Marine Corps RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle launches from Speedbag Airfield (Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery)
January 24, 2014: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were different in a lot of ways many people didn’t expect, understand, or even notice. For example, the three week conquest of Iraq was not facilitated so much by high tech weapons, but largely by Cold War era gear using World War II tactics. The most crucial weapons were the decades old M-1 tank and M-2 infantry vehicle, with the 1960s vintage M-109 self-propelled artillery provided most of the artillery support. The 1950s era B-52 bomber was still the most cost effective way to deliver bomb attacks.
And what was so unique about conquering Iraq in three weeks while outnumbered? The British did this in 1941, using only two divisions under similar circumstances (and with far fewer armored vehicles). Not only that, the 1941 Iraqis also had the support of Germany, France and Russia. Made no difference. Afghanistan featured a handful of American Special Forces troops calling in air strikes while deep in enemy territory. That was standard practice during the 1960s Vietnam War. But change is in the air, it’s just a bit more complex a wave of change than most pundits are trying to describe.