Attrition: Under Armor in Iraq


October 29, 2007: Roadside bombs have been the single most effective weapon against U.S. troops in Iraq, causing over 1,400 deaths and ten times as many wounded. But less than ten percent of those casualties have occurred against troops in the most heavily armored vehicles.For example, there have been 17 M-1 tanks hit with roadside bombs, in which there was a fatality (for a total of 20 dead, out of 68 total troops on board.) The M-2 Bradley infantry vehicles, which weigh about half as much as the M-1s, but carry, on average, about twice as many people, have been hit with fatal attacks 34 time, causing 56 deaths. In effect, fewer troops were killed (proportionately) than in attacks on the tanks. This is because, knowing that the tanks are more resistant to bomb attacks, these vehicles are used more aggressively. It's a similar situation with the Cougar armored trucks, which are used extensively by combat engineers, who seek out roadside bombs and keep roads clear of them. There have been only four instances in which Cougars have suffered fatal attacks, killing seven troops. The Stryker armored vehicles have a safety record similar to that of the Bradley.Hundreds of these armored vehicles have been hit by mines or roadside bombs, but only a small percentage result in crew fatalities.


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