One of my fondest memories of history class in grade school was learning about how the British redcoats in their keen formations were thwarted by the colonists using techniques they learned from the Native Americans — hiding among the trees and taking cover while attacking the well formed British troops. Unfortunately, I recently found out that this story was somewhat fictional — rather, “…on occasion the Americans used cover, hiding behind trees and rock walls. The start of the war at Lexington and Concord is a prime example, and the New Jersey Militia, used it well also, both being examples of partisan warfare.”
This idea would be replicated in later wars when greater technologies and techniques were thwarted by seemingly lesser ones. Despite a cost of over two hundred million dollars a day, American and other forces regularly sustain casualties and equipment damage from improvised explosive devices which are cheaply built weapons employed by Iraqis to fight back against the American troops.
Now that idea is being further employed by the French military in the form of concrete bombs that are being dropped on Libyan tanks. The concept is fairly simple if you have ever been on top of a tall building and been warned off of dropping a penny off the side — despite science telling us that a mere penny would not do much damage. If it were a large concrete bomb, on the other hand, the damage done would be significant — enough to not only stop a tank in its tracks but completely destroy it.
The French military are being restrained in their destruction of the Libyan tanks. By using concrete bombs and not real bombs the damage radius is significantly smaller and as a consequence the likelihood of civilians getting killed or wounded is decreased. According to the article, the French military is using the concrete bombs in conjunction with modern technologies such as GPS guiding systems. It wouldn’t do too much good to just blindly drop concrete bombs and would go against the goal of avoiding civilian casualties.
As technologies continue to develop and we are moving more toward robotic armies it is important to note that there are still some old technologies that are useful in places where newer technologies would not be as well implementable.