Friday, August 05, 2005
U.S. Marines inspect crater where a roadside bomb destroyed their lightly armored vehicle Wednesday, killing 14 Marines and a civilian interpreter in Barwana, near Haditha, Iraq, Aug. 4, 2005. This was the deadliest roadside bombing suffered by American forces in the Iraq war. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)
But he said in the more than two years of the campaign, the military should have designed, built and "already have something in the field by now better suited for this kind of operation."
August 3, 2005 (AP) & David Wood, Newhouse News Service & AFP/Reuters
The 14 Marines killed in Iraq Wednesday were riding in a 28-ton, lightly armored amphibious behemoth that experts say was never intended for inland urban operations, where it is one of the more vulnerable combat vehicles on the battlefield ��.patrolling desert terrain in a vehicle better suited for those famous Marine Corps beach landings, experts say.
The amphibious assault vehicle -- the Marine Corps' signature transport -- is designed to carry troops in water operations from ship to shore, then operate on the beach and inland.
"You could certainly question whether an amphibious vehicle is the most appropriate ... to be driving around in a desert," said John Pike, defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, a private think tank.
With tracks instead of wheels, the vehicle is designed to be dropped from ships for coastal assaults, then move through surf at a speed of 6 mph. It cruises on land at 20 mph to 30 mph.
But its biggest drawback in Iraq, analysts said, is that because it must be able to stay afloat, its armor plating is lighter than that in heavier vehicles used by the Army.
Marines deployed in Iraq have often criticized the protection provided by the amphibious vehicles.
Protected with an inch of aluminum armor - less than that carried by the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle or Abrams tank - they hold up to 25 combat-loaded Marines and a crew of three.
A flat-bottomed AAV absorbs the full impact of an explosion, while a V-shaped hull deflects the blast.