According to a researcher of the US Military Academy, the most effective weapon on the modern battlefield is concrete barriers.
Concrete is the most effective weapon on the modern battlefield, a former coach of the US Army, Major John Spencer, who is currently engaged in theoretical researches in the US Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, concluded.
In his essay, posted on a website of the academy, Spencer unequivocally states that concrete barriers that are used in Iraq and Afghanistan today, have made to security of American soldiers, involved in these conflicts, much more than any other military hardware that they have, including the most complex ones.
“Many soldiers deployed to Iraq became experts in concrete during their combat tours. Concrete is as symbolic to their deployments as the weapons they carried. No other weapon or technology has done more to contribute to achieving strategic goals of providing security, protecting populations, establishing stability, and eliminating terrorist threats,” Spencer wrote.
Spencer recalls that when he served in Iraq in 2008, he could not imagine that he would become an expert on concrete. Nevertheless, by the end of the term of his service, he could exactly say how much each concrete barrier weighed, how much is cost and what crane was needed to lift it.
The author noted that “small concrete barriers, used for traffic control points,” and “giant ones” that allowed to protect against indirect fire from rockets and mortars were installed in Baghdad by the thousands. Each of the types received a code designation in honor of some state of the US. So, a 2-ton barrier with the height of one meter was named the Jersey; a 2-meter wall, weighing 3.5 tons was called the Colorado; and twice thicker walls with almost the same height were nicknamed the Texas.
Mounting of concrete obstacles became the only adequate measure that the US Army was able to invent in order to response to widespread usage of improvised bombs by militants. For example, all of the major highways, used by American vehicles and military hardware, were defended by solid fence, made of 3-meter-tall concrete slabs.
However, such heavy usage of concrete barriers needs enough big money. The cost of one typical barrier is around $600, and the US has already spent several billions of dollars on such barriers during the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For this reason, Spencer recommends the US Army to immediately include a detachment of concrete barriers in planning of combat operations in urban areas. In addition, he notes that the army also should see about a sufficient number of construction machines and instructions for soldiers.
In this way, all the widely advertised American military hardware including the latest versions of the Abrams tanks, reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles, and stealth bombers, is inferior to banal concrete barriers that were used by British already during the time of the Boer War at the junction of the XIX and XX centuries.