This episode of The Spear features a story from Capt. Steve Beckman. He was commissioned as an armor officer, but was assigned to lead a platoon in an infantry unit equipped with a Stryker variant called the M1128 Mobile Gun System. On top of that, he was sent to take over the platoon in the middle of a deployment in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
Just before his unit was set to redeploy to Fort Lewis, Washington, it took part in a large operation—Operation Blowfish—against Taliban fighters in the province’s north. Regular listeners will remember a 2017 episode that featured Col. Jonathan Neumann, who told the story of that operation from his perspective as the battalion commander. Beckman tells the story of his platoon’s role in the fighting.
The Mobile Gun System is a unique vehicle that fires a 105-millimeter tank gun, a level of firepower that can be valuable in the situation Beckman found himself in, asked to provide fire support to a group of US soldiers who were taking RPG fire from Taliban fighting positions. But when his vehicle fired its first round, the auto-loader—a key component of the weapon system—stopped functioning, and he was forced to come up with a different way to bring the vehicle’s firepower to bear.
You can listen to the full episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Spear on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, we would love it if you would take just a second to give the podcast a rating or leave a review.
Image credit: Staff Sgt. Dayton Mitchell, US Air Force
This is unacceptable! The Stryker MGS is actually the LOSER of the Armored Gun System (AGS) with the 105mm M8 AGS the winner. But politics produced the loser because the Stryker MGS's 105mm gun is totally exposed and relies on an autoloader, not to mention that it can't shoot 360-degrees very well. It has no enclosed armored turret. It has to stop to fire (debatable). The M8 AGS could be up-armored and covered in ERA against RPGs and perhaps even mount Active-Protection Systems.
There are just so many better systems such as the Patria 120mm NEMO mortar or M1117 ASV 90mm Cockerill turret that could also do direct and indirect fire. Even the U.S. Army admits that the MGS is flawed and troublesome.
Clearly the M8 AGS was the winner as reported in IHS Jane's and the competition results. It wasn't produced.
Talk about something that comes back to bite later. Wow, and the U.S. Army totes that it has the best equipment…no it doesn't. When soldiers' lives are at stake, a bad or wrong decision can hurt and this is a classic example of what has occurred. Compare 18 MGS 105mm rounds to 40+ 105mm rounds in the M8 AGS. And still the U.S. Army procrastinates in the MPF selection.
Ostensibly, a tank cannon is better than just using small arms…that is if the tank cannon actually works.
A can round into the orchards shut em up for a bit.
Definitely interesting listening and reading about the evolution of SBCT task organization over time. Currently with 1-17 IN in 2-2 SBCT (what 5th BDE was designated to after its redeployment from AFG). MGSs no longer reside in the line-companies of SBCT infantry BNs, but instead in the heavy weapons troop of the BDE’s cavalry squadron. ATGM Stryker variants are also in the BDE heavy weapons troop. Our infantry companies only have M1126 Infantry Carrying Vehicle (ICV) variants of Strikers along with a section of 120mm Stryker mounted mortars. Even in training environments I have definitely seen the temperamental nature of the MGS platform. The Soldiers who operate them say that the system is great when it works, but that can be a big if. Also, 19Ks no longer operate MGSs, it is all 19Ds in the SBCT cavalry squadron. Seems like the Army has made quite the number of changes to SBCT task org and MTOE over the years. Thanks for sharing CPT Beckman. Truth and Courage!