TANKING IT: Gregg Easterbrook has an interesting analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Abrams tank in TNR today.

I must admit, I never thought of the Bradley as a “baby tank” before, but it is an interesting way of looking at it. The article implies, however, that that is how the Army sees it: that the Bradley is a lower status tank, somewhat akin to the fellows who pilot the puddle jumper planes for the airlines. This isn’t the case.

The Bradley isn’t viewed as a small tank but as an armored personnel carrier on steroids. Abrams drivers are in the Armor branch. Bradley drivers are in the Infantry. Theoretically, tanks are supposed to travel with infantry to provide support but, going back as far as WWII, they seem never to be employed that way but rather as a separate maneuver element. This became the case with the Abrams and Bradleys, despite the initial plans. Abrams tanks are mainly used as tank killers; the piece accurately describes why that is. Bradleys are used to transport infantrymen into combat and to provide them with support.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.