Welcome to Steelbeasts.com

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Maj.Hans

Picking your fight?

I'm not real sure if this belongs here, or somewhere else, but it's got tie-ins to scenario design and real world tactics, so....

 

My basic question is how much effort is put into scheduling attacks during favorable weather conditions at, for example, the Battalion level?

 

 

I've made several cold war scenarios.  Typically when I'm making a 1960s or 1970s scenario where thermal sights are not common, I have stuck to daylight scenarios because Pro PE currently lacks IR sights on western vehicles (I keep asking for a passive IR mode on the Leopard AS1 for specifically this ersatz Leo1A4 reason) at the moment, and we don't have illumination yet, so we're de-facto limited to daylight fighting.

 

For 1980s and later cold war scenarios, I've often had Soviet/WP forces start their attacks at dawn or early in the day.  My reasoning here is that their commanders would have to know about NATO thermal sights, and would go out of their way to avoid making attacks or movement at night.  Conversely I've often had NATO attack in bad weather or at night, reasoning that they would want to leverage their thermals against the enemy, while I have frequently had the Red forces sort of dug in and hunkered down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well to a certain extent it doesn't matter.

 

If BDE orders you to clear feature X NLT time Y, that's your planning window.

 

You work forward to get an earliest H Hr and work back from the NLT time to get a latest H hr.

 

If the gap between "earliest" and "latest" is say 2 hours then you can choose whatever time you like as long as its within the 2 hours. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

I suppose, then, a better question would be how much concern is put into this at the BDE and above levels?

 

I know that, for example, during WW2 the Germans, after a certain point in the war, made an extreme effort to only move by night in areas where the allies had air superiority.

 

Conversely, although coalition forces had an overwhelming and definitive advantage in terms of night vision optics, operation Desert Storm seems to have been a 100 hour blitz where several big battles happened to occur during bad weather or at night without much or any effort to plan it that way.  However coalition forces were superior in pretty much every aspect so perhaps that was simply seen as not being critical?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, Maj.Hans said:

I suppose, then, a better question would be how much concern is put into this at the BDE and above levels?

 

I know that, for example, during WW2 the Germans, after a certain point in the war, made an extreme effort to only move by night in areas where the allies had air superiority.

 

Conversely, although coalition forces had an overwhelming and definitive advantage in terms of night vision optics, operation Desert Storm seems to have been a 100 hour blitz where several big battles happened to occur during bad weather or at night without much or any effort to plan it that way.  However coalition forces were superior in pretty much every aspect so perhaps that was simply seen as not being critical?

In the end, it all comes down to METT-TC, particularly the enemy's actions in that continuum; weather only plays a real role in terrain trafficability and the availability of air support.  As for Desert Storm, well a movement to contact is a movement to contact; as long as you can cross the terrain, you move till make contact with the enemy (being mindful that movements to contact are terrain and not enemy driven), so that's what we did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

15 minutes ago, MAJ_Fubar said:

In the end, it all comes down to METT-TC, particularly the enemy's actions in that continuum; weather only plays a real role in terrain trafficability and the availability of air support.  As for Desert Storm, well a movement to contact is a movement to contact; as long as you can cross the terrain, you move till make contact with the enemy (being mindful that movements to contact are terrain and not enemy driven), so that's what we did.

I thought this was down to the Marines not beeing able to find the end of that beach... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Grenny said:

I thought this was down to the Marines not beeing able to find the end of that beach... 

Well, they are Marines...as long as there's sand...xD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

That's a very interesting question - especially when you mentioned no IR on 70's NATO armor.

 

My take on your question is that - as you alluded to - when operations take place and in what kind of weather is entirely dependent on the equipment available.

 

In the early 70's I served in a US Tank Battalion on M60A1's. On our vehicles we had a rather large search light that could switch between white light and IR use. We also had a primitive IR GPS sight for the gunner. We also had IR headlights for use at night but the driver's IR periscope, much like the gunners sight sucked. Neither the gunner nor the driver's sights worked very well and when they did it sucked so bad that it might as well not have worked at all.

 

I don't ever remember firing the main gun on a range at night using the IR searchlight (another tank always illuminated your target) though we did practice with the white light a couple of times a year.

 

That said: In 3 years I can remember only one of many training operations that we participated in where we fought at night. We moved at night a lot but we didn't train to fight at night during any training exercise except the one time.

 

So the answer to your question is - based on how the unit I served in trained - US Armor in the early 70's would have maneuvered at night and regularly planned for it regardless of the weather but not planned at all to fight at night unless absolutely forced to. Battles would be fought at dawn or later assuming forecasted visibilty at fighting ranges was going to be available and a lot of effort would have been put into that.

 

Here's something else that you might find interesting. We were all in agreement that if the balloon ever did go up that our searchlights would probably fail quite a bit and not work. You see when you lit one up at night it could be seen from miles around. If bullets and sabot were flying and you lit your searchlight up at night you might as well just bend over and kiss your - well you know - goodbye 'cuz all you would be doin' would be announcing to every enemy tank around that you were available to be shot and were happy to point your self out so they could do it.

Edited by Werewolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Werewolf said:

That's a very interesting question - especially when you mentioned no IR on 70's NATO armor.

 

My take on your question is that - as you alluded to - when operations take place and in what kind of weather is entirely dependent on the equipment available.

 

In the early 70's I served in a US Tank Battalion on M60A1's. On our vehicles we had a rather large search light that could switch between white light and IR use. We also had a primitive IR GPS sight for the gunner. We also had IR headlights for use at night but the driver's IR periscope, much like the gunners sight sucked. Neither the gunner nor the driver's sights worked very well and when they did it sucked so bad that it might as well not have worked at all.

 

I don't ever remember firing the main gun on a range at night using the IR searchlight (another tank always illuminated your target) though we did practice with the white light a couple of times a year.

 

That said: In 3 years I can remember only one of many training operations that we participated in where we fought at night. We moved at night a lot but we didn't train to fight at night during any training exercise except the one time.

 

So the answer to your question is - based on how the unit I served in trained - US Armor in the early 70's would have maneuvered at night and regularly planned for it regardless of the weather but not planned at all to fight at night unless absolutely forced to. Battles would be fought at dawn or later assuming forecasted visibilty at fighting ranges was going to be available and a lot of effort would have been put into that.

 

Here's something else that you might find interesting. We were all in agreement that if the balloon ever did go up that our searchlights would probably fail quite a bit and not work. You see when you lit one up at night it could be seen from miles around. If bullets and sabot were flying and you lit your searchlight up at night you might as well just bend over and kiss your - well you know - goodbye 'cuz all you would be doin' would be announcing to every enemy tank around that you were available to be shot and were happy to point your self out so they could do it.

 

Lots of good stuff in here...Hmmm..

 

First I should clarify my comments on IR sights.  I think some of us (probably myself especially) have a bad habit of using "IR" to describe all types of night vision.  In Pro-PE, currently NATO vehicles are available without any type of night-vision at all (Leopard AS1), or with "far infrared" sights which are thermal sights and see heat rather than light (like the M1, M60A3 TTS, Leopard 2A4, etc).

 

It sounds like you're describing first generation near infrared IR image intensifier sights, or "active IR" that need a search light to really be effective.  We have those in Pro PE, but the only ones available to the player are on the T-55/62/72 series, and yes they are basically useless.  We don't happen to have working IR or white light search lights yet, so they really are only slightly better than nothing.

 

Incidentally, I had a chance to look through some night vision goggles from this same generation of technology.  Without an illuminator turned on, I could see more with my naked eye...

 

That issue of turning on the light and making yourself a huge target was sort of addressed later on.  There was a version of the M60 fitted with "Passive IR" night sights that were much more sensitive, and didn't need a search light or mounted only a much smaller IR-Only search light, but still worked the same way.  Apparently the West German Leopard 1A3/1A4 tanks had an IR system slightly better than those.  See below:

pzb-200_strichbild.jpg

 

Of course, since 1980, the M60A3 TTS, and the M1 with their thermal sights have been the vampire god of night-vision death, and that's a totally different game...

 

What you mention about having very little training with night fighting and that sort of confirms what I had thought about night fighting up until recently, which is that 1950-1980 night fights were going to be lots of groping around in the dark until you bump into something, and then decide if you go around it, or shoot it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"3, this is alfa, turn on you searchlight" 

"alfa, this is 3,the f*ck I will. .." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Grenny said:

"3, this is alfa, turn on you searchlight" 

"alfa, this is 3,the f*ck I will. .." 

 

I sure as hell wouldn't do it!

 

I've done a tiny little bit of simunitions force on force training and the ONE time I saw somebody turn a weapon light on he got HAMMERED...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My memories of training at night are that, yes, we would have done night fighting.  We trained using search lights, flares, and range cards (the latter two not requiring search lights).  We did not expect to use search lights very much, not because of the risks to ourselves but because of the fragility of the search light.  Leaving the motor pool with a working light was no guarantee that by the time you road marched to the range that it wouldn't have broken.  I remember quite distinctly one gunnery exercise on which no searchlights in our platoon were working except mine, which was stuck in IR mode.  So we had to switch to using mortar launched flares for the white light engagements (Using flares to illuminate targets at night is one of the things I hope gets implemented in Steel Beasts.  Nothing so eerily cool looking as gunnery at night with flares and a slight ground fog).  Firing from a range card was always complicated because someone would invariably forget to zero the azimuth or elevation indicator either while making the card or setting up to fire.  Firing with the IR sight was as easy as daylight if you and the search light were pointing at the same target as there was really no indication using the sight except that the grey was a little lighter when you were getting closer to the illuminated area.  I know I shot with passive sights when I was in Germany, I just don't have any recollections of doing so.  I do remember many times sitting watch in the TC's hatch at Bergen-Hohne and occasionally using the night sight to view the surroundings.  I was always surprised at the clarity of the view, even on moonless nights, and how far away I could make out details (It was really neat when the occasional shooting star would flare into view and then wink out just as quickly. There was one instance when a rather large meteor slashed across the view and I always wondered where it might have hit the ground as it seemed to be relatively close).  I did see a picture one guy took of the tank in front of him through the driver's passive sight and the details were crystal clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

Dangerous to use in combat, but that large Xenon searchlight may save your tank from getting penetrated, if it takes the hit by itself. I heard of several cases in which Xenon searchlights were blasted to pieces by Egyptian Saggers during the 1973 war, while the M48/M60 kept going intact. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dumb question, but other than the WW2 Grant CDL, did anyone ever deploy a strobe capability on a tank searchlight?  I'm thinking that may have been harder to locate and shoot back at, especially if you had multiple vehicles using them for illumination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now