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    Tank/infantry tactics - how it works for real

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    Tank/infantry tactics - how it works for real

    Post by 33lima on Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:22 pm

    A while back, I posted a report on Combatace, on my efforts to recreate some realistic tank tactics in Steel Fury.

    The subject of that post was using fire and movement in a Steel Fury Tank platoon (='troop', in the British Army). Using the methods I described, I was able to get my tank troop to carry out what the US Army calls 'bounding overwatch', with two tanks moving while the other covers them from the halt, then swapping over - fire and movement, the basis of both tank and infantry tactics with most armies since early in World War 2.

    You can see how this works in real life in this British Army training film, hosted in two parts on Youtube. Quality isn't brilliant but these films, made by the Services Kinema Corporation, were shown on 35mm cine projectors in many a classroom. This film was made during the 1960s but is representative of a much wider period, including WW2.

    Points to note:

    1. The subject is a tank platoon (troop) and a mechanised infantry platoon working together within a Combat Team (in British Army terminilogy of the time, a tank-infantry force based on a tank or infantry company, with platoons 'cross-attached' as the US Army calls it). The tank commander seen aand heard giving radio orders at the start ('Hello Charlie Charlie Tango one, this is Tango one...') is the tank company commander ('Tango one') talking to the officers under his command using a 'collective call' ('Charlie Charlie Tango one' will be predefined in signals instructions, so everyone included in the call knows who it is for).

    2. The tanks are of course Chieftains. The APCs are FV432s. The infantry platoon commander's 432 is the one with a 30mm Rarden autocannon in a turret (just as German panzergrenadier platoon commanders had an Sdkfz 251/10 with a 3.7cm gun).

    3. Note the use of callsigns and the radio voice procedure used, which give an idea of the sort of messages that you would hear on the radio in action, when participating in a tank-infantry mission.

    The callsigns can be seen painted on the rear of the Chieftain turrets (and on a tab on top of the model tanks used in the animated sections).

    The troop leader is 11 ('One-one').

    The troop sergeant (second in command - '2ic' for short - of the troop) is 11A ('One-one-alpha').

    The troop corporal is 11B ('One-one-bravo').

    When different arms of service are working together, they prefix their callsigns with an 'arm of service' indicator - thus, the tanks on the radio are 'Tango-one-one', 'Tango-one-one-alpha' and so on. The infantry prefix their callsigns with 'India'. The artillery - the Forward Observation Officer, or FOO - uses the prefix 'Golf' (as a Gunner). These prefixes are needed because they all use a similar alphanumerical system of callsigns eg there could be an infantry 11A on the radio net as well as a tank 11A. So on the radio they are 'India-one-one-alpha' and 'Tango-one-one-alpha'. This sort of thing changes over the years - but this sort of system would have been just as necessary in WW2, as it is today. So it's a good illustration.

    4. Note how the O Groups (Orders Groups) work - this is the officer commanding the particular operation, giving orders for that mission to all his subordinates. THIS IS WHAT A (SO-CALLED) MISSION BRIEFING IN A TANK SIM SHOULD LOOK AND SOUND LIKE, even if it simplifies some points. The player does NOT get a personal briefing from the boss - the boss gives the orders to his officers, perhaps including the tank and section commanders if time is short. I know for a fact that the British Army used the same method in World War 1, from at least 1940. Other armies will not have been radically different - 'convergent evolution'.

    5. Note the animations of the tanks using fire and movement. The second animated clip, showing the three Chieftains (in model form) using fire and movement in an advance, uses exactly the technique I described in the CombatAce mission report (as the second method - 'they [the other two tanks] move first').

    6. Note how the tanks move in the advance - they BACK out of their fire positions, before moving forward again, from a different spot. Driving directly forwards from a fire position, especially if you have been sheltering in a fold in the ground and drive upwards and forwards, is a good way to get shot.

    7. Note how both an advance to contact and the quick attack is carried out using fire and movement; in particular how the tanks shoot the infantry onto the objective. There are variations of this drill but this is a common one.

    8. Note how artillery fire missions work - you designate the target to the forward observer, and it's HE who calls up and directs the guns. Only if he cannot identify the target, will the tanks (or infantry) have to range the guns and correct the fall of shot.

    Oh, for a tank sim with Chieftains and FV432s - and for engines which sound like those in this clip!!!

    Anyway, these clips give a good idea of how tanks and infantry tried to operate together, in real life.

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    Re: Tank/infantry tactics - how it works for real

    Post by lockie on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:17 am

    33lima, it's a VERY interesting article and video! I think there should be a special forum. Let's call it Tank's tactics. What do u think?
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    Re: Tank/infantry tactics - how it works for real

    Post by 33lima on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:01 pm

    lockie wrote:33lima, it's a VERY interesting article and video! I think there should be a special forum. Let's call it Tank's tactics. What do u think?

    Yes Lockie let's do that! I know you can only do so much in any sim but for those who like to try some real-world tactics, it is usually possible to do things like:

    - don't just drive your tank forward blindly. Move from fire position to fire position, halting for observation. Before you move, pick your next fire position, like a bank or fold in the ground you can stop behind. Halt there and scan for targets before moving off, covering others who are moving;

    - when you DO drive off from a fire position, back up, turn and then move forward again so that you don't just make a predictable target. on your line of advance.

    Can you use the site admin voodoo/magic thing to move this to a new thread?

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    Re: Tank/infantry tactics - how it works for real

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