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Posted: 5/15/2003 2:40:20 PM EDT
i have recieved an adobe acrobat file describing the successes and shotcomings of new and untested gear that saw combat in iraq. i believe this is an important document and i would like to share it with the ARFCOM community. of special interest is the section dealing with 5.56 vs 7.62 lethality and the success of the SAM/DMR concept. unfortunately i do not have any webspace to host such a document. if any members would like to post the document and provide a link to other members via the board please email me and i will fwd you the document as soon as im back from "the matrix" tonight.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:45:49 PM EDT
Send it to me and i will try to post it:

[email][email protected][/email]
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:46:43 PM EDT
Background ~ In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) fielded equipment in response to Urgent Universal Need Statements which provided additional capability to I MEF. At the request of the Combat Assessment Team, MCSC provided three officers to assess UNS / legacy system items. This was the second trip supported by MCSC personnel in theatre. The following locations were visited:

An Nasiriyah
Ad Diwaniyah

Observations ~ The following notes are based on discussions with Marines in the field. Accordingly, much of the information provided is subjective and opinion based. I would recommend appropriate and further review before taking action. Intent of this discussion is to highlight those areas where the Marine Corps, as an institution, should consider applying resources in order to improve the identified functional areas. This report is a result of the efforts of Capt Patricia Dienhart (PM, GTES), Capt Shannon Roos (PM, Tanks) and Capt Mike Howard (PM, IWS) who traveled current USMC battlespace to interview the Marines who are currently using the gear. Additionally, I conducted a number of camp interviews; those systems are included in this report:

Dust abatement – remains a high priority for the MEF and affects units throughout the battlespace. My personnel experience suggests that this type of materiel needs to come into theatre ASAP. Dust in certain areas is greater than 6” deep and very much like a fine talcum powder. Foot and vehicle traffic, along with ever-present winds, can reduce visibility to less than 50’ feet in a matter of moments. Convoy operations become exceedingly difficult, air operations come to a halt and living conditions for Marines become intolerable. A bigger concern is that commanders in the field are faced with a Catch-22 situation of spraying oil on the ground (hazmat, environmental issues in a “win the hearts and minds environment”) vs. functioning.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:48:14 PM EDT
C4I Issues - Interoperability of various Communications equipment was an issue in all C3 vehicles and COCs (Tanks, LAR, AAVs). Marines were overwhelmed with the high number of varied communications equipment they were expected to use. Routinely, communicators, operations officers, and commanders found themselves in information overload as they received information over too many different networks (e.g. an LAV Marine was connected to the intercom via his CVC headset, receiving information on a personal intra squad radio (requiring him to remove his helmet to talk), while also (depending on the particular LAVs configuration) “working” 2-3 man portable radios to communicate with other units (PVC 5 for SEALs, PRC 148 for fellow Marines, etc) and “monitoring” two laptops). This situation was exacerbated in C3 vehicles where I personally saw that every “shelf” was taken up by a radio and seat spaces and floor spaces were taken up with open computers for communications devices such as Blue Force Tracker, MDACT, or Iridium phones. Marines recounted numerous instances where units would call via radio to verify that a message was received over MDACT, while the receiving unit had just put the MDACT aside to monitor BFT since a previous unit had called asking about the receipt of a digital photo over BFT. Consolidation of communications assets / capabilities is an issue that requires review at the institutional level. Commanders want one box that provides multiple capabilities and that is simple and easy to use.
Overwhelmingly, units were in agreement that communications architecture required an overhaul. There were too many different devices that provided redundant capabilities. Additionally, units never seemed to receive enough of ONE communications asset, forcing them to rely on a “hodge-podge” of assets that were not consistent throughout the force. (e.g. some units had only MDACT for digital communication while another unit had only Blue Force Tracker. These units could not talk to each other unless they went through a third party or used a courier system). A specific case occurred between LAR S-2 and the Div G-2, while attempting to send pictures from the Dragon Eye to Division HQ G-2. The S-2 had BFT readily available while the G-2 did not. The G-2 needed to “borrow” the commander’s BFT to receive these messages or simply wait for a courier with a MEMOREX disk to arrive with the pictures. Time lost often rendered the pictures irrelevant in this fast paced fight. As the Operations Officer from 1st LAR stated, “the communications architecture is broken and the interoperability of various communications assets is virtually non-existent.”

Satellite Communications - The only consistently reliable means of communication was “SATCOM.” In this fast paced war, if a communications system was not functioning quickly, alternative methods were employed. This was a specific problem of the EPLRS radio (which relies on Line of Site (LOS)). With units constantly moving, over various terrain, LOS was not possible. Accordingly, any system connected to the EPLRS radio proved unreliable (e.g. MDACT, AFATDS, etc). The only systems consistently praised by the Marines were the Blue Force Tracker (SATCOM- though unsecure) and Iridium Phones (SATCOM). These systems provided reliable communications at all times. In many instances these systems were the sole means of communication.
Many Marines noted MDACT, which has a larger bandwidth and greater capability for sending electronic information was marginalized by its dependence on the EPLRS (LOS) radio. As one commander stated, “Satellite Communications is simply the way of the future and the Marine Corps needs to start focusing on that.” Rumor suggested the Army “gave” the Marine Corps satellite time (note: I believe the USMC contracted bandwidth prior to crossing the LD) in order to use the BFT; had this not been the case, the Marine Corps would have found itself fighting, in several instances, without tactical communication.
There were numerous comments regarding the fielding (plans) of gear. Consistently units felt “forgotten” in the fielding plans of various pieces of equipment. For example, Combat Engineer Battalion was not included in the original SAPI plate distribution; ultimately, they received inadequate numbers of SAPI plates the day prior to crossing the LD. CEB leadership was faced with hard questions from their Marines (e.g. literally, questions such as, “Why is {his} life more important than mine?”). EOD and LAR units consistently felt “left out” of the distribution of the latest combat gear (note: these fielding issues should be reviewed by the appropriate Advocate and Requirements reps). Additionally, if LAR was included in a fielding plan, they were treated similarly to “leg” infantry units; though structured differently (LAR battalions have four companies vice the traditional three of an infantry unit). This caused problems when items were fielded as “one per company” as invariably in a 4-company base one company would go without the newly fielded equipment. This problem became acute when one company was forced to use secondary communications, burdening the COC with monitoring two different radios for all their companies.

Logistics Trains - CSSG resupply trains were fired upon. However, their technology and armor was inferior to that of the divisions’. Marines without SAPI plates in soft skinned vehicles were the norm. “Rear area” units have elements that routinely operate on the “front lines”. Though CSSGs did not face the same intensity and threats of Division units, they received fire and worked in a very hostile environment. As the tempo of the modern fight will cause differences between the front lines and rear areas to blur, Advocate level consideration needs to be given to more equitable fieldings of equipment. FSSG units need to be outfitted with more Blue Force Trackers, more high tech radios, and better-armored protection (SAPI plates, armored HMMWVs, etc).

Preliminary UNS Review ~ The following is a list of UNS / legacy items for which was gathered from the Marines that used them:

Fuel hoses and reels – One of success stories of the conflict and follow on HA mission. Approximately 70 miles of hoses and reel were laid that supported the MEF’s movement without flaw. Despite supporting what were, arguably, the longest LOC’s in recent USMC history, fuel was never a potential limiting feature of the war. The hose reel system outpaced the Army’s installation of IPDS system. However, within the bulk fuel community, there is a concern that the wrong lessons will be learned. The fuel effort required the dedicated use of a bulk fuel company for the duration of the war. Once the lines were laid, they required high maintenance and the constant supervision / over watch of the skill sets resident in the dedicated engineer unit which supported the fuel lines.

TCDL suites - Systems were sent out to various MSCs to include the 1st UK Div and provided real time surveillance of the battlespace. The systems easy to use and proved to be reliable under a very harsh environment. The units requested additional systems as a result of this new capability that it gave the units. However, the limited availability of spares and FSR support for these systems were a concern.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:54:19 PM EDT
Black Cell Suites – This equipment transmitted UAV video down to the Bn level increasing visibility of the battlespace. The systems were easy to use and set-up. However, the limited availability of spares was a concern. Additionally, due to limited availability, there were not enough Black Cell suites to support every unit that requested one.

Low Cost Receiver – This system proved very easy to use, was lightweight and “Marine Proof”. The system never failed to work and was used to push information around the battlefield and every unit wanted one of these systems.

IOS Suites - Units want a small system during the next upgrade. Additionally, the units request a Windows platform, if available.

RTC – The system was never delivered to I MEF, but should have been procured earlier in the conflict. Could have been used by the Intel Fusion Cell. (note: originally requested but ultimately dropped from the UNS process due to time. This was a recurrent theme. Many never had visibility on the MROC process and did not understand the resultant 60 – 75 day delay that was apparently evident to even the lower levels of the organizational structure. After explanation, many understood, but felt the process could have been expedited. Many could not get past the idea that 60 days was the difference between every UNS fielded vs. most UNS fielded.).

AFATDS – The following insights were drawn from MGySgt Albrecht, an artilleryman with 28 of experience. Until all parties return from the battlespace, I have only one view. Accordingly, issues below should be validated before any action is taken. His thoughts below:
- AFATDS works best when turned on and left on
- As a whole the system was not used as intended (with the exception of the firing batteries)
- 22 systems down before crossing the LD. Apparently the maintenance concept was in place, but force protection issues (2 car, 4 Marine rule coupled with requirement to have an 06 signed letter to get on / off base (Doha) complicated this maintenance cycle
- Dust caused the keyboards to go “down”
- Infantry units did use a fire support control tool.
- Arty units were able to process and clear missions in 45 seconds; Infy units took 25 minutes.
- Infy units cleared all missions by voice (hence the time disparity noted above)
- AFATDS with EPLRS worked perfectly; digital was always “up”
- SINCGARS trouble shooting with AFATDS is timely (15 seconds) and easy
- One comment from 2nd Tanks was that they had problems getting the system to function properly, especially on the move. Once the tank started vibrating the system would stop working; not sure if it was the vibration or loss of Line of Site.
MGySgt Albrecht’s formal after action will be routed via his chain of command at MCSC.

MTVR – apparently there will be a large order of windshields for these assets as they were unable to withstand the overpressure of the Artillery’s higher charges (Charge 8 Super). Comments regarding bed height, as noted in my last report, were the same; bed is too high. Also, a concern was raised that, in the future, as the trucks become older, maintenance will become a critical issue since Marines are not trained to fix the highly sophisticated computerized system. CLS was not seen as a reliable solution. Marines, throughout the battlefield, of all ranks, were not in favor of contracted civilian support.

Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Mount ~ Both the AVS and MSG brands of HMG mounts worked well. Most reports were favorable. One operator indicated a flaw of the system was the tightness of the pintle. Sand often got in this area, which then locked the machine gun in one position. Operators alleviated the problem with routine PMs, suggesting the issue is likely to be due to the extreme sand problems of this environment.

Forward Air Controller (FAC) Suite/GLTD II ~ Operators who used the designator found that it performed acceptably. Operators in vehicle platforms (to include AAVs and tanks) would like to have a stabilized vehicle mounted variant.
The GLTD II system (non US version) was issued in a configuration that included components necessary for designating targets (a tripod, and a tracking head). The tracking head provided a means to attach the designator to the issued tripod (can’t be done directly) and stabilize the designator for laser safety issues. The tracking head is a bulky, heavy apparatus that functions as the “trigger” for the rest of the system. The desire of the operators is to leave all unnecessary gear behind due to size and weight considerations. Most operators learned that by using the remote trigger cable, they wouldn’t need the tracking head. Many left the tracking head and tripod behind. Many chose to use the tripod from the Viper (could be connected directly to designator) if tripod use was desired.
The FAC suites were not issued as requested in the UNS. The fielding team only issued the GLTD II laser designator suite. The PEQ-4 laser illuminators/markers and AN/PRC-7C night vision goggles went directly to Division and were distributed before the fielding team arrived in country. (note: as the crossing of the LD became imminent, it was decided to field components as they came in, IOT some capability vice no capability. The GLTD II literally “just made it” and was the last item fielded before the LD was crossed). Units already have assets to communicate with the aircraft (PRC-113), night vision devices (AN/PVS-7s, AN/PVS-14s) to spot the laser illumination, and AN/PVS-17C to give the GLTD II a “night sight capability”. The AN/PVS-17C has a maximum effective range of 500m at a point target in ideal/perfect conditions. This distance is within the “danger close” area, and therefore doesn’t give the system a night capability. Units didn’t reallocate the AN/PVS-17’s for the designators as the capability gained is far less than what is lost by taking them off they intended weapon platforms. Operators would like to be able to see the laser “splash” on the target from a piece of gear mounted to the
designator. They were unable to do this with the gear available. They also requested having a thermal site attached or mounted.
Operators were very impressed with the AN/PEQ-4 Laser Illuminator; which was used extensively. It was the primary tool used by the FAC’s, especially when working with Cobras. They illuminated the target and once the pilot spotted it, he was able to control the mission. Many would like these issued beyond the FAC’s. Often, smaller units (platoons, squads, teams) don’t have a school trained FAC with them but need the capability. Users would prefer ISLD 1000 vice AN/PEQ-4 for increased capability; however, the PEQ-4 “answers the mail.”

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:55:40 PM EDT
AN/PVS- 14 Night Vision Equipment ~ “Great piece of gear, need more.” Some infantry units have one per man, (combined AN/PVS-14 and AN/PVS-7 assets), others, one per squad. Operators are asking to have one set of Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) per fire team; one per man is preferred. Units who received the M16A4 with ACOG scope/site would like to mount the NVG in front of the ACOG to give them a night shooting capability. For those who did this, they found the capability worked well. Some units couldn’t mount the AN/PVS-14 on the 1913 RAIL (unknown if they had a different model, were missing parts, or lacked training). They taped the NVG on and had limited success. Actual mounting would be better.

Long Range Thermal Imager (SOPHIE) ~ Operators were amazed by the capability. They would like more of the capability but would like to see it in a smaller and lighter package that is vehicle mountable and stabilized. Operators needed more extensive training. They didn’t really know what they were seeing.

AN-PAS 13 Thermal Weapon Site ~ “Amazing, need more.” Many operators were able to see clearly to “10+ kilometers” under good conditions. In mild dust, they were also impressed since they could see “almost as far, 8+.” Most reports were that they worked very well in all but the most extreme dust storms. Highlighted the need for thermal AFVID USMC wide! If PAS-13 gets wide distribution, infantry units will need rigorous AFVID THERMAL training. Currently, Tanks, LAV, Tow, and Air train to such standards. The proliferation of numerous hand held thermal devices without proper training could prove problematic. In addition, infrared can be viewed. Passing lanes proved problematic for some LAR vehicles that relied on thermals. Passives had to be used to spot IR chem.-lights. Thermal chem.-lights or beacons can prove costly.

AN/PVS 17 B and C ~ “Great gear, need more” across the board. Operators impressed with clarity and ability to ID targets. Operators particularly liked red dot reticule for point and shoot capability.

M16A4 with associated combat optic (ACOG 4x), the West Coast’s SAM Rifle ~ All interviewed were extremely pleased with the performance and felt it “answered the mail” for the role of the Squad Advanced Marksman (SAM). All said the fixed 4-power ACOG sight that was included was the perfect solution. It gave them the ability to identify targets at distance, under poor conditions, and maintained ability to quickly acquire the target in the close in (MOUT/room clearing) environment. As above, many “stacked” it with the AN/PVS-14 to get a true night capability. No Marines present in interviews knew of any situation where the shooter could shoot the gun to its full capability or outshoot it. Interviewees included STA platoon leadership and members who are school trained MOS 8541 Snipers. They saw no need for the accuracy and expense involved in the version being built for the “East Coast” SAM Rifle by Precision Weapons Section (PWS), WTBN, Quantico. The standard M16A4 with issued optic more than satisfied their requirements.
Distribution among battalions varied. One battalion received (6), one went to each of the three line companies and three to STA Platoon for the spotters. Other battalions received one per rifle squad.
Regular M16A4’s, no optic, were sent over to theatre to replace M16A2’s. However, they arrived too late to be distributed and BZO’d prior to start of the war. These weapons remained in storage in Kuwait.

M4 Carbine ~ Many Marines commented on desire for the shorter weapon vice the longer M16’s. They say that it would have definitely been better in the urban environment because of the confined spaces. Since most of the operators were operating from a vehicle platform, the smaller weapon would have helped tremendously for mounting and dismounting.
There were numerous comments that the M16 is too long and cumbersome in the urban fight. Several Marines even opted to use the AK-47s that had been captured from Iraqi weapons caches. Others were trading the rifle for pistols to go into buildings to allow mobility in confined spaces.
There has been a push to get M-4’s to crewmen of the mechanized vehicles, LAR in particular. The distribution needs to include LAR, AAV’s, Tanks, Motor Transportation, and any other units that may have a requirement. IWS has fielded some assets to LAR, but not all others. LAR still has mostly M16’s. The M-16’s are too cumbersome/long for crewmen to employ (get out of the cupola or out of a door/window) in a timely manner while under stress such as when receiving fire.

M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) ~ The SAW’s are worn out and apparently beyond repair. They have far exceeded their service life. Many Marines are duct taping and zip tying the weapons together. Reconnaissance units were requesting parasaw, infantry units requesting collapsible buttstock.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:58:08 PM EDT
5.56mm vs. 7.62 Lethality ~ 5.56mm “definitely answered the mail” and “as long as the shots were in the head or chest they went down” were typical quotes from several Marines; many who were previously very skeptical of 5.56mm ammunition. Most of the interviewed Marines who reported targets not going down and/or could still fight were referencing non-lethal shots to the extremities. There were reports of targets receiving shots in the vitals and not going down. These stories need not be described, but are of the rare superhuman occurrences that defy logic and caliber of round. Some Marines did ask about getting the heaver-grained 5.56mm rounds, up to 77 grain if possible.

M9 Pistol Magazines ~ The magazines are not working properly. The springs are extremely weak and the follower does not move forward when rounds are removed. If the magazine is in the weapon, malfunctions result. If out of the weapon, remaining rounds fall out of the magazine. Dirt and sand does cause some of the problem with follower movement, but multiple cleanings of the magazine each day does not alleviate the problem. The main problem is the weak/worn springs. (note: I personally encountered this problem as well. Say what you will, but I had to break down all magazines daily to clean them. Despite this effort, rounds routinely “fell” out of the magazine. Forces in contact did not have the time or the luxury to break down each 9mm magazine daily. M16 magazines worked well. Like many officers, I also traded up to a rifle).

Weapon Backup ~ Many infantrymen are requesting that all operators have an issued backup weapon, (i.e. M9 pistol) to augment their T/O weapon. If they can’t get pistols for secondary weapon purposes, they need more pistols available for MOUT operations to operate in very confined spaces, stairwells, etc. They request at least one per squad; minimum, one per fire team; better.

Rifle Propelled Grenade ~ Many Marines are requesting Rifle Propelled grenades to augment or replace the M203. The M203 doesn’t have an adequate range capability. (note: this desire stems from the fact that the most effective weapon employed against coalition forces was the RPG).

M240G Medium Machine Gun ~ Marines who did not really know what to expect were extremely impressed with effects on target.

M203 Load Bearing ~ Grenade bearing vests don’t hold enough ammunition. Rounds don’t fit into many of the pockets, so grenadiers aren’t able to carry as many rounds as the vest is designed to carry. They aren’t able to fit rounds into all of the pouches. Grenadiers are coming up with several different “band-aid” solutions to carry enough ammunition, most of which are not working. The Marines interviewed would like a vest that will hold at least 20 HE rounds plus 4 illumination rounds; 24 total rounds.

Grenade Pouches ~ Marines (at least infantry) need more than the two that are on the load bearing vest and/or issued with MOLLE. The MOLLE pouches aren’t holding the grenades properly, “pins are falling out”.

Viper ~ Operators saying “great gear, need more”. Operators are getting good azimuth and distance to target. However, they are unable to get the target grid location as advertised. “Zero maintenance Problems.” Used with Fire Support Teams. None came in for optics maintenance complaint. Desire for system to be linked to Thermal Imaging System (TIS) Designators. FACs for 2D Tank Battalion highlighted the need for a laser designator specific for moving vehicles with extended range compatible with FEP. GLTD II was useful but not on the move. MULE is obsolete and not practically mountable on tanks without loss of loader’s M240 machine at that station.

TOW 2 ~ Operators are extremely happy with the performance. Several operators reported tank (T-72) catastrophic (K) kills. TOW 2B caused some concern when shooting over any metal (such as around the oil fields) and around “friendlies” because of the one sensor. The operators already knew these factors. The TOW 2A had no such concerns. The one downside comment (a constant theme by all interviewed), had to do with training. For gunners trained on the newer sight, they are great. For the untrained on the new system, gunners are unable to identify and range targets, etc. Many operators are also having a tendency to follow the rocket with the sight when the rocket rises above the gun-target line, instead of leaving the site on target. This causes the rocket to go higher and higher as the operator follows the rocket. Sometimes they recover and hit the target, most of the time they don’t.
Additionally, the TOW sites are being successfully used for surveillance purposes. Operators are impressed with the capabilities the site offers in this area.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 2:59:51 PM EDT
PRC-148 and Inter Squad Radios (IRR) ~ “Great gear, need more for everyone”. One problem is that the power switch is prone to breaking off. Great to have capability to talk UHF (line of sight) for inter/intra team communications and to talk to aircraft for FAC/CAS purposes. Users also like VHF capability, especially in environment/terrain that does not allow line of site communications (i.e. urban areas). The ISR radio, operators say it is adequate in the open terrain as long as distance between radios is close enough. The radio is not good in urban environment due to operators’ inability to communicate around corners, between floors or rooms, nor is the range adequate. Marines want VHF capability to talk in urban and other environments. Users would rather have the 148’s across the board. One issue with the PRC 148 radios is the requirement for AC power to recharge. Vehicles use DC power; therefore invertors are needed.

M1014 Joint Service Shotgun / Breaching Kit ~ Units lack a means to mechanically breach in the MOUT environment. Some units bought kits from various vendors with their own funds. Satisfaction with various kits was determined by success of breaching, which is the result of what they were breaching and whether the kit had the right gear for the given situation (usually
dependent on what the unit spent on the kit). Many operators pointed out that battering rams proved ineffective against most doors encountered. A majority of the doors (both interior and exterior) were heavy steel and often reinforced with cross bars. Most agreed that, at a minimum, small units need to have a shotgun to breach the doors. For units both with and without the kits, the shotguns would have made them more successful. Only six (6) M1014 shotguns were issued to each infantry battalion. This quantity is not enough. Operators are asking for at least one per squad at a minimum. The round/ammunition that was needed in this environment was the slug. Units tried using 00 Buck, which did not work well. CEB expressed a desire to have more urban breaching tools (they were always short), more route reconnaissance kits, and more tactical bolt cutters (short version).

SMAW Thermobaric (New) Round ~ Only received reports of two shots. One unit disintegrated a large one-story masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed. However, another unit tried to breach a wall of a similar masonry building after being unsuccessful at trying to mechanically breach a door. “The round just bounced off the wall.” They were not so impressed.

Weapon Take-Down Pins ~ Many weapons, M16 and M249 in particular, were having problems with takedown pins breaking and/or falling completely out of the weapons. Marines held weapons together with duct tape and/or zip ties. The problem seems to be that sand would get into the spaces around the pins, grinding down the metal.

Enemy Engagements ~ Almost all interviewed stated all firefight engagements conducted with small arms (5.56mm guns) occurred in the twenty to thirty (20-30) meter range. Shots over 100m were rare. The maximum range was less than 300m. Of those interviewed, most sniper shots were taken at distances well under 300m, only one greater than 300m (608m during the day). After talking to the leadership from various sniper platoons and individuals, there was not enough confidence in the optical gear (Simrad or AN/PVS-10) to take a night shot under the given conditions at ranges over 300m. Most Marines agreed they would “push” a max range of 200m only.

Line Haul ~ Interviews with 15th MEU(SOC) preferred the British “container” method of transport. US Marines (MSSG S-3, S-3A, and MEU S-3) stated that a similar system would be very useful to the USMC. A request for purchases of many more iso-containers and Mk 48-18s was vocalized. Vice using the current system of hauling and offloading gear with 5-tons, LVSs and MHE; the USMC should consider using more MK 48-18 trailers with containers. The idea is to drive loaded containers to their designated site, offload them w/ the crane on the Mk 48-18, and return the trailer to the supply point in order to pick-up the next load. If the using unit had emptied containers these empty containers would be returned to the supply source for reloading. This is the method used by the British, which, according to members of 15th MEU, was at least 3 times as efficient as our current system. There is virtually no reliance on heavy equipment at the offload site and units are immediately provided with a secure storage container. However, this methodology would require an increase in containers and Mk 48-18s throughout the USMC. (note: Line haul was a problem for the USMC given the amount of materiel and increased distances log support had to travel. The MEF G4 was very successful at resolving this issue through careful coordination with all forces in the battlespace. A bigger problem, which remains unsolved, is distribution. There is no control of materiel once a convoy reaches its first destination. The USMC needs to revisit the role TMO Marines can play, as well as improving tools that can effectively track gear from one point to another.)

ROWPUs ~ Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units received nothing but praise from various members of the 15th MEU(SOC). The only concern raised was that the units were getting old, would run rough at times, and were performing past their life expectancy. There was concern with how much longer they would operate. Accordingly, there were recommendations for fielding the next generation of ROWPUs.

Power Converters ~ A question arose with respect to the purchase of power converters from 220v to 110v and vice versa. This could become a part of the electrician’s T/E. There were numerous instances where local gear could have been used (generators, pumps, etc) however, the lack of power converters prevented use of the gear.

NBC/ Gas Mask Voice Amplifiers ~ This gear received positive feedback. Marines requested that one voice amplifier be issued with each gas mask.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:04:09 PM EDT
SABRES ~ The current Sabres tend to lose their crypto fill while changing batteries. Marines of 15th MEU stated that the Sabres seem to be “getting old” and should be replaced with a lighter, smaller, more reliable system.

BA5590s ~ With the obvious shortage of BA5590s the Marines were asking for more alternative sources of power. Rechargeable batteries were requested. There was also discussion of a “radio bank” where 6-7 radios could be run off of one “bank” that received its power directly from a generator source. Also, many of the radios were semi-permanent fixtures to COCs. These radios, had been “jerry-rigged” by the Marines with a device allowing them to receive their power directly from the generator vice a battery. A commercial system with similar capability was requested. (note: SysCom’s international efforts added two DOS to the fight, at a time where it was not clear if we would run out of batteries before we ran out of war. This battery problem affects DoD).

Drop Holsters and “phone dummy chords” ~ Many Marines purchased these items from their own personal funds. Drop holsters (such as the kind purchased through the company, “Special Operations Equipment”) cost approximately $65. Marines would like to see these holsters issued with their pistols. Also, Marines fashioned pistol lanyards from phone chords. These lanyards retract and thus are much less cumbersome or likely to get caught than the current lanyard. Marines would like to see this type of lanyard fielded.

Three-Point Slings ~ Marine unit funds and individual funds were used to purchase three-point slings for M16A2 service rifles. These were used or “fabricated” by numerous Marines and received much praise. Marines requested that each of these be issued with each M16A2. An example of one such sling is the “Giles Tactical Carbine Sling” made by “The Wilderness Tactical Products” (www.thewilderness.com).
Goggles ~ The current goggles used by Marines received very poor feedback. They were too large, did not seal properly, and the lenses often popped out of the frame. Numerous Marines purchased goggles that were smaller and better contoured to the face. One such version is the “Panoptx” brand; Marines were enthusiastic about these goggles and asked for the USMC to field a similar version.

Ruggedized Computers ~ These worked well and received positive feedback. One drawback was that they tended to run very hot; users could not even touch the front area of the keyboard.

Generators ~ Marines from numerous units were requesting more generators and power distribution assets. Units noted that systems (especially Communications systems) were fielded that required much more power than current systems, yet there was no accompanying generator or power distribution gear to supplement the newly fielded system. LAR raised a request for a small generator that could be attached to the side of their C3 LAV.

LMT (Lightweight Mobile Tactical) Water Purification System ~ There were several complaints about the “flimsy” construction of the LMT. Most components were made of easily breakable plastic. Also, the purification of the LMT was not enough to purify the fresh water from the Euphrates River; its’ effectiveness and usefulness was questioned. A small system was a “good concept” however, the purification capability needed to be greater.

3000 gallon Water Bladders ~ Marines in the Utilities field admired the 3000 gallon water bladders used by the Seabees. These bladders were very effective as a sealed water storage capability. The current 3000-gallon “onion skins” were good for raw water storage, but not purified water. Also, the 500-gallon pods were not a large enough storage capability for purified water.

Water Pumps ~ The 165gpm pump was very effective in pulling water from its sources. The 125gpm pump, though intended for this purpose, was ineffective. It lacked the power to draw water from any source that was not completely flat. More 165gpm pumps were requested as a replacement for the ineffective 125gpm pump.

MEP TQ Generators ~ Sand caused many problems with the functioning of the generators. One recommendation by the electricians was to better seal the control panel/cubicle to keep out the sand. The master-switch often broke due to sand getting into the crevices. Also, the air filter system seemed to be ineffective. The electrician stated he would clean the air filter every day and literally shook out handfuls of sand each time. He stated that a more effective system that did not get clogged so quickly should be researched.

MEPDIS (Mobile Electric Power Distribution System) Gear ~ The mix of cables in the MEPDIS gear is not ideal. Electricians were asking for at least double the amount of 25ft extensions that came with the MEPDIS gear. Also, the 30kw power distribution panels need more 20-amp breakers.

SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) ~ To no surprise this item was worth its weight in gold. SAPI plates saved lives. In five separate incidents at 2D Tank Battalion the SAPI prevented death or serious injury. In the words of Capt. David Bardorf, 2D Tank Bn., “SAPI is God’s gift to the Marine Corps.”
Marines were hoping that the future could bring a lighter version that was slightly wider in the front, but these requests for modification were minimal and insignificant compared to the positive feedback and effectiveness of the plates.

.50 Caliber Machine Gun ~ Great piece of gear; but would like to see a rail mount on the .50-cal. This is to include the versions outside of M2 for infantry. Tankers and others would like the capability on their guns.

MOLLE Gear ~ Marines uniformly and strongly DISLIKED this item. The pack was considered too loose from the frame allowing it to move too much while the Marines were hiking. Marines asked for a tighter pack similar to the ALICE pack. The plastic frame was labeled “cheap” and broke on numerous occasions. This was especially the case when Marines tied these packs to the outsides of vehicles (LAVs, Tanks, HMMWVs, etc) for transport resulting in broken plastic frames.

Sleeping Bag ~ Several taller Marines complained of the length, stating they could never get fully inside the bag. They requested at least one foot of additional length.

LAVs ~ The LAV community had favorable comments about the LAV. However, the concern was raised that LAVs are getting old, requiring increased maintenance. A replacement was desired for the near future.

Combat ID Panel ~ These were highly desired and utilized. However, they were obtained by borrowing panels from the Army as well as fabricating panels prior to crossing the LD. Several Marines emphasized that Combat ID panels are a necessity for war; the USMC needs to field these critical fratricide prevention devices.

OS-302 Antenna ~ This was labeled as “very effective and reliable but much too big.” Marines pointed out that the CIA and SEALs had a small omni directional antenna that is approximately 1” in diameter and 6” tall that would be much less cumbersome and preferred.

Phrase-later ~ This was another small open purchase item that was purchased through unit funds. It consists of a small “palm pilot” size computer system that translates phrases into the desired language. This was used on numerous occasions to ask simple questions of locals and EPWs (with heavy usage at checkpoints). Recommend C4I or CESS look at providing to deploying units. The system is manufactured by Maine Acoustics.

Iridium Phones ~ There was a lot of positive feedback on the Iridium phone. Due to its ability to be used when not in Line of Site, these phones were often used for communication. It was a highly reliable means for the forces to continually be in contact with one another.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:08:37 PM EDT
M16A4 with associated combat optic (ACOG 4x), the West Coast’s SAM Rifle ~ All interviewed were extremely pleased with the performance and felt it “answered the mail” for the role of the Squad Advanced Marksman (SAM). All said the fixed 4-power ACOG sight that was included was the perfect solution. It gave them the ability to identify targets at distance, under poor conditions, and maintained ability to quickly acquire the target in the close in (MOUT/room clearing) environment. As above, many “stacked” it with the AN/PVS-14 to get a true night capability. No Marines present in interviews knew of any situation where the shooter could shoot the gun to its full capability or outshoot it. Interviewees included STA platoon leadership and members who are school trained MOS 8541 Snipers. They saw no need for the accuracy and expense involved in the version being built for the “East Coast” SAM Rifle by Precision Weapons Section (PWS), WTBN, Quantico. The standard M16A4 with issued optic more than satisfied their requirements.
Distribution among battalions varied. One battalion received (6), one went to each of the three line companies and three to STA Platoon for the spotters. Other battalions received one per rifle squad.
Regular M16A4’s, no optic, were sent over to theatre to replace M16A2’s. However, they arrived too late to be distributed and BZO’d prior to start of the war. These weapons remained in storage in Kuwait.
View Quote

Told ya![:)] newarguy will be insufferable now.

5.56mm vs. 7.62 Lethality ~ 5.56mm “definitely answered the mail” and “as long as the shots were in the head or chest they went down” were typical quotes from several Marines; many who were previously very skeptical of 5.56mm ammunition. Most of the interviewed Marines who reported targets not going down and/or could still fight were referencing non-lethal shots to the extremities. There were reports of targets receiving shots in the vitals and not going down. These stories need not be described, but are of the rare superhuman occurrences that defy logic and caliber of round. Some Marines did ask about getting the heaver-grained 5.56mm rounds, up to 77 grain if possible.
View Quote

Brouhaha and Tatjana will be happy to hear this.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:08:44 PM EDT
Comm Suite in AAV ~ Not highly received; comments were made that the Comm Suite needed an overhaul. One major downfall of the suite is its lack of capability of HF transmission when on the move.

AAV as Tank’s C3 vehicle ~ A concern was raised with respect to the comparatively lightly armored AAV being the C3 vehicle and thus employed with the Tank battalion. Those in the AAV felt vulnerable to enemy fire when engaged in a battle with the Tank Battalion.

870 Trailers ~ These trailers (both the A1 and A2 version) were found to be too flimsy for hauling assets over long distances, especially when hauling over all-terrain. The tires and rims would routinely going flat and bend
D9 Dozer ~ These bulldozers received highly favorable reviews from all that benefited from their use. They were seen clearing a row of buildings effectively within an extremely short period of time. Also, they were used in quickly clearing a highway for use and constructing hasty combat roads. Marines stated that the D9 can do the equivalent of approximately (4) D7 dozers. They would like to see this Dozer employed in more operations in the future.

SEE Tractors ~ A trend in the SEE Tractor was its tendency to roll on embanked terrain. It was also noted that this particular piece of gear was getting old and a replacement was desired. A concern was raised with fielding a backhoe that would not be able to keep up with convoys. Marines relied heavily on gear that was self-moved, due to limited lift assets. A desire for a backhoe capable of maintaining convoy speed was expressed. A backhoe that would require lift was not a desired option.

ACE ~ Although an effective piece of equipment when employed in its role, the ACE was found to have problems keeping up with the Tank battalions. The hydraulics continued to burst, requiring it to be left behind due to maintenance concerns. Modifications conducted on the ACE just prior to deployment reportedly increased their effectiveness and ability to perform.

TRAMS ~ TRAMS continue to prove to be a reliable “workhorse.” This MHE asset is used more than any other. Marines expressed their satisfaction and continued desire for “more TRAMS.”

D7 TPK (Tractor Protection Kit) ~ Although the concept of the TPK was praised, its usefulness was questioned. The visibility of a TPK D7 Dozer was “horrible.” It was noted that the “hole” for vision is ineffective and sight blocks are a “must have” for the TPK to be employed effectively.

Mine Detectors ~ These received poor reviews. They were labeled “flimsy” and “inaccurate.” The Marines of the Combat Engineer Battalion recommended a review of the ANPSC-12 (in Albany). They desired to test these to see if they would be more effective.

Hoses for Heavy Equipment (hydraulic, etc) ~ A desire for screw on hoses was expressed vice the quick connect. These hoses can be quickly fabricated to replace broken hoses thereby immediately returning the equipment to an “up” status. Quick connect hoses are difficult to repair in the field environment.

Gas Mask Carrier ~ The gas mask carrier was not favorably received. When donning a gas mask, many Marines lose the extra injectors or medications they are required to carry. Also, there was not sufficient room for the extra filter. The carrier needs to have more compartments and also needs to be a bit larger in size in order to hold the extra gear that is issued (medications, injectors, TM, filters, etc.)

Maintenance Contact Truck ~ The pneumatic tools in the contact truck were not sufficient to break lug nuts off of vehicle tires. Maintenance Marines expressed a desire to have a larger, sturdier vehicle with heavier, more capable tools. With the amount of gear mechanics are required to fix and the criticality of performing their maintenance in a minimal amount of time heavier tools were a necessity.

Demolition Kits ~ The new electric firing system received “rave reviews.” It was considered safer and more effective. However, the durability of the firing device was poor.

Carpenter’s Tool Kit and Pioneer Tool Kit ~ Numerous comments were received on these kits. The kits need an “overhaul” and need to be “updated to the 21st century.” Marines in the field left at least ½ of the tools behind. In particular the non-power hand cranked tools (e.g. drill) were left behind.

Minefield Marking Kit ~ The kit’s hem spools did not get used. Also the poles did not penetrate the ground very well (they broke or were not in the ground deep enough to stay in place). The poles also took too long to place in the ground. CEB ended up using 100’s of orange cones (such as seen at construction sites) to mark UXOs, vice utilizing the kits.

Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) ~ Each compound is too heavy and the range is considered ineffective. The range of approximately 25 meters was questioned. As one Marine stated, “Why should I lug a 50lb piece of gear around that only clears 25 meters when I can just mark it for EOD and walk around the obstacle?” The bangalore torpedo was still a preferred breaching system for obstacles.

Tents and One-Bag Showers ~ The new tents (2 man) received many compliments. Also, some Marines had purchased one-bag showers prior to deploying. These received favorable reviews and it was suggested that the USMC field them to Marines.

Line Charge Trailers ~ This equipment is “flimsy” and “unreliable.” On rough terrain the trailer can be towed barely over 5 mph before breaking.

DC inverters for HMMWV ~ Marines were very happy with the results of this item. They wanted more fielded (e.g. at least one per vehicle).

GPS ~ Battalions have purchased numerous GPS on the commercial market. The commercial market produced smaller, lighter, and more easily used GPS.

Memory Sticks ~ “Great information transmitting medium”. Often images/intel was passed via courier vice over the net (the net was too slow and unreliable) from the front units to the HQ G-2.

VMU ~ Video feeds were great, however, they needed to have grid coordinates, date, and time on all video feeds or else they are completely useless.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:15:51 PM EDT
Dragon Eye ~ Division HQ G-2’s Dragon eye was used for a week, prior to crossing the LD. However, prior to crossing the LD the computer went down and there was no maintenance plan in place. (note: there was a maintenance plan in place. It is not clear, however, how much of this plan the operators were aware of). Thus, the HQ G-2 did not utilize the system. However, the week that the Dragon Eye was used it received favorable comments.
Extensive analysis and feedback was received from 1st LAR’s S-2 section on the Dragon Eye. They used this system daily throughout the war. Overall the system was highly regarded and the S-2 section was extremely happy to have it as a tool for their intelligence gathering.
The system’s outer shell was characterized as “flimsy” and not durable enough. The harsh sandy environment immediately caused excessive wear. The rubber bands used for launch of the
system consistently broke. Users stated that at least 10-15 extra launching bands were needed to be fielded with the system. There was no maintenance plan in case of an item breaking. CLS was discussed and immediately disregarded. Contracted civilians were not desired in the battle-space. Training for the Dragon Eye was minimal and all Marines desired more detailed training. They hoped that this training would be incorporated at the schools and throughout the fleet.
Batteries were a critical vulnerability of the dragon eye. Not only did the battery run out, but finding a replacement battery in a timely manner was nearly impossible. The battery used was company specific. Marines desired a rechargeable battery or as a second choice a battery that was easily purchased on the open market.
Night use of the dragon eye was poor. An infrared camera would be a usable addition to the dragon eye. Also some kind of infrared strobe would be helpful, especially in locating the dragon eye upon landing. Marines had trouble finding the small “plane” when it returned from a mission, especially at night.
The range of the dragon eye was acceptable, but as always, more was desired. A desire for retrans was voiced in order to extend the range.
Overall, a recurring concern was communication from the ground with the system. The operators found that the signal received on the computer often “cut out” and no video feed was received. At times the operator desired to abort the mission however he could not “contact” the Dragon Eye. When the system was up and running the video resolution was very clear and easy to read/decipher. However, Marines found the 10km range somewhat insufficient; ideal would be a range of 20km. The current altitude of the system was also found to be insufficient. For clearer pictures and easier deciphering the Marines desired the system to be capable of being flown as low as 100ft. Flight duration (currently 1 hour) was also insufficient; ideal desired time would have been 2 hours.
Finally, the laptop had a few features that could have been a bit more “user friendly.” The method of looking at numerous pictures at one time was very cumbersome and needs to become more “user friendly” (i.e. double click on one icon to open a picture vice filtering through various tool bars). Also, the laptop needs to be plugged in; a rechargeable battery option would be good for an infantry Marine in the field. On a “positive note” the size and weight of the Dragon Eye were considered ideal. If given the choice of keeping the current capability and thus maintaining size and weight or increasing the capability/technology with the result of a dramatically heavier and larger machine the Marines overwhelmingly would choose the former.

Imagery ~ Imagery from various systems did not make it to the HQ G-2 level on numerous occasions due to a lack of bandwidth and electronic imagery transferal means. BFT did not possess the bandwidth for larger files and MDACT was unreliable as a communications means due to its limitation on Line of Site communication with the EPLRS radio.

Ambulance ~ M997 received great reviews and was considered “very sturdy.” A few modifications that were voiced include:
-Corpsmen and Doctors would like to have bullet proof glass in the Ambulance
-A very small refrigerator would be useful for the transport of “immunizations”
-The space inside the ambulance needs to be reworked for greater efficiency; more “shelving and containers for various medical tools and medications” was desired. Also, the racks for the cots were not used, considered too cumbersome.
-Much gear was strapped to the top of the ambulance and a rack system on the roof would be very useful.

Corpsmen’s Medical MOLLE Bag ~ As with the Marines’ MOLLE gear this bag did not receive favorable reviews. Several alternative options were voiced:
-Corpsmen want to see something similar to the old “Unit 1” bag
-Corpsmen would like to see something similar to an LBV with numerous pockets for medications, bandages, etc.
-Corpsmen spoke favorably of something similar to the blackhawk version bag that the Army Medics carry.

Stretchers ~ The NBC stretchers were used often and proved to be sturdy and effective. The older, fabric stretchers tore often and were thrown out.

AMALS ~ The contents of the AMALS was disproportionate to the use. The AMALS kit was designed for severe trauma. However, it was completely inadequate for routine sick-call. Corpsmen quickly ran out of items such as cough syrup, Sudafed, etc. An analysis of what is REALLY used was requested in order to properly outfit the AMALS in the future.

Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:17:12 PM EDT
PRC 150 ~ Labeled an “outstanding radio.” It was very effective for long haul digital communications. LAR units desire a vehicle mount and a tie-in with the LAV’s intercom system. Frequency hopping was a very good feature. More of this radio was desired.

IOS/IOW ~ COP- when this gear functioned its features were “great.” However, the EPLRS radio proved to be very sensitive and unreliable. LAR had four that went down prior to crossing the LD (while still in the LSA). The civilian contractors were available for troubleshooting, yet were still not able to get the system to function.

PSC 5D ~ LAR had a few of these radios and found them to be very effective. LAR worked often with the USN SEALs. The SEALs communicated mostly via PSC 5D; LAR was limited to communication with the SEALs due to limited SatCom / limited PSC 5Ds. They would like more of these radios.

Kevlar Helmets ~ Very positive feedback received. During urban fighting in Iraq, a Marine Corporal was struck in the front of his helmet by a 7.62 x 39mm round. The Kevlar PASGT helmet absorbed the impact of the round with no injury to the Marine.

Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) Helmets ~ Overall, vehicles crews had favorable response to the CVC helmets. A few keys observations were made, however. Marines pointed out the need for Night Vision Goggle mounts for CVC helmets, a common observation in both LAR and Tanks. CVC helmets were also suggested for Tank Scout Platoon and TOW Marines. The reason cited by First Lieutenant Zumo, Scout Platoon Commander, 2D Tank Battalion, was that noise at high rates of speed presented problems. Crewmen manning heavy weapons ring mount station on HMMWVs had difficulty hearing other crewmen. Problems communicating on radios for the Plt Cmdr/ Plt Sergeant were also noted.

Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) “Nomex” Coveralls ~ Several Vehicle crewmen complained that Nomex Combat Vehicle Crewman coveralls need improving. Crews observed that coveralls and gloves easily tore. Replacement garments were in short supply. The requirement exists for a more durable and flame retardant garment for combat vehicle crews.

Flexcell Extended Range External Mount Fuel Bladders (“Flexcells”) ~ “The system is good.” Recommended a mounting system for LAV-25. System was used in the Log variant LAV (by
being placed in rear) and in the beds of rolling stock. Provide additional “in stride” refueling capability that assisted in the long and rapid USMC advance into Iraq. The flexcell allowed 2D Battalion to conduct an in stride refueling of the battalion in less than 90 minutes, 80 kilometers inside Iraqi territory the first night of the ground war. One company reported having a single tank refueled and operational in under 3 minutes. The flexcells aided the battalion in its six hundred mile trek into Iraq. Increased weight of flexcells was a problem, however. The combined weight of the full flexcell bladders mounted to the M1A1 turret and bustle rack extension tended to burn up motor brakes on the tank turrets. One tank company commander said his Marines were going through three to four turret motor brakes per vehicle per week. Also two tanks were lost as result of damage to flexcells. One tank hit a tree causing a flexcell pod to rupture. Fuel leaked into the engine compartment causing the engine to FOD out and the turbine to burn up. The tank had to be evacuated. There were no casualties. Second instance, an M1A1 received small arms fire. Again, fuel leaked into the engine compartment with same result. The tank caught fire and had to be abandoned during combat. The stationary tank remained under small arms and repeated RPG fire at close range. Under cover of darkness, an Iraqi irregular tossed a Molotov cocktail into the empty tank. This coupled with the burning engine and the multiple RPG hits resulted in a total loss of the tank. It is recommended that the bladders be configured for hull mounting along the skirts. However, this configuration could cause track maintenance problems since access would be impeded. Another criticism was the quick release straps. Flexcells were not quick release capable according to Marines.

Full Width Mine Plows (FWMP) “The Pearson Plow” – in my earlier report I wrote, “of the 20 plows procured, only 11 went forward. Of this 11, I saw 3 on the highways of Iraq. Presumably cut lose as units went forward, it appears the plows are now combat losses. The 3 I saw were laying in the highway; burned out.” Apparently, the weld mounts on the plows did not hold and broke from the body of the tank. This may account for the 3 I saw on the highway. The fielding team observed an incidence of this during the application of the hardware and repaired. The 5-ton trucks used to transport the FWMPs broke down. At no time did 2D Tank Battalion employ its FWMP or Track Width Mine Plows.
Even though 2D Tanks did not use the FWMPs, LtCol Oehl, the battalion commander, stated the item had its merits. It “did not drastically reduce the effectiveness of the tank” as implied by junior Marines in 2D Tank Bn. He noted it would have been a valuable asset had the mission called for breaching a minefield. LtCol Oehl also supported the FWMP for use on the Armored Breacher Vehicle (ABV).

Blue Force Tracker (BFT) ~ The Blue Force Tracker proved very popular with Marines from both LAR and 2D Tank Battalion. The 5.1 MB download capability proved to be very useful. Real-time information transfer and satellite imagery was mission critical on several occasions. BFT was considered “very responsive” due to instant messaging capability. Most of the commanders agreed that the pace of the battle required a device similar to Blue Force Tracker. Units were, at times, unable to maintain VHF over distance due to the inability to establish retransmission sites. Potential retrans sites would be forecasted to be located in unsecure areas. In the absence of communications, BFT provided units with responsive message traffic. Tanks and LAR used it in the absence of radios. It was, at times, the only means of communication for dispersed units. BFT was considered very reliable for providing friendly situation reports. Many officers and senior enlisted felt that the Scout Platoon and Alpha and Bravo commands needed this capability. It was recommend that at least 24 systems should be fielded per battalion, two tanks at the platoon level.
(An interesting suggestion made by Capt. Martinez, 2D Tank Battalion supply officer was that some logistics request system utilizing satellite uplink is preferred to line of sight communication system).
Capt. Garcia, CO of Company B, 2D Tank Battalion, voiced one criticism. He stated the method of mounting needs to be revisited. The mount for the M1A1 MBT stands out since it is placed on the rear of the bustle rack extension. One BFT on a Company B tank was lost when
an armored ambulance clipped a tank when its turret was over the side. The BFT itself was rugged and survived but the mount was crushed. Capt. Garcia recommend the mounting system used on the M1A1 Delta variant be considered for USMC tanks.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:18:31 PM EDT
M-DACT ~ Comments suggest that it was a highly unreliable due to the system’s reliance on having the server up constantly. The system was marginalized when an active server hub went down. There were reported instances of units showing up in the “wrong” country. Some units appeared miles away from their known locations. This effected confidence in the system. Some Marines claimed it was too complicated to use. Windows pull down menus on a small screen made accessing information time consuming and difficult under combat conditions. This feature was also cumbersome while traveling at high rates of speed over difficult terrain. Transmission with the 56K modem took four to five minutes to send out a message. Other concerns included the screen being too small and not being user friendly. The MDACT system was noted to have great capabilities and was considered a “good concept” however, on the user level it was not employed due to its unreliability. BFT was preferred and MDACT was ignored.

Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP) Raytheon/ DRS ~ Comments on the FEP include the following: Position location capability and the ability to range a target and get a ten-digit grid were considered very useful. It proved valuable in fire missions and situation awareness. The fifty-magnification sight needs better resolution but proved useful. Thermal Bloom (washout in the TIS sites from fire trenches and burning vehicles) took one to three minutes of recover. Raytheon FEP site engaged vehicles in excess of 2300m. Was used by Bravo Company to Identify Snipers in buildings. Used as land navigation tool during road marches. Worked well in open terrain and built-up areas. One criticism of the Raytheon FEP was that it took four minutes for the Far Target Locator to align. It was the opinion of the experienced crews that it was impractical to sit idle for that period of time in the combat environment. On several occasions, the crew rolled without FTL alignment due to time constraints. The crew then had no option but to fight the tank in degraded mode. They recommend a 30 second alignment process. In static positions the FEP site was used to provide over watch for the tank company and to friendly infantry patrolling forward of lines. Crews recommended retaining the binocular site at the gunner’s station. The ability to see in both day and night with the GPS and binocular site was very popular and useful to tank gunners.

M88A2 Hercules Tracked Recovery Vehicle ~ The M88A2 was rated as an excellent recovery asset. However, the general comment was that there were not enough of them. The original quantity of two M88A1 was reduced to one M88A2 for each tank company on the T/O. The long trek into Iraq resulted in many self-recovery operations (tank towing tank) due to the lack of recovery assets. This tied up needed combat power. Recommend USMC revisit the T/O of tank battalions to add at least two additional M88A2s per battalion on MPF. Some units used M88A2 as an armored ambulance. Cpl. Myhre, Company A. 2D Tank Bn modified one M88A2 with a loaders M240 7.62mm machine mount from an M1A1 tank. This modification gave the M88A2 another weapons station in addition to its .50 M2 Machine gun. Recommend more tow bars for tank units (note: there are not of enough tow bars of all types to support all equipment in the operating forces. The USMC needs to revisit this issue and invest in acquiring more of these assets). Number of self-recovers demonstrated this requirement. Need vehicle power source to recharge laptop computers containing Technical manuals for the maintenance crews. The pace of the advance did not allow for time to recharge the set with field generators. Track continued to snap on left side. CWO3 Dan Wittcop speculates possible problem is the torque caused by the more powerful engine of the Hercules. Track would simply “pop”. It is recommend at least exploring a sturdier center guide for the track. Winch fragility was also addressed. Some recoveries required off angle approaches outside the recommend 20-degree angle. Recommend that an update to the TM include a reference to use a floating block in recoveries. One snapped cable was repaired in the field. However, at the time of this report a recovery was not attempted with that cable. Skirts on the M88A2 design made it difficult to do rapid track maintenance. During combat operations, removing bolts proved problematic. Recommend exploring a vehicle modification to allow for better access. A Battle Damage Repair (BDR) should, if possible, be developed for fixing cables on M88A2.

Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) AVLB ~ Not employed to any great extent during operations. However, many in the 2D tank battalion cited the need for an improved AVLB variant. Throughout operations, the AVLB was slow, achieving speeds of only 20mph. It was recommended that HETs be used to transport AVLBs. AVLB is at the end of its life cycle. Spares were difficult to get. AVLB track was in short supply. AVLB track was repaired with SL-3 on vehicle. Once that ran out, track from non-operational AVLBs was used. Only two of the battalion’s AVLBs made it to the site at Ad-Diwaniyah at the time of this interview. It is recommended that MCSC should coordinate with Requirements and the Advocate IOT POM for a variant that can keep pace with the M1A1. LAR Marines offered some unique perspectives based on their mission experiences. One Marine suggested that AVLB assets were needed forward with LAR. They proposed a lightweight “LAR” MCL Bridge variant or a faster tracked MCL 70 ton variant.

Drivers Vision Enhancer (DVE) ~ Crews stated that the DVE had an excellent picture. Some users requested a wider field of view. In addition, crewmen had zero depth perception. It was a plus to be able to see through dust and smoke. One maintenance complaint was that the connection cable (about the first four inches) continued to break. Bravo Company had five cable breaks and had to splice and duct tape. Crewmen also complained of not having a battery back up. Crewman felt that the DVE was far superior to the older Night Optical Device (NOD) that used passive IR. After four to five hours of continuous use, some drivers experienced dizziness and blurred vision. However, in most cases this was not considered too severe. Scouts and TOWs requested HMMWV mounts for DVEs similar to U.S. Army platforms.

Tank-Infantry Phone ~ The TI phone allowed for close communication between armor and infantry units. During the Battle of City Palace in Baghdad, Company A, 2D Tank Battalion attached to 1st Bn 5th Marines. Tanks worked in direct support of infantry. Infantrymen used the TI phone to direct tank fires in the urban fight. In one instance, infantry talked a tank crew on an enemy sniper position and eliminated the threat with 120mm main gunfire. The tanks with armor protection, thermal sights, and precision weapons became valuable “armored OPs” according to Capt. Sudmyer, Alpha Company Commander. He went on to relate the TI phone was a very useful tool in the coordinating the armor and infantry. With the extended cable, there were no exposure problems for the infantry. The TI phone was considered to have a very simple and rugged design. No significant corrosion occurred in the Iraqi climate. Initial kits delivered to theater were missing some mounting bolts. Interconnectivity cable was a little short on some kits but posed no serious problems. Capt Garcia recommended a use sheet for the infantry on the inner door panel. A simple instruction sheet on the phone and Vic-3 intercom might prove helpful in the future.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:19:35 PM EDT
QuikClot by Z-Medica ~ 2D Tank Battalion Surgeon LT Bruce Webb (USN) stated that Quik-Clot was ineffective (specifically, it was ineffective on arterial bleeding). Battalion Corpsman attempted to use Quik-Clot in three separate occasions:
- Wounded Iraqi civilian. Shot near brachial artery. Quik Clot was applied per the instructions. The substance dried but was flaking off. Standard direct pressure applied by corpsman proved more effective on the patient.
- Iraqi civilian shot in back with punctured spine. Quik-Clot applied to severe bleeding. Pressure from bleeding sprayed Quik-Clot away. According to LT Webb, “Quik-Clot was everywhere but the wound”.
- Iraqi civilian, female, shot in femoral artery. She suffered severe arterial bleeding. Patient bled out. Quik-clot unable to be applied effectively due to pressure of blood flow from wound. Patient died.
- An LAR Marine was shot in the femoral artery. Quick Clot was applied to the heavily bleeding wound. The pressure from the blood soon caused the quick clot to be pushed out of the wound and rendered ineffective. A tourniquet was applied instead. The patient died.
Quik Clot may work if applied in a “buddy system” manner. One individual applies the Quik Clot substance while another individual quickly applies the sterile gauze to the wound. However, applying the Quik-Clot as directed proved ineffective. Direct pressure and tourniquets were used instead. (note: different opinion from the MEU MO I interviewed. Recommend further study on this item).

Tourniquet ~ Non-pneumatic tourniquet (NSN 6515-00-383-0565) ½ by 42 inches in the corpsman medical kits proved ineffective. The tourniquet tended to slip around thigh or arm while attempting to tighten buckle. In the end medical personnel resorted to green sling and stick to tighten around pressure points to stem the flow of arterial bleeding in the extremities.
Need to keep effective battle dressings in Individual First Aid Kits.

Bustle Rack Extension (M1A1 MBT) ~ Bustle Rack Extension was rated as an excellent piece of equipment and demonstrated definite utility. However, the added weight with flexcell was estimated to be a cause of motor brakes burning out, though not conclusively proven.

Gypsy Racks ~ Gypsy Racks were rated as excellent, durable, and rugged. “Gypsy Racks were a great piece of equipment”. Distribution was a problem. Not enough got to the units prior to LD. 1st LAR modified some to fit their Light Armored vehicles. Suggest manufacturers modification in future for LAVs. Similar requirement fulfilled by Bustle Rack Extension on M1A1 Main Battle Tank. Weight of gear in gypsy rack occasionally pulled down the HMMWVs tailgate. The field expedient work around used was a bolt where the tailgate mates with the vehicle in the up position.

MPAT 120mm round ~ The MPAT 120mm tank round was used extensively during campaign. However, 2D Tank Battalion had problems with rounds sticking in gun tube after 1 hour of battle carry. Rounds had to be fired off or manually extracted. In on instance, a gun tube was inoperable due to a stuck round. The warhead of that round is still in the gun tube as the report this written. The lot number is being investigated. One theory is that the plastic wrapping around the fins to convert the round from 105mm to 120mm may be the culprit. The heat of gun tube may cause expansion of this material resulting in the rounds becoming stuck. It is important to note that in all but one case, the rounds were fired out or manually extracted by the crews. No significant degrading was reported during engagements.

Snap Road Block Kit ~ LAR Marines identified a requirement for a Snap Road Block Kit. Items included public address system, cones, placards, beacons, etc. Kit is in use by United States Army and is in their supply system.

ROC-V Vehicle ID proved useful to the battalions. Need for better thermal identification training at extreme ranges. Thermal sights at range in excess of 3000 meters appeared as “blobbed” and distorted. Presented problems in shoot-no-shoot situations.

External Auxiliary Power Unit (EAPU) ~ A quieter system was recommended. Solar Trickle Panels were also recommended for recharging batteries. Units need them to reduce wear and tear on vehicle power and generators. Army has embedded solar panels in electronic heavy vehicles to power systems. Some solar panels are capable of generating 90 watts of power. With more systems being added to vehicles. Power training on batteries is an issue that should be address. Tactical situations do not always allow for operating under vehicle or External power (EAPU).

M1A1 MBT Loader’s Weapons Station ~ Need for butt stock kit for the loader’s 240 7.62mm machine gun. Useful in MOUT. Also need an articulating mount and gunners shield similar to ACAV variants on U.S. Army M113 armored personnel carries only. Additional Armor Protection would prove useful in close fight. Even a kit that could be applied for urban mission and removed for other contingencies could be useful.

M1A1 MBT Tank Commander’s Weapons Station ~ More ammunition is needed for the caliber .50 M48 machine at the commander’s weapons station. It is hazardous for the tank commander to reload the weapon during combat conditions. The battalion received heavy amounts of small arms fire during operations in Iraq. When the 100 rounds of .50 cal were exhausted, tank commanders would have to wait for the conclusion of engagements to reload. Recommendation: the need for a greater ammunition capability. Perhaps a larger ammunition compartment on the mount

Kevlar lined HMMWV ~ Helped absorb the blast of an RPG and prevented catastrophic damage to the vehicle and crew.

Kevlar “ kidney pads” ~ Were suggested for some soft skinned vehicle crewmen.

Battle Damage Repair (BDR) for bore evacuators ~ Bore evacuators on the 120mm that we damaged by small arms were patch welded by battalion maintenance.

Logistics Comments ~Need HEMMET refuelers. Need more reliable fuel pumps. Water pumps had to be cannibalized to keep re-fuelers operational. Faster pumps also needed. The tank battalions have legitimate requirement for extended bed MTVRs. Two pods and a pump to fit on one bed of extended MTVR. LVS has exceeded its life cycle and proved mechanically unreliable. Recommend Four Heavy Equipment Transports (HETs) per battalion.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:20:19 PM EDT
Whew! It didn't seem like so much when I started...
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:26:53 PM EDT
I got that a couple weeks ago off another board.  11 pages of interesting reading.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 3:45:40 PM EDT
Ok, when they refer to this "East Coast SAM rifle" as here:
They saw no need for the accuracy and expense involved in the version being built for the “East Coast” SAM Rifle by Precision Weapons Section (PWS), WTBN, Quantico. The standard M16A4 with issued optic more than satisfied their requirements.
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Is that the rebuilt M14 they are talking about?
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 10:30:28 PM EDT
DAMN YOU BRAD!!!!!!  [:D]

yes the "east coast SAM" rifle is the RTE built M-14s and the "west coast SAM" rifles are M-16A4s with ACOGs and i think 77gr ammunition. ive looked into the orgin of this document and i believe it is legit. my thanks to Brad for posting it.
Link Posted: 5/15/2003 10:50:21 PM EDT
Guess Farnam was wrong in guessing that there would be catastrophic failure of the M16 in the desert conditions (read it in an SOF article not too long ago, Farnam seems to be a know-it-all asswipe).  Is this guy usually wrong??
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 12:43:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:01:38 AM EDT
Is this guy usually wrong??
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Not usually from my observations; but the M4 is a GREAT weapon system.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:03:46 AM EDT
DAMN YOU BRAD!!!!!!  [:D]
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Someone had to pick up the slack after you left us all hanging! [beer]
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:13:21 AM EDT
DAMN YOU BRAD!!!!!!  [:D]
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Someone had to pick up the slack after you left us all hanging! [beer]
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hey DvlDog don't worry it's the thought that counts... Right guys.[}:D]
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:20:28 AM EDT
M1014 Joint Service Shotgun / Breaching Kit ~ Units lack a means to mechanically breach in the MOUT environment. Some units bought kits from various vendors with their own funds. Satisfaction with various kits was determined by success of breaching, which is the result of what they were breaching and whether the kit had the right gear for the given situation (usually dependent on what the unit spent on the kit). Many operators pointed out that battering rams proved ineffective against most doors encountered. A majority of the doors (both interior and exterior) were heavy steel and often reinforced with cross bars. Most agreed that, at a minimum, small units need to have a shotgun to breach the doors. For units both with and without the kits, the shotguns would have made them more successful. Only six (6) M1014 shotguns were issued to each infantry battalion. This quantity is not enough. Operators are asking for at least one per squad at a minimum. [red]The round/ammunition that was needed in this environment was the slug. Units tried using 00 Buck, which did not work well.[/red] CEB expressed a desire to have more urban breaching tools (they were always short), more route reconnaissance kits, and more tactical bolt cutters (short version).
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Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:37:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 4:48:04 AM EDT
Confirm the new grenade vests have no ammo carrying capability.  The old vests are better, but don't work with the new LBVs.

Army was right in delaying fielding of the MOLLE, the testers at Schofield said the same things the marines are now.
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The Army has issued MOLLE-II to at least two of its divisions and to several seperate Regiments and Groups. In general, the army guys like it, except for that shitty backpack frame. The parts of the system at are going to stick around are the pouches; and THIS solves the first problem I quoted; where to keep 40mm ammunition for the M203 (wherever the gunner has PALS web space on his FLC).
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:17:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:40:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:50:04 AM EDT
nothing like a war to test your equipment
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 8:49:56 AM EDT
Can we get the PDF file?
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 11:29:18 AM EDT
brad, thanks again for posting. i couldnt cut and paste from .pdf and the girlfriend was nagging that it was time to leave for the movie. ill send the .pdf to anyone who wants it just shoot me an email.

im a comm guy now and the problems with dissimilar equipment has been an issue for a long time. one day i fear its going to lead to casualties. what we need is a joint service radio project. as a matter of fact i have printed this document and colored the C4i section with highlighter to be posted in our shop this drill weekend.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 11:49:34 AM EDT
Brad, I don't think MOLLE II will solve the 203 ammo problem.  You remember the old vests, right.  Every fucking inch was taken up by ammo and the web-belt had the 5.56.  The new modular and detachable ammo pouches for 40mm take up too much space.  You run out of places to put it.  I challenge you to take your toys out and configure it to hold the same as one of the old 203 vests.  Oh, yeah, don't forget 6 mags.
Oh, can you jump MOLLE?  I don't know.  I know that 82nd stuck with LBEs after we went LBV.
Rangers are running some Arktis brit model rig that is modular.  Looks tres sexy.
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I think MOLLE II is already solving the 203 problem. You can put as many pouches as you desire, where ever you want. Belt, chest, stomach, kidney, pack. Wherever. I think that is a done deal.

Ranger Regiment is issued the MOLLE II. There might be one guy in one comapany with somethign from Arktis; but it was not issued by Uncle Sugar. Word on the street is that shortly, the Regiment will be issued Paraclete RAVs; which is the absolute way to go, in my opinion.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 12:57:36 PM EDT

Thanks for posting this.  Very interesting....

Link Posted: 5/16/2003 1:23:16 PM EDT
I thought that in combat, everyone wore the Interceptor vest. That it had a built in webbing grid and MOLLE pouches attached to it.

When do infantry use the MOLLE LBV anymore? It would seem to be redundant for men issued with the Interceptor body armor.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 1:31:36 PM EDT
Ditto the request for the pdf if someone has it.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 2:16:07 PM EDT
Weapon Take-Down Pins ~ Many weapons, M16 and M249 in particular, were having problems with takedown pins breaking and/or falling completely out of the weapons. Marines held weapons together with duct tape and/or zip ties. The problem seems to be that sand would get into the spaces around the pins, grinding down the metal.
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Kevlar lined HMMWV ~ Helped absorb the blast of an RPG and prevented catastrophic damage to the vehicle and crew.
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There's a couple of things that I don't usually think about...
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 2:18:00 PM EDT
I have the complete document as a Word file.

Email me at [email protected]
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 2:20:43 PM EDT
The Slugs vs Buck comment was on the emergency breeching round issue.

Im actually curious to hear about the gns performance in combat, if average engagement range was 30 yards you know for a fact the weapon was used.
Link Posted: 6/5/2003 12:08:14 PM EDT
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