Armoured Trucker Infantry
As the South Africans (and Rhodesians) have proved, conclusively, it is possible to mineproof a wheeled truck, and their technology can be directly applied to a US 2 ½ ton combat truck. That vehicle with its ¾ ton trailer will carry twenty men and all their gear quite easily, and we won't be needing quite that many. While the conventional infantry squad is shrinking, due to the diminishing space inside most IFVs, the LIC squad needs to be quite large. AND, being motorized, they can afford the weight of body armour. This will change operational plans radically, as will be seen.
Any vehicle larger than a HMMWV really ought to have a two man crew, so we will start with a PFC driver and a PVT assistant driver who helps with the maintenance and mans the ringmount. The combat squad will be a pair of six man fire teams each with a SGT E-5, three riflemen and a SAW team. The SSG squad leader makes a total of fifteen. The E-5s will also be the grenadiers.
The truck will have to be modified with mineproofing, anti-ambush vehicular armament to include Mini-mores and a 30mm on a ringmount.
The OEM tool bag and pioneer tool selection will have to be increased, a (motorized) chainsaw, for instance would help a lot, and a winch should be standard equipment. In addition there would be some level of crew protection armour on the body and cab sides.
If the crew themselves now begin to wear hard-shell body armour, we have approached the level of protection of an APC at far less cost and much improved maintainability. We have also increased the range and endurance factor by about 300%
The existence of the trailer allows MREs, POL, ammunition, tentage, cots, and things like Coleman lamps, squad stoves and generator sets to be hauled along. The drill would be for a platoon of four identical rifle squads to haul their base camp trailers from one point to another and park them around the HMMWV command post vehicle which would be platoon HQ.
The combat armor side of the platoon would now consist of three V-150 armored cars, two with 25mm armament, and one with 90mm. In practice, each armoured car would work with a pair of those oversized self armored squads and one would stay in base camp with the HQ types.
There would be a platoon leader, a platoon sergeant, an RTO operator, a pair of runners, a medic and a cook for this many men, so platoon HQ will be two HMMWV HQ vehicles and the 90mm V-150. If there are SAWs mounted on the trailers and the CP vehicles, the platoon HQ will be able to defend itself even if all four squads are out in the bush.
The standard Company HQ will easily handle five or six of these platoons, and its weapons platoon might consist of a truck mounted mortar platoon and a pair of Vulcan 20mm AA mounts on trailers. This would also harden the HQ against ground attack.
The above formation was proposed by Ralph Zumbro as Low-Intensity, Low Budget (LI-LB) force which would supplement the actions of tracked armoured formations.
Obviously in many parts of the world such a truck mounted force would be limited to movement by road systems. This suggests to me that a similar formation could be adapted to the Escort and Patrol mission.
The trailers, if used, are more likely to be used to carry spare parts such as wheels, axles and tires since a good supply of these will be needed if there is a mine threat. The truck itself would be of the configuration described elsewhere.
The use of hard body armour is particularly suited to E&P troopers. In fact they may use even more substantial protection than the Lorica that I have suggested. A truck mounted trooper may have a ceramic curaiss covered by a layer of soft armour to catch fragments and reduce spall. At the side of the curaiss would be folding legs like those of a machine gun bipod that will take the armour's weight when he is seated. Down by the kidneys would be a quick release hose connection that pumps air from the vehicle's air conditioning or heating system.
Carlton Meyer has suggested the idea of Kevlar Overcoats for vehicle crews. These could be made more comfortable by connecting them to the vehicle environmental systems as has already been suggested. These garments are likely to resemble the long robes of Brigantine armour used in ancient China.
The dismounted combat operations most likely for E&P troops are establishing a defensive perimeter when the convoy is halted and counter-attacking ambush sites. While the latter may require the soldier to move fast, it is unlikely to be for an extended duration. Also the weight of the armour is somewhat offset by the fact that the E&P soldier only needs to carry combat related gear. Food, shelter items and most of his water can be left on his parent vehicle.
Rather than 25mm cannon it makes more sense to arm the armoured cars with the same 30mm weapons used on the trucks. An alternate idea worth considering is to equip these vehicles with turreted 60mm or 81mm Gun mortars, giving the force an increased direct and indirect fire capability.
The ASV may be an alternative system. Another is the Ridgeback Road Security Vehicle that I have proposed.
I'd also like to see the weapons platoon equipped with some form of self-propelled ADA system such as HMMWV Avenger or an armoured car mounting a Blazer turret (25mm Gatling and Stingers).
On both these systems the Stinger pods can be replaced by Hydra 70mm FFAR rocket pods that can be used in a surface to surface or ground to air role.
Trailer mounted weapons like the 20mm Vulcan can be carried on the back of a flatbed truck to provide defensive firepower on the move.
The lead of a convoy would be taken by a truck pushing a rig of mine rollers and detection gear. The pusher vehicle would not carry an infantry squad but would have extra mine protection and armament.
Ralph's truck-based TOE is very suitable for domestically based units such as the National Guard. Such units are often called upon for duties such as disaster relief where the trucks can perform various roles. A modification that I would suggest is to substitute the V-150s with M113s. These might be configured as ACAVs and should be fitted with dozer blades. Having a trio of tracked, amphibious vehicles will be useful if adverse terrain or weather conditions are encountered. As well as a fire-support role these vehicles will be useful as dozers, snow ploughs or for barricade removal.