Small Wars Journal

On Armor: The Debate

The Death of the Armor Corps - Gian Gentile, Small Wars Journal

Is the Army's Armor Branch Defunct? - Tom Ricks, Best Defense

COINtras Off Their Game - Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq

COIN and Hybrid War: The Demise of Armor? - Judah Grunstein, World Politics Review


Anthony Rose, CPT AR (not verified)

Tue, 04/27/2010 - 11:10am

Armor is not dead. The problem is that we in the west are embroiled in insurgencies, for the now and the foreseeable future. One thing that must be understood is that warfare is either macro terrain oriented or micro terrain oriented. All warfare has elements of both but the orientation is what dictates which branch has the dominant role. A macro terrain oriented conflict is dominated by technology. These are the 1-3GW style or conventional conflicts. On land that means that armor is dominant. In an insurgency, or any 4GW conflict the human mind is dominant. Whence the understanding that the key terrain is the mind of the populace. At a base tactical level infantry dominate the micro terrain. One does not know what the next war will be. If we only focus on the micro terrain we will be lacking if we find ourselves trying to defend Iraq Kasakistan against in invading China in the Ili Gap, or some other scenario. Don't forget that Russia invaded Georgia who was on the cusp of NATO membership. Poland and the Ukraine are allies and they routinely have issues with Russia. This would have been a macro terrain oriented fight and tanks would have been at the center. The key is to train our soldiers, and specifically our small unit leadership how to adapt. To know how to think and not simply what to think. This would allow our forces to fight in any conflict, whether macro or micro terrain oriented. The work of Don Vandegriff, H. John Poole, Bill Lind, Thomas hammes or Morgan Darwin are the best places to start. Armor is simply on the back burner until needed again. Should we focus on the fight we are in; yes, but not at the expence of the next war, or the one after that. Good Hunting.
Tony Rose
"Relentless Audacity"


Wed, 04/21/2010 - 4:51pm

Thank you for cataloguing the growing list of titles in this important debate, as well as the reference to the RAND Report - just printed it and look forward to reading it.

May I suggest adding as another good reference:
BACK TO BASICS: A Study of the Second Lebanon War and Operation CAST LEAD
put out by Combat Studies Institute Press
US Army Combined Arms Center
Lieutenant Colonel Scott C. Farquhar
General Editor

Very informative and helped my research tremendously.

House of Marathon