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Reconnaissance edge: why the M3 CFV is better as a scout vehicle than an M1 MBT?


El_Chacho
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Hola!

You will have to forgive my ignorance here. It's a bit embarrassing that after spamming the forum with M3/M1 hunter-killer stories I still I don't know the answer to this question.

I'm writing a review of the book Warrior's Rage, specially catered to the Steel Beasts player.

The book is about US Cav. during Operation Desert Storm and the famed Battle of 73 Easting.

A couple of things the book mentions are the "superior gunsights of the M3" compared to the ones of the M1 and "not risking M1 tanks by using them in the scout role" (paraphrasing what the books says, not actual quotes).

Keep in mind the book is talking about equipment back in 1991.

Optics-wise, does the M3 CFV have an edge over the M1 Abrams (back and then)? Is the M3 CFV better than the M1 MBT in the scout role because of the ability to deploy dismounted troopers? What's the edge of the M3 CFV as a scout? Speed? Height?

I've compared the ability of the M3 CFV and the M1 MBT to detect enemy vehicles in SBProPE and both vehicles perform similarly.

Your help is appreciated.

Cheers,

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No, I don't think the optics in the M3 are better than the M1 per se, I just think what makes the M3 a better "scout vehicle" than the M1 is simply cost effectiveness. Also, the GPS on the M3 is probably higher up than the M1's (I don't know that for certain), so it is possible that they can get a better view of the area when looking over a hill by exposing less of the vehicle than an M1 would (and thus remained concealed better?).

Of course there is also the little matter that the M3 can dismount scouts to perform LP/OP duties where as the M1 cannot (it can dismount the loader by himself to do it, but it would then mean that the tank operates at reduced effectiveness while he is gone, unlike the M3 which would not operate at reduced effectiveness while the scouts are dismounted).

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There's much more to the Trunk Monkeys than just OP/LP manning. They get used all the time to check culverts, clear bridges, peek around blind corners or over crests - any time you'd rather expose a single dude rather than the whole vehicle.

This is one thing that I think the Yanks really have right. Our Recce crews are driver, crew commander, gunner, GiB. It should be 2 x GiB so Trunk Monkey has a fire team partner without having to pull the GiB from the other vehicle in the Patrol.

And once you start operating in COIN and need to do 5/20 and cordons all the friggin' time, dismounts become worth their weight in gold.

As far as the FCS/Optics goes, I thought the thermals on a 1991-era M3 were better/higher resolution than of the same era M1 - not so much by design, but because the M3 was a newer vehicle and so got newer tech. I'm hardly an expert on Yank equipment though so you'll get a better answer from the horse's mouth.

DG

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If the U.S. government wanted to, it could fund the manufacture of hundreds of brand new M1 tanks or BFVs starting tomorrow. Weapons are just things. They're not what's important. People are important, especially for a society that does not demand military service. Willing and able twenty-year olds are not things. Soldiers (Marines, Airmen, & Sailors) cannot be manufactured. They must be selected and trained. In regimental cavalry units there was a distinct division of labor. Tankers were trained to kill. Scouts, on the other hand were trained to look.

Although, the more eyes you have the better you see and the bigger your gun the more you can kill, the equipment isn't what ultimately determined how the different platoons in regimental cav units fought. It was the mind set ingrained through the training.

I'd be willing to wager that if you go back and re-read the book, you'd find that "not risking M1 tanks by using them in the scout role" actually meant in context "not risking M1 TANKERS by MISUSING them in the scout role."

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In-game I feel more "safe" scouting in an M1, though. :)

You know this is probably the solution to your question. You shouldn't feel safe while you're scouting. You should be hyper-vigilant.

And you want your killers to be absolutely confident that they can kill anything that crawls or sits on the ground.

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There's much more to the Trunk Monkeys than just OP/LP manning. They get used all the time to check culverts, clear bridges, peek around blind corners or over crests - any time you'd rather expose a single dude rather than the whole vehicle.

This is one thing that I think the Yanks really have right. Our Recce crews are driver, crew commander, gunner, GiB. It should be 2 x GiB so Trunk Monkey has a fire team partner without having to pull the GiB from the other vehicle in the Patrol.

And once you start operating in COIN and need to do 5/20 and cordons all the friggin' time, dismounts become worth their weight in gold.

As far as the FCS/Optics goes, I thought the thermals on a 1991-era M3 were better/higher resolution than of the same era M1 - not so much by design, but because the M3 was a newer vehicle and so got newer tech. I'm hardly an expert on Yank equipment though so you'll get a better answer from the horse's mouth.

DG

Hi DG,

Are you British?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks, Volcano!

In-game I feel more "safe" scouting in an M1, though. :)

Cheers,

I think this is the result of a typical player-focused scenario in Steel Beasts where combat against powerful opposition is inevitable; there is usually a defined time limit of an hour or less, or contact begins fairly quickly once the scenario starts. The events often develop too fast really to deploy scouts and then bring them in again- by that point objectives are already being overrun. Scenarios assume the scouting has already been done for you if you already have a general disposition of the enemy. By this point, your scouts are often just expendable roadblocks, or just being sent into prepared killing zones. In other words, the practical result is the M1 has en edge in scouting because events are so fluid when they shift to direct contact and fighting and slogging it out rather quickly. Also, there is a lot of artillery in Steal Beasts- a few Red troops or vehicles can have a lot more support assigned by the scenario designer than what they might typically expect. Some scenarios can play out as if there is a Soviet Front Commander's choice of artillery regiments wiping out whole grid squares in support of some low level formations. Or there are a few surviving Red troops that keep calling it until killed. So the M1 simply survives better.

It could conceivably different if a scenario instead of designed for combat at the outset were capable of being played over hours or days- and then nothing might happen. That's a lot of time to invest though.

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To amplify what GO said; the 1STVUSC ran a training mission that was all about scouting.

Do it right, and you win. Do it wrong, and you don't.

The mission consisted of dropping off eyes, and having them look at a set of topo features. The eyes were supposed to tell you where the black-hats were. Follow their observations, drop some ICM; all done and go home.

Get too aggressive, and get a lot of virtual people killed.

Was it fun? Sorta. I'm the kind that gets a lot out of killing people from a remove, and reporting back what a stud-muffin I am.

Was it realistic? You betcha! This is how war is supposed to be waged. And for some parallax, we did have to go in and sanitize the area.

Shot

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