Battle Damage Assessment and Repair. When I opened youtube last night, it recommended these two videos to me.
In the first video, most of the vehicles are obviously total losses, and almost certainly a fair number of our troops died in the attacks.
But the second video shows quite a few vehicles that were damaged beyond repair… that is, beyond what a unit can repair. But having been dragged off the battlefield, there’s a fair chance a good number of tanks and Bradley’s shown have been (or at least, could have been) rotated through the Army’s depot level maintenance system, and restored to service. And if our forces in Iraq had been truly pressed for vehicles, some probably could have been run through BDAR. By salvaging parts from multiple vehicles, and by accepting some degradation of capability, some of the tracks in the second vid could have been pressed into service.
Each mechanized battalion in the Army had two “spare” vehicles assigned to it, called “floats”. Almost like a loaner car from the dealer when you bring your car into the shop. If your Bradley (or tank) was damaged or broken down, you’d use the “float” until your own vehicle could be restored.
That was the concept, anyway. When my unit was in Desert Storm, we actually tended to use the “floats” as rolling spare parts bins. If one of the primary tracks in the company needed a spare part, such as a 25mm main gun, they’d turn the busted gun into maintenance, and steal the gun off the float. We had several vehicles that ended up having to cannibalize parts off the float. It was a pretty disreputable looking hoopty that crossed the border a discrete distance behind us. No main gun, no TOW launcher, no ISU (Integrated Sight Unit), short-tracked on one side because someone else needed a road wheel arm, no radios or antenna mounts. And no rear ramp. Let me tell you, moving that thing was a massive pain! But by depriving one vehicle of its parts, the rest of the company crossed into Iraq with reasonably fully functional vehicles.