Thursday | April 03, 2003
The army's new 62-ton Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozers are particularly well suited for carving lanes. They are an attraction at Camp Virginia. Soldiers waiting for the assault often spend breaks having their pictures taken standing beside them.
The 400-hp, mine-resistant beasts are also well suited for urban warfare. They can create lanes through rubble, or if need be, through blocks of buildings. At 20 ft tall and 25 ft long, the machines cost about $1 million apiece. They have blades 14 ft long and 7 ft high and rear rippers that can gouge deep into rocky earth. Operators sit in armored, air-conditioned cabs behind 2-in.-thick glass designed to deflect .50-caliber rounds. Hydraulic hoses are encased in steel jackets or shielded by strategically placed steel plate. The armored dozers can be mounted with heavy machine guns and grenade launchers. A crew of two splits tasks–one drives while the other acts as a lookout and gunner.
Nine D9s were in the original shipment that hit Kuwait in late February. More have arrived since then and still more are on the way. Some have been parceled out to the Marines, but most remain with U.S. Army engineers. The 864th Engineering Battalion, out of Ft. Lewis, Wash., handles some of the work. So does the 130th Engineering Brigade, headquartered in Hanau, Germany. The unit's D9 operators are dispatched to support other units in the theater.
The IDF used armored bulldozers to demolish residents' homes. The apparent purpose was to clear paths through Jenin's narrow and winding alleys to enable their tanks and other heavy weaponry to penetrate the camp interior, particularly since some of these had evidently been booby-trapped
I'm curious as to this fetish for the armored bulldozer. Did the Palestinians have AT-14 anti-tank rockets? Or even RPG's, or tanks? I think this weapon, which has been seen all over the Arab world as a symbol of Palestinian misery, is not long for the battlefield. Unlike Hamas, the Iraqis have many, many anti-tank weapons. You trundle this out, a 100mm tank round may go through the front of it.
It certainly has it's uses, but in destroying Iraqi homes? Why not just say Israel has invaded, because that's what the average Iraqi will conclude. They see the armored bulldozer, they will link it to Israel. Besides, bulldozers are only so effective. You really need flamethrowers and lots of explosives, but that would kill a lot of civilians. The US military doctrinial publications on MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) are frightening.
Oh, and the average casuality rate is 30 percent per operation in the MOUT environment.
Steve GilliardPosted April 03, 2003 04:29 PM | Comments (47)