Re: [MV] M 151 targets

Joe Baker (
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 08:27:27 -0800 (PST)

I have had the opportunity to "service" a number of old military
vehicles as hard targets in my time as a Cavalry Officer. While the
government may get a few thousand dollars for the surplus value of the
the vehicle, the training value of having a gunner shoot at something
besides a panel of plywood is worth a lot more.

On one occasion, I had one of my gunners address a "pop up" target
with a live TOW Missile. The "pop up" mechanism costs somewhere
around $8,000 and the missile about the same. The gunner was supposed
to be firing at an old tank but instead in the confusion of the day
with the smoke and fires down range he hit the "pop up". Of course
the "pop up" was completely destroyed for a total loss. If he had hit
the tank instead, it would still be there for future use. It is much
more economical to fire at old vehicles than the specialty targets
with live ammo.

In the case of Major Rice's situation, those trucks were going to be
fired at by artillery using live ammo. Wooden mockups will not stand
up but to a single hit. Whereas a truck or an old armored vehicle can
be used for an extended period of time.

I love the military vehicle hobby, but we must remember that these
vehicles exist to accomplish a mission. That mission doesn't end once
they are done being used as vehicles. It can and does extend to them
being used for gunnery practice.

A well trained gunner or forward observer is more important to me in
combat than worrying about the sacrifice of a few old vehicles used in
the training of those people.

Joe Baker
Major, Cavalry

Formerly of the
1st Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (Germany)
and the 418th Med Co (AMB) RVN

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