Something about the Army's solicitation for the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle has been bothering me. It reminded me of something they had done before but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Then I checked an old book that I had an Army Heraldry and ran across the passage on the 9th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
Remember the Navy SEALs running around in Dune Buggies?
Remember Army Rangers upgunning humvees and using them for gun trucks?
The 9th ID did it before all of them. Check this out from Wikipedia....
Following the Vietnam War the division was stationed at Fort Lewis Washington until its inactivation in 1992. Beginning in the mid-1980s the division served as the high-technology test-bed for the army. This led to the division testing the concept of "motorized infantry", designed to fill the gap between light infantry and heavy mechanized forces. The idea was to create lighter, mobile units capable of rapid deployment with far less aircraft than a heavier mechanized unit. Motorized infantry doctrine concentrated on effectiveness in desert warfare.Nothing is new.
By 1989 the division had fielded two complete brigades of motorized infantry in battalions designated as "Light Attack," "Light Combined Arms" and "Heavy Combined Arms". Motorized battalions traveled in the new Humvee and generally fought as traditional light infantry once engaged. Attack battalions utilized the Fast Attack Vehicles (later re-designated the Desert Patrol Vehicle), first developed at Fort Lewis. Essentially a Volkswagen- engined dune buggy mounted with either a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcheror .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun, the FAV was designed to provide highly mobile firepower that could attack the flanks of heavier mechanized units. Some variants also mounted TOW missiles. All of these weapons systems were attached to the FAV by a mount designed to break away if the vehicle rolled over, which they were prone to do. The FAVs were problematic at best and were eventually replaced by various versions of the HMMWV
This "concept" of making certain Army units expeditionary by giving them ultra light vehicles has been done before.
Unlike what the Marine Corps and Army are doing today however, the old skool guys actually tested the concept before rubber stamping it and declaring it a war winner.
So when you keep track of this latest effort remember this...its been done before.