Initial Insights from Maneuver Conference 2016

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by Will Rodriguez 3 Comments
Maneuver Conference 2016 Montage. Photos by Will Rodriguez

Ft Benning, the home to the Army’s Maneuver Center and the Army’s Infantry and Armor branches hosts a yearly conference called the Maneuver Conference.  The conference is an opportunity for vendors to showcase equipment the Army may be interested in as well as an event where the Army’s primary maneuver branches assess themselves, the Army and the role they may play in a future conflict.

This year’s event was held at the post’s headquarters 14-16 September.  There were over 250 vendors present and a couple of thousand soldiers.  There were both outdoor and indoor displays surrounding the building.  I discovered at least three new companies that have developed some fascinating gear that deserve their own stories.  They include Gentex with several new items focused on headgear protection systems, Proxydynamics with a palm sized drone system and Marathon Smart Targets which has developed a robot squad to serve as advanced targets.  You’ll see those articles in the coming days. That said below are some other highlights from the conference…

(To see more on Polaris’s Infantry Squad Truck, Smith & Wesson’s submission for a new Army pistol and Textron’s medium machinegun that’s half the weight of the M240 and more click here.)

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • YankeePapa


    At the end of WW2 the U.S. had developed a replacement for the 2.36″ rocket launcher.  But in spite of its capability and extremely low price (by weapons system standards), it was not manufactured and deployed.  First American soldiers into Korea watched their 2.36″ rounds hit T–34 tanks… scratch their paint, and piss them off.  More than a few died under the treads. 

     “Tank fever” hitting many of the units.  U.S. ran some 3.5″ models and flew them to Korea.  Suddenly the troops had confidence in a weapons system that the NKPA tank operators would learn to fear.  

     But the Army is more than weapons systems.  It is men… men in units… designed to be a certain size to accomplish its mission.  But troops deployed with company missing from battalion… battalion from regiment… A third of its size.  Training and discipline standards went to hell under political pressure.  

     Now we have interesting weapons systems being displayed.  Will they be purchased?  Will the right ones be purchased?  Will enough be manufactured and deployed?

     But will the units that they are designed to help exist in large enough numbers?  Will the soldiers there be fit and trained?  Or will they be a “politically correct” hodgepodge who have attended “sensitivity” courses… but have little rugged and realistic field training?
    .
     Maybe I am just too old… but my expectations are not too high.  

    -Yankee Papa-

  • Camo_Steve

    I get an Error 404 – Page not found when I click the link.

  • Camo_Steve Fixed.
    THANKS for the heads up!