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Any tips on knife fights in an M1A1?


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In this case, I mean tank vs tank.

What's the fastest way to get your gun traversed and shoot? TC unbuttoned slewing the gun and firing based on point blank aiming? (I've tried that, but occassionally have had trouble with the elevation being way off.)

Trying to get the gunner to ID and shoot? My experience is that the AI gunner and AI TC can be dissappointing at close range. The gunner just doesn't move fast enough I find as the TC. And when I am the gunner, the d*m TC starts slewing the gun back and forth in a panic making my aim impossible. (I know I should try the T key.)

But still is it better to just jump into the gunner's seat? Or should you as the TC jump to the F2-GPS view override and take the shot yourself?

Finally, where to put that critical first round? I assume you want to put it into the turret. If you kill the gun, then the tracks don't mean squat. However, if you immobilize the target, but he can still traverse he is likely to get his first shot off before you are fire your second.

One more thing ... if you are expecting this kind of fight, then do you want HEAT or Sabot? I thought HEAT is primarily for long range shots as the kinetic rounds lose their punch ... also a long range HEAT shot has a better chance of hitting a hull down target due to higher parabolic trajectory. But going back to the knife fight ... are you at risk of a Sabot round punching straight through without incapacitating the target whereas HEAT, you are going to roast everyone inside the target?

Thanks for your expertise on this matter.

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If its really a knife fight, fire whatever is in the tube at the center mass of the target. Turret ring preferably, but it doesnt matter nearly as much as getting in the first shot. You may not be alive to return fire.

As for how to get the turret slewed around faster, I dont know. If you figure something out, let us know. Best method Ive found is to go external view, order the turret slewed in the general direction and then get in the gunners seat and do the rest.

mog

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I use Sabot if the target is likely to be moving, is at long range and exposed, or is in/behind woods. HEAT is good for plinking stationary targets in defilade, and is more effective against light armour or infantry, HESH and HE-T (for the 105 and Swedish/Spanish 120mm Leopards) are even more useful against long range hull-down/turret-down targets, but are even worse against movers.

When expecting close contact I will take the shot if I'm in the sight when it comes into view, regardless if I am TC or Gunner - As TC I'll hand over to the AI or human gunner for re-engagement, but I find this quicker than fumbling with override and handoff prior to the first shot.

My choice of aimpoint varies depending on range and target/ammunition. At 1000+m I will always aim for centre of mass (which usually corresponds to the turret ring mid point, and small deviations will typically strike the weakened zones/gun/driver position etc).

At closer ranges I will select the centre of the flanks if visible, or if only frontal aspect is offered - the weakened zones near the mantlet, the turret roof ahead of the commander or the lower hull front by preference, as these areas are large enough to hit from 200-500m, and have much lower protection, as well as good lethality on a successful perforation. The glacis and turret front are much better protected, but a shot down into the glacis is generally fairly good as an option. Shots from the rear are better aimed into the flank of the fighting compartment/turret rear, rather than through the engine.

If possible fire one shot and displace, you can reappear on the same fold of ground but a few metres offset, which gives you a much better chance of getting hits with low risk.

Don't rely on obliquity to keep your hull-side safe, if he can see it, he can probably punch through with relative ease - you need to get the hull-front as close to the main threat, and minimise exposure to other shooters.

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What is often overlooked is the necessity at close ranges to aim lower if battlesight is activated, as well as the necessity to check the GAS for barrel clearance if the target happens to emerge from behind a hill and/or emplacement.

Remember that when you can see the barrel, it still can see only the top of your turret, so you have a second more before you must squeeze off. Use that time for a GAS check.

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Another tactic that I find relatively useful when being surprised is to hit E (unless I have to move quick for some cover), Backspace for battlesight, and then Shift+Arrow up to get the gunner lined up without having to fumble with override controls while the turret is still facing the wrong direction. While driver and gunner are doing their thing I can then take over as the commander with relative ease if the gunner doesn't respond with "Identified", e.g. by putting the peri in ZÜ mode first, then in KH or KW to override (or to use the GPSE right away in the M1)... or hop straight into the gunner's position and go for the target in the GAS (which gives you a bigger field of view anyway).

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Best way to fight a knife fight is - not to run into one.

The T-80s cannon rounds are inferior to Western designs. The T-80 in the sim fires at maximum ranges of 3300 m. However, the T80 also fires this very nasty tank killer, the Refleks ATGM - at ranges of up to 5000m. The good news is that it travels relatively slowly and can be dodged (if you see it coming). If you see that T80 firing and you know he is more than 3300 meters away, you also know what is coming your way. Since it gets fired through the gun tube, it must be a small missile - neverthelss it'S devastating armour defeating power is surprising. I think of it as a (much bigger) TOW2. Getting hit by a Refleks always means major damage or destruction, it seems, I have never had a Refleks hit without suffering at least major damage, I believe to remember. I hate these slimey little bastards.

In the sim, western tanks can fire SABOTs at up to 4000m, AI gunners do not fire on their own at ranges in excess of that range. Manually, you can eventually hit even at greater distances. If that hit pentrates a T-80s armour is something different. with HEAT it becomes even more difficult, due to the steeper ballistic travelling arch. (However, the Israelis managed to fire tank HEATs at ranges of around 12 or 13 km, with superelevated guns...)

So you do not want to engage the enemy at ranges between 5000 and 3300 meters, to avoid those Refleks shots. You also know that the advantage of your Western gun and ammo becomes smaller the closer to "knife fight" the distance is, let'S give that threshold criterion a number of 1500 meters. Let'S add some security space, and then you got a range that you should consider to be your favourite fighting distance something between 3300 and 2000 (1500 meters). If the enemy moves away and you loose that firing range at the upper end, follow him. If the enemy approaches and the distances becomes short than 1800, 1700 m - consider getting out of there in reverse.

I plan and fight my SBP missions always like this, whenever possible. Remember, at short ranges, tank guns win overkill capacity over ANY kind of armour there is, the closer the distance, the more the Russian gun's destructability matches that of your own, by accepting that you accept to give away the advantages of your better armour and better gun and ammo quality. And there is no compensation you get - you just give it away for free. Avoid fighting at long and short distances - the medium distance is your preferrence.

Knife fight means that something went wrong before. If there is a way out, do not stay to fight it with random chance becoming a relevant factor - reduce the influence of luck by refuzsing the fight and getting out. It's better to save your tank/unit and come back for another fight later on - at your conditions.

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Which ignores the realities of landform and ground cover... Western European terrain may frequently limit visibility ranges to less than 500m in many directions, while allowing very long views over a limited arc (generally to or from high ground). There is much dead ground, and it is not uncommon for there to be covered approaches to well within the ranges you quote as minimums.

In Finland and Sweden (heavily forested, marshy and flat), the suitable approaches, and engagement ranges may be only a very few 100m significantly often.

Even in 'open' desert, it only takes a +/- 1.5m undulation to completely conceal a tank sized object, when viewed from the 'same' level, and it is not at all unheard of for engagements to begin at less than 1km and close to only 100s of metres.

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True, that'S why I said "where possible". Also, I believe the maximum viewing range in the SBP world is not 5000 but just 4500 m, or am I wrong there?

IMO sending tanks into a fight over just some 100 m is insane and accepts if not often provokes own losses from the beginning. In the sim I try to find alternatives for that (lighter vehicles, infantry, artillery, air assets) and at least play my tanks extremely defensively, letting the other side moving towards me instead of me moving to him.

Whether the sim maybe allows for playing tactics that in the real world would not function, I do not judge (although I'm sure that it is like that when I see how I play and win huge batallion sized scenarios in long sessions without even loosing one tank, if I play well and have a little luck).

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One other interesting aspect of close encounters of the fourth kind from the TC perspective is how close is the monitored modeled FOV compared to real human FOV. Additionally, humans have FOV and peripheral vision.

I would assume the FCS modeling is very close to the real thing, since that was the initial core upon which SB was built.

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One other interesting aspect of close encounters of the fourth kind from the TC perspective is how close is the monitored modeled FOV compared to real human FOV. Additionally, humans have FOV and peripheral vision.

I would assume the FCS modeling is very close to the real thing, since that was the initial core upon which SB was built.

If I remember correctly the FOV in the TC position is much narrower than in real life. ESim allows the use of the F8 external view in game as a compromise for the limitations of FOV for the TC.

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Interesting. I hadn't considered F8 as a FOV compromise, since F8 let's the tank go total auto-pilot. I usually hit F8-F5 to go to the map, since I don't want to hear the gunner shout "Tank" while I have my pants down and hitting the space key doesn't do anything! :)

I recall years ago when I used to fly flight sims, one of them allow for a zoom in/zoom out which drastically altered the FOV of view. The wide angle was nice. Another provided little screen edge icons for planes which were in the area of your peripheral vision.

This brings me to another question ... (I know so little about tanks) ... how does the driver maintain a formation when the everyone goes buttoned? How did they do it in WWII? (I assume that visibility was even less.)

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Knife figthing in a M1A1, from the TC position is pretty difficult.

Here is what I do.

As soon as I spot and identify the target I overide slew the gun in the general direction as I am doing that I drop down in the hatch and hit F2 and go to the gunners extension, line up roughly on target, fire whats in the breech and reload with the correct round.

This is IF I see that the targets gun is away from me. If it is facing me, I pop smoke, and reverse in another direction.

To answer the question about the formations...

Its the responcebilty of the other drivers in the formation to maintain their place in said formation. Most drivers I have talked to have different tricks. Some use the drivers view blocks, which are roughly 45deg FOV to keep formation. They would put the lead vehicle at the edge of the view block and keep it there. Ultimately its also the job of the TC to keep the track in formation, and scan for targets and other possible dangers.

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I spent hour after hour on the old SB1 'artillery' scenario (no gunner), and seldom called a single fire mission... instead shredding the target column with direct fires from the commander GPSE.

Crusty can confirm this habit of 'taking the shot' still exists with the Leopard, even with the tricky to use thumb pad. (As well as telling my TC what I want to do :biggrin: when relegated to the gunner seat)...

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...This brings me to another question ... (I know so little about tanks) ... how does the driver maintain a formation when the everyone goes buttoned? How did they do it in WWII? (I assume that visibility was even less.)

The TC would give guidance commands to the driver. If he is buttoned up he would be using the periscopes or the open protected position of the hatch.

Mog

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I assumed he was. I run this scenario sometimes, and always play it very mobile. Usually around 1/3 of the shots I take are around 1.5-2km into flanks/rear, and the remainder are at <500m usually also into flank, although shots into the frontal armour at these ranges is often lethal, especially if you have that 'beat' to relay the tube to compensate for the gun-sight offset.

I aim to finish all 9 tanks on the ready rack ammunition, but this isn't always possible, so I optionally top off the rack at the head of the right hand valley before returning to the start and clearing the left side. (I might not bother if I have 6+ kills by that time and still more than 6 rounds left, but there is always that 1 T80 that just won't die nicely... and it never hurts to be prepared). :biggrin:

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That's the scenario.

I have been improving at my close range engagements. I just took out 5 at really close range.

I use routes so that I don't have to worry about navigating through the the trees. I travel slow. I pause periodically to listen. If I hear something, I then try to wait it out and see if I can get a target crossing my path.

I listen trying to localize the target. When I think I have its rough location I rotate the front of the hull to face in that direction. This should improve the gunners chance of getting a spotting.

Then, I either wait until I get a crack of a sighting and jump into the gunners seat or I go to the gunners seat and start scanning in TIS low mag. I find that I do better tracking a barely visible target or taking a shot based on a rough silouette which the AI gunner seems to have problems with. Also, the AI TC seems to do a fairly decent job of getting the turret lined up quickly.

Generally, the enemy tanks when hit so close are dead on the first shot. There was one I failed to kill on the first shot and its turret was coming around. Foretunately, as soon as the second round came up, I put one in his turrent before he could return fire.

I think part of the secret of knife fighting is to not stumble into the enemy. But to have him stumble in to you. So, as soon as you can hear him stop and lay in wait. Just getting any kind of a glimpse is all you need. Unlike the AI, you can infer his rate of motion and direction even if he drops out of view. You can shoot him even if he is only 15% visible if you get clear LOS. After shooting, then beat a hasty retreat away from his smoking hulk.

Now, what has gotten me killed recently is that the woods provide decent cover unless someone knows you are there already or is just looking lucking. There is no wooded section on that map where a tank is not visible faintly via TIS. I have been killed by some more distant tanks that just happened to pick me up in the woods. I never say them. On the AAR, I was pretty much invisible to in the plain scope, but had cracks of glowing heat in TIS between the trees. Enough to find me center mass and boom.

PS: I am tempted to to back and play the scenario in SB1. I don't recall so many enemy tanks cruising the woods. I think perhaps the remake of the scenario has been tweaked.

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I use the mass of the central spine to protect against all but infrequent long shots, or very, very close approach over the near military crest. With minimal pausing at each BP (just sufficient to sweep the EA twice, once in daysight, and once in thermal), and the turret over the most serious threat arc (normally forwards and 'across' the valley, but between positions marked BP2 and WP3 for example this would be the rear left.

Movements are planned as 'engage', but movement rate pushed to top when crossing exposed areas, or when considered a good idea. The only significant halts made are when re-filling the ready racks, usually in the top section of the valley.

The secondary route over the central crest is a fairly safe route, which can be used to chase down a threat last seen crossing the central ridge. There is no good safe onward route from the excellent BP marked though, so I tend to recross and continue on the main route.

The direction each enemy takes is randomised, so the manoeuvre scheme is frequently disrupted or modified, especially once at the head of the valley - engaged targets have varied between 4 and 7 by the time to plot an onward route arrives, and in this case I do sometimes cross directly into the left valley.

If you can ever see more than one threat position (ignoring the infrequent two threat vehicles in one place) then you have made an error in selection of BP or movement route.

When moving, successful engagements and then moving through the target area with minimal delay keeps the rear reasonably clear. Slow and cautious movements ensures that you never know where the enemy isn't, beyond what you can currently see.

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SS_11_15_37pln.jpg.0969abfc7c380749569f7

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