Personnel Carriers or Combat Vehicles? I


As so often, the US army led the way to the next major development, the armoured personnel carrier (APC), which initially consisted of an armoured box mounted on tracks, carrying an infantry squad of twelve men. A far-seeing operational requirement was issued in September 1945, and the outcome, the M75 APC, entered service in 1951, setting a trend which has continued to this day.

Subsequent development followed two main strands. The first was for a so-called ‘battle taxi’ whose prime role was to move the infantry about the battlefield, giving them protection and speed of movement, and delivering them to a point near the objective from which they could then advance on foot into the assault. For such a requirement the infantry inside the vehicle needed only to be able to see out in order to orientate themselves and to be able to disembark rapidly.

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Roman Training

Roman legionaries of the late Republic.
Roman legionaries of the late Republic.

Roman sources are uninformative about details of legionary training during the Roman Republic, in large part because they and their audience took the topic for granted. A key problem with trying to reassemble training regimes for the Republic is that the most detailed source that survives dates from four centuries after the Republic. There are a number of features, however, that we can piece together.

Polybius, our best source for the second-century army, suggests that the best training focused on weapons training, care of weapons and armor, and maneuvers by both small and large units. He does not suggest how the Roman military accomplished this regime. On enlistment, a new recruit was called a tiro and was assigned to his unit. Socialization into the society of the legion and expectations began immediately, as did introduction to discipline through routine duties and training.

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Soviet Doctrine Between World Wars

The Red Army Soviet

Russian military thought was much better developed before and during the Great War than most in the West realized. It is true that the Russian army often did not perform well at the tactical level (and the same could later be said of the Soviet army). Nevertheless, Russian troops often fought stubbornly, and at the highest strategic levels, Russian commanders were conversant with the military thinking of the day. During the Great War, the Russians crushed the Austrians in Galicia in the fall of 1914. They fought the Germans to a standstill around Warsaw during the winter. In 1916, the innovative Brusilov offensive threatened to take the Austro-Hungarian Empire out of the war. In fact, the Russians held more German prisoners in 1917 than the French and British combined. While the Russians technically left the war in March 1918 following the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, their conflict had, in fact, continued in the guise of a civil war that lasted into the 1920s.

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Personnel Carriers or Combat Vehicles? II

A Bundeswehr gunner aboard a 122nd Infantry, Company 5, Marder infantry fighting vehicle fires a MILAN wire-guided anti-tank missile at Grafenwoehr Sept. 21, 2004. NATO and partner nation use of the ranges and facilities at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels form a critical element of day-to-day training at the 7th ATC.

West Germany

In the late 1950s the Bundesheer started to consider the design of its first Cold War infantry fighting vehicle, and, not surprisingly, it began by analysing the experiences of the Second World War Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front. These studies convinced the Germans that they needed a vehicle from which the infantry could fire their weapons, enabling them to fight their way on to the objective, thus protecting the infantry during the final – and very vulnerable – assault phase. The result was the Marder, the first prototypes of which ran in 1961, although there was then a very careful, albeit somewhat prolonged, series of trials before it entered service in 1971.

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