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Four-Tank vs Three-tank platoons

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I'm glad to hear of your experience. My personal experience of trying to coordinate a better position with adjecent units resulted in my CO overruling me on the grounds that our BC did not tolerate deviations from his orders on such things. And no, the BC had not seen that ground before he drew up his orders. I hope me experience was atypical.

That reminds me of an lesson at the officer school: we had to plan a Bn defense. Most of us centered the plan on the assumtion that on our left side the "Dinklarer Klungkau" (can't remember sthe spelling) made a formidable water obtsacle that can only be crossed with heavy eng. equipment and therefore we need less forces there. So our instructor take us to the site...and there the obtsacle looked as terrifying as a little rabbit with the word BOO! painted on his forehead. In fact a one-legged tortoise could have jumped over that ditch.

Lesson learned: don't thrust maps...do area reccon ;-)

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What you say suggests that the three-tank platoons scheme favorizes the tank company use of reserves,, in detriment of the platoon operations. When you read FM 17-15 The Tank Platoon, you see that in Ch. 3, Offensive Operations, the use of two-tank sections is extensive, keeping one element as fire support or/and the other for manuever. I wonder how can you accomplish that with only three tanks. Different tactics, I presume.

I don't know how the germans did it, but I would assume that bounding overwatch would be done with platoons, not sections. Here in Norway we use 4-tank-platoons, and bounding overwatch with sections is becoming rarer and rarer even though we have the two sections required. With stabilised turrets, the need for fire support from a stationary unit is decreased(quite considerably), and chances are you're sending the bounding unit out on its own anyway. It depends on the terrain, but if your opponent knows what he's doing, he is perfectly able to deploy his units with frontal cover. This will mean that your covering unit won't be able to detect them, and they'll ambush your bounding unit. In that situation, you'll have 2 barrels to use instead of 4. This is an especially big problem in our terrain, with lots of forests and obstacles. We've tried different tactics(bounding vs whole platoon advancing) and have found that bounding overwatch generelly is less effective, in that it usually only subtracts 2 of your own tanks from the fight. I have served as a platoon leader in the past 2 years, and I almost never used bounding overwatch.

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