Gun Control….Army Style

A tank is a weapons system with four operators that work together as a crew to place

M60A3 main battle tank of the 3rd Armored Division, 3-32nd Armored Regt, moves along a street in Germany during Exercise REFORGER ’85.
By STAFF SGT. Fernando Serna – http://www.defenseimagery.mil; VIRIN: DF-ST-85-13331, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1608345

either main gun or machine gun rounds onto a specific target.  The M60A3 that I started on sported a 105mm main gun, a .50 caliber machine gun, a 7.62 coaxial machine gun, two M3 submachine guns and four .45 caliber pistols.  The M1 tank came with a 105mm (currently 120 mm) main gun, .50 caliber machine gun, two 7.62 machine guns, an M16 rifle and four .45 caliber pistols.  A tank can put out massive amounts of firepower.

When we went to the field or to a range for live fire, all the weapons were hauled to the motor pool and mounted on the tank.  Once mounted, someone was always with the tank to make sure all the weapons were secure.  Each crewmember was responsible for the security of his own weapon and God help the soul of a soldier who didn’t keep track of his weapon.

When we returned to the barracks after maneuvers or live fire all weapons were cleaned and returned to the arms room.  They were placed into heavy duty racks and securely locked.  At the end of the day the arms room was securely locked.  Someone (usually the Charge of Quarters/CQ) were positioned to keep an eye on the arms room.  The Staff Duty Officer or NCO would usually check the arms room for security a couple of times a night.  The Army is deadly serious about weapons security.

We did not carry our weapons around when we were off duty.  We did not carry them to town with us.  Usually, when we came in from wherever we had been we were sick of carrying our weapons around with us.

If a soldier lived in the barracks and wanted to own a POW (privately owned weapon) he could, but that weapon would be locked up in the arms room.  When the unit would go to a small arms range to qualify with personal weapons guys would usually be allowed to bring their POWs to play with time allowing.  Again, at the end of the day when range firing was complete, weapons were cleaned (the Army spends a lot of time cleaning weapons) and returned to the arms room.  No one was released from duty until the last weapon was turned in and accounted for.

The least soldier in a unit is trained to a minimum proficiency with the various weapons that unit used.  The longer he’s in the unit the more proficient he is. A tank crew that’s been together for six months is usually as proficient as any SWAT team.  Controlled violence is their line of work, but they’re just as happy to have turned in the last weapon and opened the first cold beer.

That was many years ago…

Today, a sizable chunk of our population thinks that they need to walk around in public with military style weapons.  This past Sunday night we witnessed the worst-case scenario when the general public is allowed to do this.  A man opened fire on a crowd of twenty-two thousand people who were doing nothing worse than enjoying a concert. He opened fire using weapons that were tuned to fully automatic capacity.  He fired long bursts, paused (to reload or grab another weapon) and fired again.  This went on for almost fifteen minutes.  Some commentators have referred to this individual as a “sniper”.  He wasn’t sniping anything.  He was simply pointing his weapon at the crowd and holding the trigger down.  The range was about four hundred meters.  Fifty-nine people were killed.  Five hundred were wounded.

I’ve not heard (so far) that this man ever served a day in the military.  A trained soldier or marine would have been far more deadly.  They would have selected targets and fired in controlled bursts or on semi-automatic.  Far more people would have died.  But trained, disciplined service members and veterans don’t do this.

I would have thought that the NRA would be going for the propaganda high ground before the last round was fired in Las Vegas Sunday night.  They certainly did after the Sandy Hook massacre.  But they’ve been strangely quiet this go round although stock prices for gun manufacturers have sky rocketed.   Maybe this guy finally found the magic body count to piss off the American public over common sense gun control.

I’m not going to get into a pissing contest with anyone over the Second Amendment except to say this: JUST BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION SAYS EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO OWN A FIREARM DOESN’T MEANT EVERYONE SHOULD OWN A FIREARM…much less twenty-three.

In my humble opinion, anyone who has never served a day in the military should be allowed to own a military style firearm

Transition

Author: Steve Traywick

I’ve written about some of the men I served with, now I have to talk about the hardware: Tanks.

By 1917, the British Army had lost nearly a million men on the bloody killing fields of the

Order of Battle of Cambrai. November 21-December7 1917 (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Order of Battle of Cambrai. November 21-December7 1917 (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Western Front in France. The Brits (and French) had squandered hundreds of thousands of lives making headlong infantry attacks against a German trench system protected by artillery, machine-guns, barbed-wire and of course tough infantry to gain mere yards of ground. They were getting desperate.

On the morning of 20 November 1917, German troops in front of the town of Cambrai, in northern France on the Escaut river, were stunned to see what appeared to be prehistoric monsters crawling at them out of the fog and smoke. The tank was making its battlefield debut.

American industry did not have the time to develop a tank of their own. Between the world wars, the US half-heartedly played with tank designs. The Great Depression and isolationism, however, kept America’s military on a shoestring budget. Meanwhile, Germany developed and built tanks of their own and more importantly, based on the

Heinz Guderian

Heinz Guderian

theories of a genius named Heinz Guderian developed the tactics to use them en mass.

When Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and France in 1940, France had a larger, better armored and better armed fleet of tanks. French military wisdom of the time taught that tanks were simply mobile pillboxes and slaved them to infantry units. Guderian’s theory on the use of tanks called for them to be used in masses with infantry in support, an iron fist in an iron glove. Strong points would be bypassed with follow on infantry taking them out. Germany used these ideas and tactics to do to France what she had failed to do in WWI; the French army and British Expeditionary Force were taken out and France was overrun. Continue reading