By Jim Rohrer
Tanks appeal to many wargamers, but their star has been waning for a long time. Heavy tanks are tough to airdrop so they are not useful for flexible rapid response. They have a long logistical tail and they are not effective in some terrains. The US Army has, since Vietnam, increasingly used light armored vehicles. At this point, the Army seems to be confused about what it needs to do. One author frankly admitted that the Army lacks an armored platform that integrates well with infantry combat teams (https://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2014/OCT_DEC/Taylor.html).
The ideal light infantry vehicle drops from above and has a compromise level of armor. Insurgency situations require rapid response, adaptability to a wide variety of terrains, agility, speed, and functionality in narrow streets and in mountains as well as in the broad plains where heavy tanks excel. Light vehicles transport infantry and also carry effective heavy weapons. They have turrets to give visibility to the commander.
The appetite for large R&D budgets is not sufficient so the Army would buy and convert commercial vehicles if they met these requirements. Insurgent forces convert pickup trucks and SUVs so in a pinch the military could do that also. I wonder what mercenaries are buying.
This brings me to this question: have wargame rules been developed that apply to units that integrate infantry with light armored vehicles? What is the correct balance at the troop level between vehicles and infantry? We expect that the light armored vehicles all will be troop carriers but how many infantry soldiers will be carried in each type of vehicle and what mix of vehicles should make up the troop? Do we treat this as an armored cav unit and if so do we already have game rules for armored cavalry that could be applied to modern or near-future war units?