden culture that we live in seldom takes the time to acknowledge that the warfare of ‘the past’ still exists, and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. Drones can easily be knocked out of the sky and will some day just as easily be hacked and downed; submarines can be tracked and sunk; and long-range bombers can be shot down. Reliance on nothing but new technology is a failure to acknowledge that people can and do make use of ‘old’… Read more »

The Dead Man

Guys guys, they’ve got it all sorted out. One of the key heads there played X-Com UFO Defense, they’re building HWPs, they’re like.. only a bit bigger than your dudes!

Or we go with option B, we’re being lead by people with the combined intelligence of three week old cabbage.

John Robert Mallernee

Comrades in Arms:

Without any tanks to put gasoline in, how will I be able to drive my pickup truck (which currently sits idle with a dead battery and a flat tire.)?

Without tanks for oxygen, how will astronauts be able to explore distant galaxies?

Without tanks for water, how can we survive droughts?

Without tanks for fertilizer, how will farmers increase their crop yield?

Heh! Heh! Heh!

Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!

By the way, I only just now saw this fantastically unbelievable TRUE story posted at the FREE NORTH CAROLINA web site, and you’re going to LOVE reading about this:

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Gulfport, Mississippi 39507


So even after a decade of insurgency warfare where taking and holding ground is everything the air power doctorine is still being suggested?


War never changes.

A Proud Infidel

Maybe B. Hussein 0bama & Company want to take more money to use on golf trips, fundraisers, vacations, kickbacks to fatcat donors, and more handouts to welfare flunkies and illegal aliens?


Ah… @13 Street… You still hanging around here I see. As for myself, depleted brain, defected from blogging to Facebook as it didn’t require the use of my noggin. I kinda miss it.

@28 ExPH2. Great bits of information in that head of yours. (On a side note, I can’t remember if I commented on this before, but I couldn’t place who it was that you reminded me of, but eventually I came up with… a blend of Lulu and a young Shirley Maclaine.

As for tanks (soft spot here)… if an enemy, foreign or domestic, ever declares war on the United States and sets foot on American soil (god forbid), you will need (fill in blank)… To not, would be, illogical. (Not that there ever will be a ground war in North America, but if there were…)

John Robert Mallernee

Without any tanks, where will cops put all the drunks?


The musket, lined infantry formations, fixed coastal defenses, the horse, the battleship, and now the tank.

Yes… I agree it is time. I’m not blaming the political party in power. Billy Mitchell was court-martialed for just such “heresy.”

I just finished re-reading my “buddie’s” USAWC research paper dated 28 Feb 1972:
The Aerial Vehicle:A Technological Threat to Armored Warfare

Sadly, it cost him his star.


This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.


@36 pigmypuncher. Nice reference to “The Hunt For Red October” great movie.

By the way is a pigmy puncher akin to a dwarf tosser? 😀


As much as I understand the concern, I agree with @17. You can’t be wedded to a platform. Tanks are great – for fighting other tanks. So who are we going to fight? Iran? Why the hell would we go to war with Iran? What does Iran have that we want, or what can it do that would cause us to go to war? Nuke Israel? Well, besides the fact that they’re unlikely to be able to do that, Israel would retaliate so fast and so hard that our tanks wouldn’t get out of the motor pool before it was all over. Not to mention that getting tanks to Iran would require us to ship them through either Iraq or Afghanistan, one is a country we are already out of and the other is a country we will be out of shortly. North Korea? Don’t make me laugh. Yes, I know the Norks are a powerful country – defensively. Any attack North across the MDL would be costly. But offensively? Even if every US GI left tomorrow, the ROKs would clean NdTBF’s clock. Those who raise the specter of Task Force Smith are forgetting that in the Korea of June, 1950 is not the Korea of today. In 1950, South Korea was a beaten, broken country that had a half-assed joke of an army with NO antitank weapons, no jets, minimal manpower and no tanks. It also had no physical defenses to speak of. By contrast, today, the ROKs have a first rate army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, modern tanks, multiple defensive belts across the width of the country, and all sorts of artillery, air power, etc. So who does that leave? China? Where are we going to fight China? Russia? Why? And even if we assume the Russians somehow build up an army with imperial ambitions, so what? We put forces into Europe after WWII because like the ROK, Europe was broken and battered and needed us. They don’t need us now, so if the Russkies get froggy, the Germans, French, Poles, etc, can damn well defend… Read more »


@37–do not concur. From this submariner’s standpoint, it sucked. There have been exactly TWO what I would consider “decent” submarine movies–“Das Boot”, and “Down Periscope”, although “Run Silent, Run Deep” ain’t a bad one.


@39 Thanks NHSparks. Not being a Navy vet I don’t know good from bad when a movie presents anything Navy. I have seen “Das Boot” and though it was great. Also “Run Silent, Run Deep”. I will look at them in a whole new light now, thanks to you. I will look for “Down Periscope” to watch this weekend. Thank you for your service also. “The Hunt For Red October” for me, was more about the Jack Ryan character than the Naval scenes. But like I said as to the Naval accuracy of it all, I am ignorant. By the way, I enjoy the “Conservative Cave” though I am new. Thanks for it.


I have an article in my professional reading file at home where a Cavalry Officer thought that airplanes would be really useful because they would make it easier to get hay to his horses. The bleeding edge of technology is a scary place. Politicians and Pentagram Types should tread lightly there.


Sparks–keep in mind that Down Periscope is for the humor only. Once you understand that, you’ll have a frightening insight into the mind of a bubblehead.. 🙂


@42 NHSparky Cool! Thanks. Now I remember seeing the listing for it with Kelsey Grammer! I’ll get it, love a good laugh movie.


I forgot the bolt action rifle…

Let’s not fight tomorrow’s wars with yesterday’s equipment. There are exceptions.

A-10 is a keeper…I remember when the army phased out the 60mm mortar. A big mistake. Someone finally brought it back due to common sense.

Fulda Gap is still there…but it is not the same Fulda Gap from the Cold War.

Martinjmper said it well…but I’ll add that I would take Warthogs, Apaches, Javelins and TOWs to the fight against tanks.

Old Tanker

@#$% &$*$ @#%#^$%%@# %#^@^&!!!!!

That’s my assessment…..


Anyone find it interesting that in addition to thinking they know it all about Military affairs and war, WaPo seems to crap on the domestic job creation of building and maintaining “tanks”? Guess they only like putting people to work in things like bloated bureaucracy that shuffles papers from one desk to another and never gets anything done.


Beretverde -don’t be too quick. Bolt action rifles? Nothing more accurate at long range for the money. Lot of these “obsolete” platforms are still around because in terms of bang for the buck, they are very efficient. Before throwing millions – or billions – of dollars at new gee-whiz stuff, it has to work BETTER in its role than what it replaces. If it doesn’t… why go through the replacement process? A lot of the military’s issues are caused by just such rushes to replace with (ahem, F-35) dubious platforms.


@47…then we should have stormed the beaches in WWII with 1903 Springfields? Yes, bolt action for sniping. Let’s bring back the Higgins boats and shit-can helicopters for amphibious assaults. Forward smart thinking is needed…..I agree the F35 is a bust. Hmmm I loved the 106 RCL, but the TIW was a better overall weapon.