Bradley has only 25mm chain gun


CPT Frank Sherman, U.S. Army "C" Company Commander of 3rd/73rd Armor who parachute airdropped in his light tanks to support the 82nd Airborne Division writes; "Our first encounter with the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) occurred as the infantrymen of 1st Battalion, 504th PIR were establishing a supply route from Toucumen International Airport to their initial objective of Tinajitas. The convoy had only moved a few kilometers when it stopped to clear a roadblock located on a bridge. As the Sheridansmoved to the edge of the highway to support the infantry, SSG Troxell, the lead tank commander, called me on the radio and stated, 'This is hell of a place for an obstacle, buildings all around and no cover. It looks like swamps on both sides of the road'. As the infantry dismounted and began to execute their obstacle drill, they began receiving automatic weapons fire from the buildings no more than 50 meters away. The lead tank commander opened up with .50 caliber fire as the wing tank commander screamed to his gunner to identify the threat. A moment later, SFC Freeman, 1st Platoon sergeant, yelled, 'I got 'em, concrete building, second floor, fourth window from the right'...He fired a 152mm heat round at the target, ripping through the room, collapsing the right side of the building. The enemy fire stopped and the infantry finished clearing the roadblock..."

LTC John Barker, U.S. Army, former XO of 3rd/73rd Armor says:

"The Sheridan with its 152mm main gun was the near-perfect light infantry support vehicle. It could swim. It had thermal sights. It had long-range armor destruction capability equal to or greater than a Hellfire missile (check your PH/PK classified data!) The Shillelagh with its 152mm HEAT round could blow a hole in a reinforced concrete wall large enough for infantry soldiers to walk through side by side. An infantry leader could use the external phone, it boasted a flechette' round that could blast 17,000 one-inch nails into enemy infantry as close support, and oh by the way, you could parachute it into combat for those nasty 'forced entry' missions typically laid at the feet of the Paratroopers of the "Devils in Baggy Pants", "Panthers" and "Falcons" of the 82d....."

Quotes from U.S. Army Armor magazine, Jan-Feb 1997, Mar-Apr 1990, pg 15.

Robert W. Black, in his book, "Rangers in World War II" said the following about the disastrous Dieppe Raid where commandos assaulted fortified positions with little fire support other than what they carried in their hands;

"68% of the 4,963 Canadian troops were casualties and 913 were killed outright.... On August 19, 1942, the Canadians did all that flesh could do against fire, but has been proven on battlefield after battlefield against an aroused, entrenched enemy, COURAGE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR FIRE SUPPORT..."

"Within this evolutionary climate, fiscal realities and the aging of existing systems have resulted in a significant gap in our forced/early entry capabilities. The deactivation of the 3d Battalion, 73d Armor, coupled with the termination of the Armored Gun System (AGS), has created a critical need for enhanced direct fire assault support and anti-armor capabilities for forced/early entry forces".

Official U.S. Army ACTD web site statement


Despite urban combat realities, we've mothballed our Iowa Class battleships, retired the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) with 165mm demolition gun, withdrawn the M551 Sheridans to NTC as training aids, cancelled the M8 Ridgway Armored Gun System, thrown M113s into the sea to feed fish leaving us with the only BIG GUN to win a direct-fire urban fight on a 70-ton Abrams tank that is too big to fit into narrow Third World Country streets and too heavy to fly in large numbers or airdrop to accompany our light troops who are the first to fight. Even if M1s can be delivered in time, their turbine engine exhaust prevents infantry from following behind to use the tank as moving cover in a city fight or to tow trailers with more main gun ammunition and/or supplies for infantry. "Passing the buck" to other combat arms/services does not work.

Little Birds alone couldn't win the Oct.3 fight

Relying on Aircraft for fire support in a city fight to make up for a lack of ground level SHOCK ACTION has been proven ineffective at key moments in Panama and Somalia.

Cpt James Lechner was a Fire Support Officer with 3d Battalion, 75th Rangers in Somalia and wounded in the tragic October 3-4, 1993 battle with Aideed's gunmen that claimed the lives of many Americans due primarily to a lack of armored vehicle fire support:

"...the U.S. Air Force can only safely and effectively provide CAS to within a very limited proximity of friendly troops. The limitations of CAS with most fixed-wing aircraft and ordnance provides the enemy a relatively large zone in which to operate unhindered by the potentially devastating effects of aviation assets...

An Air Force TACP writes in to a www.news group:

"Capt. Gary Jinks and I were the AF targeting officers assigned to Just Cause. In one of our first meetings the lack of arty support was a prime concern. Gary and I suggested that we get a battle wagon off each coast and that would allow us to range all of the primary targets. The response from an Airborne Army full bull [Colonel] was 'This is an Army show, the Navy won't play.'

Well, they did, and lost someone, and we never did get the arty support required. The AC-130's did a good job, but had point detonating fuzes instead of the delayed fuzes required for the cement buildings in Panama, another point raised by Gary and myself.

Having said that, the worker bees got along well and did what had to be done. The problems were at the upper levels.

And yes, it was a real war. I was at Ft. Clayton the nights the PDF dropped mortar rounds on us. No fun".

Nor can indirect fire from Artillery or naval guns be counted on to work even if they are available:

IN 0531 Combat in built-up areas states:

"The direct-fire system is the most effective fire support in built-up areas. Once a target can be located in a building, one or two direct-fire rounds can accomplish what entire salvos of indirect-fire artillery cannot. Direct fire support is key to success in fighting in built-up areas..."

"Securing and/or clearing a built-up area is very manpower-intensive. A city block in Panama City often included 50 buildings, many of them multiple storied, to include high rises. Most buildings were constructed of concrete reinforced with rebar."

U.S. Army Lesson Learned: Operation Just Cause Building Clearing

"The 25mm gun produces its best urban target results when fired perpindicular to a hard surface (zero obliquity). In combat in built-up areas however, finding a covered firing position permitting low obliquity firing is unlikely unless the streets and gaps between buildings are wide. Most shots impact the target at an angle which normally reduces penetration. With the armor-piercing, discarding sabot with tracer (APDS-T) round, an angle of obliquity of up to 20 degrees can actually improve breaching. The rounds tend to dislodge more wall material for each shot, but do not penetrate as deeply into the structure"

The U.S. Army calls this a mere machine gun!

"Reinforced concrete walls which are 12 to 20 inches thick, present problems for the 25mm gun when trying to create breech holes. It is relatively easy to penetrate, fracture, and clear away the concrete, but the reinforcing rods remain in place"

---IN 0531 Combat in built-up areas

"From a historical perspective you are absolutely right about the need for large caliber guns using direct fire in urban fighting. The Germans and the Russians considered it imperative to have big guns in street fighting. In Patton's book "War as I Knew It" he describes using 155mm SP guns firing one round at a very obtuse angle to breach all the buildings on one side of the street. A 25mm gun would be of little value. While visiting a cemetery in Luxembourg I met an infantrymen from 3rd Army. I was reading the book at the time and over a beer or two he told me exactly how it was done.

They would fire the gun on the right side of the street and clear the first house. He related how many times it would kill or wound the majority of the defenders in the lower level of the buildings. Then you put a Bazooka team in the back yard of the first house cleared and slowly work up the block using the backyards and the whole created by the 155.

One point he emphasized over and over. Even tracked vehicles could not move down the streets because of road blocks. The guns had to have engineer support to move though the backyards and alleys. Usually when the attack on a block began the guns would reposition themselves to fire on the left side of the street as the attack progressed. All commo was with wire."

Emery Nelson

Yet we're spending BILLIONS$ on a fast water swimming assault vehicle and putting the same 25mm "pop gun" on it that poorly armored 8x8 LAV-25 cars and tracked M2/3 Bradley IFVs now have! Thus, all Light, Airborne and HEAVY troops will have only "garden hose" area suppressive weapons--25mm---or low-velocity 40mm and .50 caliber HMGs mounted on vulnerable wheeled HMMWVs---Somalia's debacle all over again. Our men pinned down by superior numbmrs of enemies firing bargain-basement AKM automatic weapons and RPG fire plus their own 30mm AGS-17 and CHICOM W-87 man-portable autogrenade launchers behind urban cover are not going to be able to stand up in the open and shoulder fire bulky rockets and missiles (AT4/M72A2 LAWs, 83mm SMAWs, M67 90mm and M3 Carl Gustav RAAWS 84mm RRs, Dragon, Javelin, Predator-Broadsword MPIM, ATGMs) to regain fire superiority. We're fighting at best "even" and more likely losing.

So even if the "Heavy" forces can arrive before the battle is over they'll have 25mm "garden hoses", and a handful of 70-ton immobile tanks to do all the bunker busting, building clearing once done by the M728 CEV, AND kill enemy tanks with a mere 40 main gun rounds onboard? "That dog won't hunt".


Wire guided missiles will fail miserably in closed terrain like Korea against a swarming enemy. A good crew can fire two rounds of high velocity ammo from a gun, before one round from a wire guided missile can reach it's target. LOSAT and high velocity laser beam riding missiles (Hellfire) are the only smart way to use missiles, but they are not available on ground mounts/vehicles yet in the U.S. Army. There is still a big place for guns on the modern battlefield, especially combined with the latest range finders and the latest optical advances like FLIR to get 100% one-hot/one kill capability, day or night. With the proper use of technology they can have the same first round hit probability as the wire guided missile.

We have heard some suggestions lately that tanks are done. We do not concur.

Highly mobile gun platforms will always have tremendous advantages. We may have to change the shape and improve ballistic protection but they are too important not to have. Right now if we had a decent light tank with a good gun and the right ammo (HEAT, AP, HE-FRAG, HEP, and Canister) we could optimize the tanks abilities and move them quickly all over the world. This could be done at considerably less cost and greater speed than the M1 and other heavy land-mastadon MBTs.

The following quote from the Korean war Web site has me grinding my teeth.

"Russian weaponry, as Russian equipment generally, had one marked characteristic: it was extremely rugged, of the simplest design consistent with efficiency, and very easy to maintain, making it suitable for the equipping of peasant armies. Despite its simplicity and lack of refinement, it was good.

What's wrong with non-peasant armies having good simple and reliable equipment?

The old Soviet union produced a variety of weaponry, meant to fight on all battlefields for about a tenth of what we spent. Towards the end of the Soviet Union they started trying to copy us. Recently in Grozny they had to ship AT Guns and Heavy Mortars from reserve units to the city. The western-style equipment for open area Desert Storms were all but useless in the closed terrain fight. They were reduced to fighting the Chechens with AKs and other personnel weapons, which of course the Chechans had, too and in greater numbers. The simple RPG-7 was the deciding factor in most fighting. The Soviets didn't have enough of them and believed that mechanized units with BMPs and MBTs would do the job. Wire guided missiles turned out to be useless and the lack of HE in tanks made them ineffective after firing most of their HE (five rounds). The Soviets were the last country on earth to produce assault guns and towed anti-tank guns. They had mothballed them in the late eighties and were forced to bring them back for Grozny. We can't even bring them out of storage. The Russians were lucky.


BMP-3 2s25 with 125mm tank gun turret---swims like a AAV, shoots like a tank, carries infantry like an IFV

Even if we get the open terrain fight, we lust for, the cards are stacked against us. The Russian's swimming AFV, on sale to anyone with a modest amount of money, the BMP-3 in comparison is a light tank that can hold a squad of infantry---it has a 100mm main gun that fires HE to demolish buildings, can fire long-range ATGMs through its barrel, AND a 30mm autocannon "pop-gun" and medium machine gun as ONE UNIT in the turret. Its has 500 horsepower pushing just 18 tons of vehicle--the Bradley is about the same power pushing 33 tons of vehicle with a 25mm "pop gun". The BMP-3 if it can shoot on the move, out-classes the Bradley in every category except protection---but if the BMP-3 hits the Bradley first by its terrain agility with a long-range, signature-less ATGM, will this be enough? What matters in future armored warfare is ABSOLUTE MOBILITY in all situations--including swimming----to get into FIRING POSITION first with a long range "smart" ATGM. This includes "stealth" to not be seen or detected in the first place. A silenced "stealth" BMP-3 is our worse nightmare, we create for ourselves by putting "pop guns" instead of real guns on our vehicles leaving only a handful of M1s with big guns to fire support for the infantry, play engineer vehicle AND destroy enemy tanks AND BMP-3s----if they can get within 120mm main gun range without being destroyed first by the BMP-3's ATGMs. We may be out-gunned in close and at a distance...


The U.S. being "out-gunned" began in WWII, where then Colonel James M. Gavin's Paratroopers fired 2.36" bazookas at German Tiger I tanks and got killed on Biazza Ridge on Sicily. Fortunately the wily Gavin insisted on taking 75mm pack howitzers instead of light mortars and he held the ridge, saving the invasion of Sicily. Immediately work on a 75mm recoilless rifle that could be air-delivered began and was used by the 17th Airborne Division for the jump across the Rhine in 1945. General Gavin wrote in Airborne Warfare after the war:

"I should point out the rapid strides toward improvement of the weapons now available to Airborne troops for ground combat. Recoilless artillery, hollow charge weapons such as the bazooka and panzerfaust, lighter metal in weapons construction have all improved the chances of survival on the battlefield for Airborne units of all sizes. In fact they can not only survive, they can carry the attack to the enemy deep in his own territory.

It is interesting now to recall that as late as 1942 the faculty of one of our leading service chools was generally of the belief that Airborne operations were "impossible" on a divisional scale..

The 75mm Recoilless Rifle grew to be the awesome 106mm Recoilless Rifle!

106mm RR: battle winner and enemy killer

Dominican Republic, 1965

"Elements of the 82d Airborne Division discovered the anti-sniper possibilities of the 106mm Recoilless Rifle in their Santo Domingo operation....if you can do the job with firepower instead of troops, then thats the right way.

..elements of the 1/17th Cavalry had to push to the west bank of the Ozama river across the Duarte Bridge, which was nearly a kilometer long. When the point element was almost to the western end, they began receiving heavy sniper fire from an apartment house, pinning down the element and inflicting casualties.

Other elements supporting by fire from the east bank, but the apartment house was beyond the tracer burnout of their M60s. As a result, jeep-mounted 106mm Recoilless Rifles were brought up. The .50 caliber spotter rounds were adjusted on the sniper's windows. Then, whenever a gunner saw a puff of smoke at the windows he was covering, he fired his main gun. The sniper's effectiveness was quickly diminished, which allowed the unit on the bridge to finish its push to the west bank of the river.

Vietnam, Hue City, 1968

A squad leader who served in World War II and Korea said: "we used to send four marines to get a sniper. But here, the AK47 on automatic can pin down a whole company just like a well-emplaced machine gun"

Unlike the jeep-mounted 106, the Ontos provided some limited cover for its gunner. It was more maneuverable in narrow streets than a tank, allowing it to move quickly to a covered position after expending its ordnance. The gunner could ripple fire his weapons with HEAT, HEP-T and flechette rounds.

Crew served Recoilles Rifles can be employed in pairs or loaded with an anti-personnel round, a single 106 can be combined with several LAWS.

--CPT Grady Smith "Old Doctrine, New Techniques", Infantry magazine, May-June 1971, Page 28

"CPT Smith's asessment of the value of the 106mm Recoilless Rifle is quite accurate. In Hue, it was a real workhorse. By "trial and error" we learned several helpful points in mind when deploying the 106mm in a city environment. We found that it was more effective to aim the 106 just below the window where the snipers werre located, rather than fire through the opening. This creates more shrapnel than a round that sails through the room. This is equally true for the LAW and the 3.5 rocket launcher.

In Hue, we also learned that NVA, positioned along a street several blocks away were able to place accurate grazing fire down the street. Since the street had to be crossed, we used the backblast smoke of the 106 to cover and conceal movement across the street. This was done by popping smoke, a tactic that always drew enemy fire, to reveal the enemy's location.


Then a "mule mounted" 106 was moved partially into the street and a round was fired at the NVA position. (The jeep mounted 106 could be employed in the same way.) This caused the enemy to duck their heads and allowed us to move across the street, concealed by the backblast smoke and dust. Once a foothold was gained in the next block, fire could be directed from a new position to eliminate the NVA resistance.

CPT G.R. Christmas, Instructor U.S. Army Institute for Military Assistance, Nov-Dec 1971 Infantry magazine page 53

"The 106 is a real combat veteran. It has been extremely effective in Vietnam, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon utrilizing the beehive round. However the 106 doesn't fully meet the HAW requirements and is programmed to be replaced in the near future by the TOW."

MAJ Robert Dutcher and CPT John Cooke "HAW, MAW, LAW: the anti-armor family", Jan-Feb Infantry magazine, Page 50

Mavinga, Angola, 1990

The forces of UNITA used HUMMWV-mounted 106mm Recoilless rifles to decisive effect in the 1990 battle of Mavinga. U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group "Green Berets" used 106mm RR mounted HMMWVs to storm back into Kuwait with Arab coalition forces they were advising. The 106mm RR is a battle winner from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of Israel, the airfield at Entebbe...Both the Israeli Defense Force and Taiwan make their own 106mm RRs and ammo.

However in the late 1970s for the majority of the U.S. military, we replace 106s with TOW HAW ATGMs to destroy Soviet tanks at the Fulda Gap, all the hard-lessons learned in Vietnam, discarded, along with many combat leaders. But the threat of overwhelming Russian tank armies is over, the enemy is an irregular hiding in the city, like the VC/NVA. These same Battle-proven M40A2 106mm Recoilless Rifles are awaiting a use in U.S. Army Anniston arsenal storage and are ORGANIC to U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachments. 250,000 rounds of bunker-busting HEP, APERS "beehive" flechettes, and HEAT are in storage. New Bofors 3A-HEAT-T 106mm rounds will defeat the latest tanks with explosive reactive armor tiles on, is effective out to 1800 meters and is 90% first round hit accurate using the Canadian CLASS laser sight. The Canadian Army used to mount 106mm RRs on M113 APCs, jeeps, the Australian Army's on M113 AFVs and Land Rovers;

Mobile Firepower on a 4x4 vehicle, Drawing by Jody Harmon, U.S. Army Armor magazine re: November-December 1995 pg.39 'Improving Light Force Firepower with HMMWV mounted Recoilless Rifles' by Mike Sparks

We could mount them using the $6900 kit available from AM General that installs within hours to any generic soft-top M998 HMMWV 4x4 vehicle. Honduras, Taiwan and Morocco have HMMWV-106mm RRs. The 106mm RR will mount on the new diesel John Deere Para-Gator 2x4 vehicle like the old M274 MULE did, but with better off-road performance; and it will fit into the tiny multi-BILLION$$ dollar CV-22 Osprey. Mount a dozen 106mm RRs on Para-Gators or designated HMMWVs in an Airborne Infantry Battalion's Anti-Armor Company, redesignated: "Anti-Armor-Assault" Company. The German 3-ton Wiesel tracked, armored fighting vehicle is an even better choice for helicopter-borne units like the 101st Air Assault Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky since it can also fit INSIDE CH-47D Chinooks. The U.S. Army owns 6 Wiesels for R & D work.

An Ontos that works? German Wiesel today

The 3-ton Wiesel used by German Paratroops is heli-parachute transportable with cannon, RRs, mortars

The fastest, most economical solution is to mount the 106mm under armor protection for the gunner, is the plentiful, combat-proven M113A3 Gavin Armored Fighting Vehicle right roof antennae mount like the Australian Army is doing now, and we did once in Vietnam. With applique' armor, the tracked M113A3 is proof against HMGs, RPGs, cannon and has its fuel tanks outside the vehicle.....

Awesome M113A3 11-Ton AFV

This is the simplest, cheapest way to get a BIG GUN on a LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLE platform NOW that can be airdropped and go anywhere our light troops go. As General Patton liked to say: "Better is a good plan executed with audacity NOW than a perfect plan too late..." Replace 22,000 pound FMTV 2.5/5 ton trucks now in service with a dozen 22,000 pound combat-proven M113A3s to a designated Airborne infantry battalion in each of the 82d Airborne Division's 3 Ready Brigades, arm two with 106mm RRs, CLASS laser sights and kits. Pair up a M113A3 Gavin with Mk-19 40mm and a M113A3 with 106mm RR to work together; one suppresses while the other obliterates the target with one shot of 106mm RR fire. Put Tank-Infantry phones removed from old M60 tanks or M551 Sheridans on the tail end of the M113A3 for better communication during a loud firefight.

There are myriad mounting options of 106mm RRs to M113A3s; the dual 106mm RR TC turret that keeps the gunner under armor protection is available from CETME in Spain. The TC-7/106 turret means only one crew member has to briefly expose his upper body to reload the weapons. The gunner aims the rifles within the vehicle with the reloading carried out through the troop hatch. Both traverse and elevation are hydraulic with the gunner's handle having fast target search at 15 degrees a second. The turret also has a .50 caliber Heavy Machine Gun and the .50 cal spotting rifle on the right hand RR.

Empressa Nacional Santa Barbera
Julian Camarillo 3
28037 Madird, Spain Telephone: (91) 585-0100 Telex: 44466 ENSB E Fax: (91) 585-0268

Pakistan has a twin 106mm RR mount on their M113s with a laser range-finder that extends effective range out to 1500 meters using old ammunition. POF, Wah Cantonnement, Pakistan Telex: 5840 POPAC PK. Maybe we can have Pakistan and Spain fight with us the next time there is a war?

These are all fine options, too.... LETS JUST DO IT.


E-mail 1st TSG (A) itsg@hotmail.com

A field grade officer writes:

"106mm RR a superb weapon. Spoke with SF captain in my group who is at SOCOM at Bragg. The SF still play with 106mm because it's part of their global mission if they go to a country to support because that's all the AT power that poor 3rd world country can afford -unlike us, with our wunderwaffe Drag it, Dragon M47 piece of crap. This captain also is articulate about it and the demise of the AGS."



"Your page is intriguing. I'm worried that the wrong lessons might be learned from the Afghanistan fighting, with many forgetting that our role in it was only part...and that the proxy forces were not just air-supported."

Our reply:

The U.S. military is in love with air strike firepower for BOMBARDMENT not firepower for MANEUVER. By relying on the Air Force for firepower via a computer mouse-click, some in the Army think we can get away with a thin-skin armored car with a machine gun and not have to fire & maneuver. That America's enemies have escaped this firepower (Iraq, Serbs, Taliban/Al Queda) because we did not have adequate maneuver to block and encircle them has not registered in the minds of our leaders who want to wage quasi-war at maximum cost and minimum political risk.