They are not Tanks

September 5, 2007

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I was in Gereshk to witness the first deployment in Southern Afghanistan of what the military would call “proper armour”. A company of Scots Guards, called the Right Flank, arrived in a large sand-cloud with more than 20 “Warrior” armoured fighting vehicles.
Soldiers frown and straighten their collars when you call them tanks because they are not tanks and the military likes this sort of thing to be clear. These vehicles, which they have had in Iraq since the invasion but not yet in Afghanistan, are designed to carry infantry in the back and deliver them to the fight protected and with the support of heavy machine guns.
Tanks are different. They have much bigger guns, are heavier, and if things are going well for them in a battle then nobody is going to dismount from one.
So British tanks have not arrived in Afghanistan but still the arrival of Warriors is an upgrade to the military capacity of note. Each weighing over 30 tons and costing several London mortgages, taking them to Afghanistan represents a further investment in the conflict.
The forces being committed to the conflict in Afghanistan are being increased.