But now most Americans are rivaling in the images of twisted metal and burnt out hulks of Russian tanks destroyed on the streets of Ukrainian cities.
Those images beg the next question….are tanks all that effective or needed for that matter?
Now that the question has been asked……let’s move on to an answer (of sorts)…..
Is the value of the tank in modern warfare zilch? That’s the lesson many observers are taking from a flood of images depicting Russian tanks mired in the mud, their turrets blown off, having been ambushed and destroyed by Ukrainian forces armed with cheap anti-tank weapons. These images are often pointed to alongside feeds from Turkish-produced drones destroying tanks, seemingly with ease. After the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war, in which Russian-produced tanks were destroyed by the same model of drones, this is heady stuff for those ready to proclaim the death of the tank.
We already see comparisons of armor advocates to the battleship admirals before World War II, who refused to see the importance of carrier aviation, or Maj. Gen. John Herr, the last U.S. Army chief of cavalry, who continued to insist on the relevance of the horse on the battlefield even after the Nazi blitzkriegs against Poland and France.
Are the headlines coming from the Russo-Ukrainian War the final obituary for the tank as a viable instrument of war correct or — as with the Chicago Daily Tribune banner declaring Truman’s loss to Dewey in the 1948 presidential election — premature? Is the tank the horse cavalry of the 21st century? Or is it a useful supporting system, like the battleship in World War II? Or is it still, with adaptation, the weapon of choice for ground combat?
As with every other move in the never-ending wrestling match between offense and defense, unmanned systems and top-attack weapons pose heretofore unencountered challenges that must be met, or you will have to conduct a Monty Python reassessment of your military: And now for something completely different.
Before the rush to the funeral, however, the first question that must be addressed before one buries the tank is this: Is there a continued role for mobile, protected lethality on the battlefields of the future? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, then the next act in the ongoing drama of how to protect the tank is to enable it to do what only it can do. And, given the events of the day, this question must be addressed objectively and urgently.
The Tank Is Dead: Long Live the Javelin, the Switchblade, the … ?
Is it time to re-think the usefulness of a tank in modern warfare?
I say it should be given some major thought since the anti-tank weapons have been getting better and better….is the cost of a tank worth the advantages?
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