The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
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Dirty Little Secrets
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Australia has purchased 59 refurbished
American M-1 tanks for $8 million each (including lots of ancillary
equipment and spares). The M-1A1 tanks will replace German Leopards,
which are nearing the end of their useful life. The 59 tanks are enough
for one tank battalion which, with the addition of two mechanized
infantry battalions and some support units, would produce one
mechanized brigade. This would be the largest unit Australia would be
expected to send overseas. Australia, due to its size and location,
does not anticipate being invaded by a hostile armored force. So the
M-1s would be mainly for any overseas operations.
are other reasons for getting M-1s. First, there is reputation. For
fifteen years, the M-1 has demonstrated clear battlefield superiority.
There is nothing on the horizon that can match it. Then there is the
compatibility angle. Australia and the United States are close allies.
If Australia gets into an overseas scrape, it will probably be as an
American ally. Thus Australian M-1s would have an easier time getting
supplies and spares. Another angle is that Australia might not even
have to send its M-1s overseas. If the Australian mechanized brigade
was relieving an American brigade, the Australians could, as American
units currently do, just send the crews to man the tanks of the troops
The 59 Australian M-1s are expected to serve about twenty years.