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El_Chacho

M3/M1 Hunter-Killer Plt in a Hasty Attack: Learning to Punch with the Fingers Spread

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Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern.

(You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread.)

Heinz Guderian

Meaning that you should concentrate your Panzers for one mighty push in one direction and not distribute them over a large area. From WikiQuotes.

The action described below is from a custom-made scenario featuring a US Cavalry Plt tasked with filling a gap in a screen line.

This scenario is loosely based in the actions of the 2nd Plt, A Troop, 1-4 US Cavalry near objective Norfolk during the Gulf War. During the early hours of 27 Feb 1991, 1-4 US Cav was conducting a screen mission for 1 ID. The S3 of the unit, Major John Burdan became aware that A and B Troops have been inadvertently moving away from each other while moving to establish the screen line. Thus, a gap in the screen line was generated. The 1st Squadron commander (LTC Robert Wilson) decided to inspect the screen line personally, taking along one M3 and an M113. This command group found a dug-in Iraqi T-72 and quickly dispatched it. Soon it became evident that BMPs and T-72s were behind the 1st Squadron's screen line. Lacking the firepower needed to clear this enemy group, the 2nd Plt of A Troop (2LT Adrian Lowndes) was called in to clear the enemy positions and to re-establish de screen line. More details can be found at "The Road to Safwan", by Bourque and Burdan (pages 151 to 153).

Please keep in mind "loosely based". This scenario is not an historical recreation. Over time, I edited the scenario to get rid of the many difficulties the Troopers of 1-4 US Cav have encountered in real-life. Navigation in an almost featurless desert, with few GPS units, with 1/500,000 maps and at night. How they did it, it escapes my comprehension. To make it up for my scenario's numerous excesses, I situated the action during a moderate sandstorm (low visibility), with no air support and no indirect fires availble for blue. I made the gap in the screen almost 4 km wide. I also reinforced the Iraqis with two plts of T-72s and three plt(-) of BMPs, all deployed in depth with infantry-manned OPs up front. I also gave the Iraqis random start positions and two crude plans of armored counter-attack which are triggered based in the reports by the infantry OPs.

The main purpose of editing and playing this scenario was to learn how to use hunter-killer teams in a hasty attack. M3/M1 hunter-killer teams have been widely used by US Cavalry formations during both Iraq wars. For this scenario, I have an US Cav Plt composed of 6 M3 CFVs and 2 M1 MBTs. I organized this Plt as described in an article that appeared in the Armor magazine, back in 1993.

33ac9xl.jpg

Without further ado, the mission.

2zqfmu9.jpg

The blue units at the north and south extremes of the map, are part of the Squadron's screen line and they are out of my control. The gap between both of them is where enemy presence is supected. The units is at the western extreme of the map are part of my Plt. You will have excuse me in that each of them show Plt symbols and nomenclature. For the purpose of this scenario, they are all just part of the same US Cav Plt. Also, Units 3-A and 2-A have a tank symbol but they are actually composed of 1 M1 MBT and 2 M3 CFVs. This is the first time I use the new mixed units feature of v2.146! :)

The task is to execute a "clear" tactical mission and re-establish the screen line (dotted arrows located at the eastern edge). The "clear" tactical mission is ussualy executed after very careful planning and is supported with multiple assets. Clearly not the case for this scenario, but I'm claiming METTTC considerations. :)

To be continued ...

Edited by El_Chacho
Grammar

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Ey Hackworth,

Let me finish this story and then I will wrap the scenario up nicely. Right now is not ready for public consumption. Don't expect nothing stellar, though. It's small and ugly.

On a side note, and before I forget, there was a great discussion in this forum about the Scout/Tank integration.

Please find it here: http://www.steelbeasts.com/sbforums/showthread.php?t=3446&highlight=hunter+killer

Cheers,

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i dont mind small and ugly. it just needs to be late and i need to be drunk. ;)

Sounds like a regular night out.

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The Plan

We are deep in the desert. Right in front of us there is a small valley, oddly scattered with palm trees. West of that valley, the hills we have to clear. Once we get inside this hilly terrain, long range engagements (in which we have such an awesome edge) will be impossible. Whatever happens in the hills, it will be a knife-fight. It's early in the morning and a moderate sandstorm has limited the visibility to 1 km.

Based on the light resistance we found in the last hours and the lack of prepared enemy defenses, the enemy forces are likely conducting a mobile security mission. One hour ago, our Sqn command group has destroyed two PCs and one tank (see reference points in the map). At least 4 T-72s and 5 BMPs were seen hastily moving west.

Our task is to clear the enemy from the sector indicated in the map and restore the screen line.

Forces available for this mission are a US Cav Plt (6 M3 CFV, 2 M1 MBT) which I organized as a Hunter-Killer Plt (see previous post). The Squadron's aerial component is grounded until the climate conditions improve. We have no indirect fire support available for this mission.

My scheme of maneuver is, sequentially:

1) Clear the valley with the whole Hunter-Killer (HK) Plt

2) Infiltrate or force a penetration of the hilly terrain via small valleys/low terrain at the north and southern extremes of the sector with HK teams 2A and 3A

3) Teams 2A and 3A conduct mutually supported HK missions to find and destroy the enemy forces. Team 4A (2 M3 CFVs) stays back in the small valley, alerts of any enemy movement in the west part of the sector and stays ready to reinforce HK operations of teams 2A and 3A

292r6rr.jpg

H-K and HK: Hunter-Killer tactics;

The infiltration/penetration of the hilly terrain of 3A HK team (southern flank) could have been made a bit more down south, near the southern edge of the sector. I opted for a small low-terrain-valley entrance a bit north than that because I wanted to make sure that team 3A could support team 2A.

Coming up next: the execution

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The Execution

A side note: I played this scenario jumping from one vehicle to another. This may not be of the liking of simulation purists out there, but I wanted the whole hunter-killer experience for this report.

From 6:30 to 6:49

All teams move forward. Teams 2-A and 3-A, move in a spread out “vee” formation, with two M3 CFVs forward and an M1 tank behind. With the new mixed units feature of v2.146, it was just a couple of mouse clicks to have the M3s and the M1 moving as a formation. I wish it would be an option to spread the formation even more, to have the tank 300 meters behind the M3 CFVs.

rswmep.jpg

Passing through the wreck of an Iraqi recon vehicle

We scan the terrain ahead, but no victors are found. We cross the only place of our sector where there is some green vegetation.

bgsarn.jpg

29410yo.jpg

Situation at 6:49 AM. Bug report: teams 2-A and 3-A show as a single tank icon in the AAR section of SB ProPE

j83587.jpg

Team 2-A emerges from the palms in a "vee" hunter-killer formation.

To be continued ...

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Around 6:51, all teams are at the edge of the palm trees, scanning west before moving on.

An artillery barrage falls over team 4-A (center group, 2 M3 CFVs). Team 4-A pulls back to safety un-harmed. The enemy has seen us. There must be some infantry OPs somewhere.

124edjo.jpg

Team 4-A pulls back to avoid the artillery fire.

With the certainty that the enemy has seen us, I order everybody to wait for a couple of minutes, and scan the terrain west. No victors out there.

I am a bit scared of letting both teams 2-A and 3-A to start moving west. I choose team 2-A (north flank) as the one to move on first because its avenue of infiltration/penetration is closer to the limit of our sector. If something nasty happens during their approach, they can move north to safety relatively fast.

otjdbc.jpg

Team 2-A advances northwest through a small valley. Formation column, with the tank up front. Because the terrain now is a bit more closed, I want to make sure that if contact is to happen during the march, a tank is the first thing the enemy faces

Another artillery barrage, now on team 3-A (southern flank), produces the first loss. An M3 CFV falls prey to the fire from the sky. This is not a good start.

2z71o2w.jpg

Team 3-A suffers the first loss.

Fortunately, team 2-A (northern flank) advances unopposed.

otjdbc.jpg

Another view of the advance of team 2-A.

It’s now 6:55 and the time of deploying the “hunters” of team 2-A has come.

11lln4g.jpg

Situation at 6:55. Note team 2-A's advance.

To be continued ...

Edited by El_Chacho
Resizing of images. Grammar.

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This is very interesting. I have a scenario I made (Delaying Action) which can be played relatively quickly. This hunter killer team looks like a perfect way to make more of these quick scenarios...

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Ey Volcano, :)

What I like about these type of formations is that they feature a mix of assets and their size is relatively small.

Cheers,

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6:55, Time to move the two M3 CFVs from team 2-A (north flank) out as "hunters".

I want to find out where the enemy tanks are before moving forward the already mauled team 3-A (south flank).

The two M3 CFVs from team 2-A leave the M1 tank behind and move cautiously in separate directions. All those trooper skills will come in handy right now. One M3 CFV (vehicle 2/2-A) moves some 500 meters south and finds no trace of the enemy. The other M3 CFV (vehicle 4/2-A) moves west. At 7:12, vehicle 4/2-A finds two Iraqi T-72s some 1.2 km south of its position. We finally found where the enemy armor is.

vq05xc.jpg

Vehicle 4/2-A finds the enemy.

Having accomplish its task (find the enemy and report) I should have pulled out this "hunter" out of harms way. I was in the commander's seat of this vehicle at this point and I have to tell you, the view shown in the previous screenshot chilled my spine. When the spotting of enemy armor happened I had this M3 CFV in an un-covered position, with a ridgeline behind me.

2i2btzr.jpg

Not the best of places to find out enemy armor with an M3 CFV. The view from vehicle 4/2-A when the enemy armor was spotted. The enemy tanks are somewhere far in the background.

I threw smoke in front and panicked. I could have pulled out moving to my right but I didn't have the guts to leave the safety of the smoke curtain. As usually I couldn't remember about the smoke generator. I was not going to retreat my M3 by moving backwards and cresting the small ridge behind. Sequentially showing the top and then the belly of the vehicle to a couple of enemy tanks is not a good idea.

The it became obvious that the two tanks haven't seen my M3 CFV, so I engaged both tanks with TOWs. Two enemy tanks destroyed. So much for "hunter", this M3 CFV just became a "killer".

24e71qx.jpg

Situation at 7:12. We found enemy armor ... and killed it.

2vm6iba.jpg

A view of the two Iraqi T-72s killed with TOWs.

I bugged out from the area and returned back to the safety of the hills near the M1 tank.

We found and killed two tanks already. The other enemy tanks should be nearby but cannot be spotted from our northern flank team. It's time to move forward team 3-A (south flank).

To be continued ...

P/S: I am sorry the story is trickling down so slowly. Flooded with stuff both at the office and at home. :frown:

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7:17, team 3-A (south flank) is moving east.

2re19qe.jpg

Team 3-A moves up. Note how they stay on low terrain. Formation column, with the M1 tank ahead.

Once team 3-A arrives to the end of the small valley they used as the approach route, the only M3 CFV is ordered north to hunt for the enemy armor.

r9lrv4.jpg

Situation at 7:23. Vehicle 4/3-A (M3 CFV) is hunting.

I jumped into vehicle 4/3-A for some trooper fun. I went into the commander's hatch and, un-buttoned, I used the binoculars to look out for the enemy armor.

14buydj.jpg

Some tense moments searching for enemy armor. This thing turned out to be the burning wreck of a T-72 destroyed by the northern flank team.

Then I found it ...

9gy96q.jpg

I see it!

Edited by El_Chacho

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And called up the killer ...

2mx3kll.jpg

The "killer" from team 3A moves up

A brief firefight ensues ...

yc8as.jpg

The "killer", sending love down range

With predictable results

sm9dma.jpg

Third enemy tank destroyed. The tanks in the background have been previously destroyed by a northern flank "hunter"

It's now 7:41 and we have destroyed an Iraqi T-72 Plt. We need to find the rest of the enemy tanks.

I order one vehicle from team 2-A (north flank) to move west and hope it can see enemy tanks. An M3 CFV moves west (vehicle 4/2-A), very slowly. They can't see any enemy tanks, but it detects and destroys a couple of BMPs. So far, vehicle 4/2-A has destroyed two tanks and two BMPs.

Despite the success of vehicle 4/2-A, I'm a bit disappointed that they couldn't see the enemy tanks I'm looking for. The hunters of team 2-A (north flank) and team 3-A (southern flank) appear to be separated by a small elevation that runs east-west right at the center of our sector. This means that both north and south flank teams are not mutually supported.

The task of finding the enemy tanks will have to go into team's 3-A (south flank) "hunter". I order vehicle 4/3-A to pull back south and use another north-bound approach to find the enemy tanks.

Vehicle 4/3-A finds a semi-decent approach for its hunting, but the elevations covering its route are getting too small to cover an M3 CFV. I order the troopers to dismount and move forward. Time is 7:51.

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2s9w179.jpg

The situation at 7:51

152guop.jpg

Dismounted troopers move ahead as "hunters". Note how the elevations in the right flank of the vehicle are just not enough to provide cover.

2eb743b.jpg

The troopers pass near the wrecks of enemy tanks.

The dismounted troopers find the enemy tanks. A whole damn plt of them. One of the troopers pulls out his AT missile and shoots at one of the tanks, immobilizing it (!).

2j5cha0.jpg

David and Goliath.

Unfortunately, our trooper gets mowed down by MG fire. The other trooper moves out to safety.

I was cursing at the loss of this trooper and how silly I have been by letting dismounts get so close to enemy tanks when I hear main gun shots. "What, is the enemy shooting HE at my remaining trooper? Didn't they get enough?"

Actually, the "killer" M1 tank I left some 500 meters behind had the decor of moving up a bit, just enough to avenge the death of my trooper. All by himself. Oh, man I left this tank do his job with such a joy. I felt like jumping into this tank would be like stealing the credit for such an adequate intervention. I let the firefight rage for a good minute. The M1 "killer" bagged the whole plt of Iraqi T-72s. It was one of those gaming moments I will remember for a long time. Information sharing within the same team: great feature eSim!

awvyg6.jpg

This M1 didn't let those T-72s down range to get away with the death of my trooper. Can you see the M3 ahead?

Only two entries left: mopping-up and lessons learned.

Cheers,

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The action described below is from a custom-made scenario featuring a US Cavalry Plt tasked with filling a gap in a screen line.

This scenario is loosely based in the actions of the 2nd Plt, A Troop, 1-4 US Cavalry near objective Norfolk during the Gulf War. During the early hours of 27 Feb 1991, 1-4 US Cav was conducting a screen mission for 1 ID. The S3 of the unit, Major John Burdan became aware that A and B Troops have been inadvertently moving away from each other while moving to establish the screen line. Thus, a gap in the screen line was generated. The 1st Squadron commander (LTC Robert Wilson) decided to inspect the screen line personally, taking along one M3 and an M113. This command group found a dug-in Iraqi T-72 and quickly dispatched it. Soon it became evident that BMPs and T-72s were behind the 1st Squadron's screen line. Lacking the firepower needed to clear this enemy group, the 2nd Plt of A Troop (2LT Adrian Lowndes) was called in to clear the enemy positions and to re-establish de screen line. More details can be found at "The Road to Safwan", by Bourque and Burdan (pages 151 to 153).

Please keep in mind "loosely based". This scenario is not an historical recreation. Over time, I edited the scenario to get rid of the many difficulties the Troopers of 1-4 US Cav have encountered in real-life. Navigation in an almost featurless desert, with few GPS units, with 1/500,000 maps and at night. How they did it, it escapes my comprehension. To make it up for my scenario's numerous excesses, I situated the action during a moderate sandstorm (low visibility), with no air support and no indirect fires availble for blue. I made the gap in the screen almost 4 km wide. I also reinforced the Iraqis with two plts of T-72s and three plt(-) of BMPs, all deployed in depth with infantry-manned OPs up front. I also gave the Iraqis random start positions and two crude plans of armored counter-attack which are triggered based in the reports by the infantry OPs.

The main purpose of editing and playing this scenario was to learn how to use hunter-killer teams in a hasty attack. M3/M1 hunter-killer teams have been widely used by US Cavalry formations during both Iraq wars. For this scenario, I have an US Cav Plt composed of 6 M3 CFVs and 2 M1 MBTs. I organized this Plt as described in an article that appeared in the Armor magazine, back in 1993.

33ac9xl.jpg

Without further ado, the mission.

2zqfmu9.jpg

The blue units at the north and south extremes of the map, are part of the Squadron's screen line and they are out of my control. The gap between both of them is where enemy presence is supected. The units is at the western extreme of the map are part of my Plt. You will have excuse me in that each of them show Plt symbols and nomenclature. For the purpose of this scenario, they are all just part of the same US Cav Plt. Also, Units 3-A and 2-A have a tank symbol but they are actually composed of 1 M1 MBT and 2 M3 CFVs. This is the first time I use the new mixed units feature of v2.146! :)

The task is to execute a "clear" tactical mission and re-establish the screen line (dotted arrows located at the western edge). The "clear" tactical mission is ussualy executed after very careful planning and is supported with multiple assets. Clearly not the case for this scenario, but I'm claiming METTTC considerations. :)

To be continued ...

The task is to execute a "clear" tactical mission and re-establish the screen line (dotted arrows located at the western edge).

Dont you mean eastern edge

Great job on the lead in and I'm looking forward to this Sce.

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Ey congo, :)

Thanks for the correction. I will edit the original post.

Cheers,

No prob, just thought you would want to know about it. If you need a beta tester just pm me. Do you both live and work in Mogo county?

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Hi congo,

Thanks again. I see this east-west mishap in lots of places now. I'm scrambling to correct them.

Yes, I live in the north of Mogo (Germantown) and work in the south (Bethesda).

I know you are local too, just across the Potomac, right?

Cheers,

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Hi congo,

Thanks again. I see this east-west mishap in lots of places now. I'm scrambling to correct them.

Yes, I live in the north of Mogo (Germantown) and work in the south (Bethesda).

I know you are local too, just across the Potomac, right?

Cheers,

There are some other typos as well if you want me to point them out. I just did it with the east/west thing because I thought it may confuse some with limited english. Im adjacent to Arlington Hall, just out from Ft. Meyer. Retired govt. Whats your line of work?

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Thanks again congo.

Once I finish this (two posts or so), I will go back and correct the typos and grammar.

I guess I shouldn't be posting at night (too tired).

That's a beautiful place where you live.

I'm a basic scientist by training, I work in a biotech.

Cheers,

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this is most excellent el Chacho :biggrin:

the anticipation kills me. oustanding AAR.

Edited by Hackworth

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Thanks Hackworth! :)

It's now around 8:00.

The enemy tanks destroyed, it's time to mop up the remaining BMPs.

Team 3-A slowly creeps forward, with the M3 acting as a "hunter".

2ujp91h.jpg

The "hunter" of team 3-A passes through the scorched remains of two enemy T-72 plts.

Team 4-A (2 M3 CFVs), which has been providing some sort of rear security, is ordered to advance east using the same avenue of approach team 3-A has used earlier.

The tank and one M3 from team 2-A are ordered to move south one kilometer and then pivot east towards the screen line (see map below). The other M3 of team 2-A remains in position providing overwatch.

At around 8:10, team 4-A finds a plt of enemy BMPs near our future screen line. They destroy them with cannon fire.

a2b1wj.jpg

Situation at 8:10

At this point I'm growing worried about vehicle 4/3-A. There is this hill some 400 meters southeast of its position and I don't think that it would be possible for this vehicle to take a peek behind it without getting shot point-blank. I then order team 4-A (2 M3 CFVs) to advance northeast in order to see what's there.

And there was death waiting behind that hill. An M3 CFV from team 4-A is destroyed by an enemy BMP.

2d85r7t.jpg

8:14:25. It's cool to know the exact time at which I screwed up.

2a9e8e9.jpg

One M3 from team 4-A gets it. I still don't know what two inches of dirt saved the vehicle in the forefront from being seen and engaged. Note the bad choice I made for an approach: terrain is almost flat there.

I jump into the remaining M3 of team 4-A (vehicle 4/4-A) and pull it back south in order to approach the enemy position from another angle.

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