First, some photos from Frontline Photos (Jan 17 and 18):
Also, Stryker Brigade News points out a bunch of good photos on Yahoo! News.
Next up, a reader alerted me to a story in The Irish Times about the incident near Mosul where a car tried to drive through a patrol and was shot up by Stryker soldiers. The incident left two Iraqi civilians dead and five children spattered with blood and without parents. A photo of a crying, bloody Iraqi child is on the front page of the Irish Times’ paper and website with the headline “Troops kill Iraqi couple in front of children”. Do I detect a hint of bias there, or am I just oversensitive?
This is, of course, a terrible incident. The Army is investigating it, and I hope that things are handled properly. I expect that they will be.
It’s been known pretty much since March 2003 that Iraqis don’t seem to take things like roadblocks, checkpoints, armed patrols, and firing tanks very seriously while driving. In fact, I noticed a post on A Day in Iraq a couple of weeks ago (but relating a story from April, 2003, apparently) that included the following:
All day we layed on the pavement pulling guard and watching the Brads shoot at cars that wouldn’t turn back. Bazarre thing to watch. On a few occasions, after warning shots were ignored, the Brads would fire at the tires or hood, disabling the vehicles. I couldn’t help but wonder what these people were thinking. Why would they keep driving towards two Bradleys shooting at them. Why don’t they just turn around. I was happy to see that the people in the disabled vehicles walked away unharmed. One man, the hood of his car in flames from three rounds of HE, casually got out of his car and walked away. He acted as one might act after discovering they had a flat tire.
Besides pulling guard and watching cars get shot at, there were other strange sights to be seen considering our locale. Guys eating MRE’s while in the prone, looking up from there meal to see which car was getting shot at.
I’ve seen this sort of tale over and over. I’ve heard that the two things soldiers like about the Stryker’s slat armor are that it 1) stops RPGs and 2) keeps Iraqi drivers at least a couple of feet from the vehicle. Iraqi drivers just won’t stop sometimes. Many times they end up with a destroyed car. Sometimes they end up wounded or even dead. But what are our guys supposed to do about it? It sounds like they acted appropriately in this case.
Taiwan unveils armored vehicle
Like the Israelis, the Taiwanese have opted against buying Strykers and instead are going to go with a home-built vehicle:
Chen lauded the military research team responsible for developing the CM-32 vehicle as a “warrior for life” for its ability to complete research and development on the project at a very low cost.
One military observer said the CM-32 represented an effort by Taiwan to become less dependent on foreign defense contractors.
Wendell Minnick, Jane’s Defence Weekly Taiwan correspondent, said that many in the United States wanted Taiwan to kill the project.
“The U.S. wants Taiwan to buy the eight-by-eight Stryker light armored vehicle, and there are many in the army here who would like to buy it, due to its dependability and proven war record.”
The CM-32 is called the ‘Yunpao’, or “Cloud Leopard”. They admit that there are a few problems to work out yet, including stability while firing a 105mm main gun on some versions (cough, cough). But it’s passed a major test already:
Then it went down a 40-degree slope in second gear without breaking.
I imagine they meant “braking”, but come on. That’s funny.
Stryker Brigade Concept Proves Itself in Ninewa
There’s no doubt that the Stryker has certain limitations. But when it’s used for what it’s designed to be used for, it seems to be performing exceptionally well.
“But it’s important to remember that it’s not an ‘either-or’ proposition,” he continued. “There is a definite place for Bradleys and main battle tanks. We have tanks in Mosul right now, and I’m here to tell you that the insurgents don’t like them.”
Although the Mosul area has been the Stryker Brigade’s AOR since the first Stryker unit took over from the 101st Airborne in early 2004, recently the Mosul area has been beefed up by other Army units. It seems to me that many of the insurgents that escaped from Fallujah are trying to make Mosul their new home, and the Army wants to discourage them. (Pics of non-Stryker armor unloading in Mosul here.)