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Crusty

Coaxing a bailing crew

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Hello Gents,

I was talking to people about this at ITEC, whether they would or not, or even if you should, I can understand the compasionate view point of letting the crew go, but if you do they will be able to crew another tank,

Putting aside the moral stand point what I'm interested to hear is what Armies actually teach on this subject, if at all,

Kev.

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Well at 2,500+ you are pretty much flat out getting “steel on target” let alone following it up with coax.

Esp. as trace burns out at about 900 - 1200.

We use coax for dismounted infantry and light vehicles.

Sabot / Fin removes the threat, chasing crewman with coax just prolongs that engagement when you should be engaging the next target (they never travel alone).

Edited by Gibsonm

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but if you do they will be able to crew another tank

If you take the size of todays armies into account, no, they won't ;)

Might not even be that much from the truth.. length/speed of conflict, available stocks, chances of recovering and repairing a damaged tank in time..

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In WW2 "both" sides did it straight away, due to the reasons you mentioned in the first place as far as I know.

I guess we have some active tankers here who might know what the drill in such a case is.

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Hello Gents,

I was talking to people about this at ITEC, whether they would or not, or even if you should, I can understand the compasionate view point of letting the crew go, but if you do they will be able to crew another tank,

Putting aside the moral stand point what I'm interested to hear is what Armies actually teach on this subject, if at all,

Kev.

Well if it were me I would engage them and kill the enemy in what ever form they choose to present.

Back in 96, whilst exercising in BATUS Canada, my vehicle was engaged by a law team using DEFWES, the British Armies version of Miles. They scored a mobility kill on my vehicle and the kill cards directed that my gunner and loader were also killed.

I then dismounted from the vehicle with my driver and put in an attack on the LAW team that had taken us out killing both of the team.

Im not sure if in real life I would have been fit to do that but what I do know is that I would being feeling pretty pissed off with the enemy for spoiling my day.

Incidently I do know of a couple of incidents of fratricide during Gulf War 1 where main armament was also backed up with co-ax.

Irish

Edited by IrishHussar

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If the bailing crew doesn't surrender, they are legitimate targets. If armed, and distinguishable as combatants, why spare them. They still are enemy soldiers, after all.

Of course, depending on the circumstances, things may turn out differently. After all, you go for the highest threats first, and a bailing crew is pretty low in the food chain from the perspective of immediate threats. And yes, from a medium-term perspective they actually are high value targets.

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Along a similar line...how would people feel about the same against pilots that have bailed out? Helpless guy in a parachute or high value target?

Note to pilots...do not punch out over a tank battle!

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Along a similar line...how would people feel about the same against pilots that have bailed out? Helpless guy in a parachute or high value target?

Note to pilots...do not punch out over a tank battle!

That’s illegal.

You need to read your Geneva Convention.

Descending parachutists landing in a DZ are OK but not pilots.

Just like you don’t fire on Medics (another arguably HVT).

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There's some interesting replies there gentlemen,

I then presume that in Sb that if we have at some point in time, 3D crew figures implemented, and they have an animation for bailing out, then the AI gunner and commmanders will then engage then if they are in range and there is no other higher priority target at the time.

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There is no "drill" on what to do when an enemy crew bails out. It is left up the vehicle and, most importantly, the guy that is pulling the actual triggers who has to live with himself for the rest of his life. Maybe, just maybe, when you are staring down that gun sight at a terrified tanker bailing out from a burning tank - you spare him, because in the back of your mind he is just like you and you also do not want to be gunned down in cold blood. On the other hand, maybe they just killed your buddy the day before and you do not fell like showing an ounce of mercy.

So the short answer is, it depends on the humanity, or lack there of. WW2 pilots often gunned down parachuting pilots, but many did not because they showed some respect and did not want to suffer the same fate (karma).

On the other hand, not tanker or cavalry man worth his weight will ever bail out unless the vehicle is ablaze. "Death before dismount", so they say.

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There is no "drill" on what to do when an enemy crew bails out. It is left up the vehicle and, most importantly, the guy that is pulling the actual triggers who has to live with himself for the rest of his life.

I think going back to Crustys original question we are starting to discover that the US and the Brits do not seem to have a doctrinal stance on this.

To say its down to the commander on the scene is a bit of a cop out in my opinion.

When he is put before a court and has to justify his actions because his training has some ommissions this is not balanced out by the extra pay and latitude his is given as vehicle commander.

This is an extremely good question that has been posed, especially with the prolification of cameras on the battlefield.

Irish

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My opinion is that if the tank crew who survived an attack and trying to disembark from the tank and find cover to continue the fight and if there is no greater threat in the area then you have no choice but to get involved until there is no risk to your crew and your tank.

It is not necessary to kill them but you can capture them if conditions allow this reaction.

If I were the tank crew which was hit by the enemy, then my first reaction would be to protect the crew, surrender to the enemy is not the first choice and if the conditions and resources permit a reaction then i will engage with the enemy. This kind of reaction makes me automatically a threat to the opponent.

All this is hypothetical, there are too many factors (morale, character, fatigue etc.) which may affect how to respond to actual conditions and depend on which side are looking at.

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When he is put before a court ...

Irish

Well the Americans at least are immune from this threat.

Our drills predate our signing up to the ICC, but the tactical reasoning does have positive judicial effects.

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My opinion is that if the tank crew who survived an attack and trying to disembark from the tank and find cover to continue the fight and if there is no greater threat in the area then you have no choice but to get involved until there is no risk to your crew and your tank.

Sure but two or three men (if the crew in question is that lucky) cowering somewhere with perhaps a side arm between them doesn't really constitute a threat.

Most crews when they bail out, go with what they have and the usual lengthy checklists are ignored.

Its not as if they get off the vehicle with a Javelin CLU and rounds or a MILAN post or whatever.

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Sure but two or three men (if the crew in question is that lucky) cowering somewhere with perhaps a side arm between them doesn't really constitute a threat.

Most crews when they bail out, go with what they have and the usual lengthy checklists are ignored.

Its not as if they get off the vehicle with a Javelin CLU and rounds or a MILAN post or whatever.

It may not be a threat to the tank, but for vehicles and personnel to follow.

As I said this is all hypothetical, you never know how you will react at that time.

Military history has many examples.

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Cooks and clerks are no direct threat either, yet they are combatants in an open war and hence legitimate targets.

Of course, with nearly no formal declaration of war in the past sixty years (yet plenty of conflicts in the meantime), the question remains whether we will actually ever see a war that meets these formal criteria. In all other cases, it's either down to RoE or the enemy may neither be a signatory nor even educated about the Geneva Convention.

Bailed crews may not be a priority threat, but they certainly are legitimate targets. "Having had enough" may be a matter of compassion, but from a strictly military utilitarian point of view I can see no reason why they should be exampted from further engagement just because they just lost their protective shell and are now all soft and helpless. They still are the enemy, they still are combatants; their surrender may be accepted (or not).

The practicality of AFV crews accepting surrender is a wholly different aspect.

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What I find quite funny is that as Tank soldiers we are debating weather to shoot an enemy that untill maybe 2 or three seconds before was doing his best to shooot us. The real funny part is that the artillery would not even be debating this, it just shows that the Artillery really are lower than a snakes gonads.

Irish

P.S.

I have two ex Sergeant Major Instructor Gunnerys Royal Artillery (SMIG)s working in the same office as me. LOL

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I think going back to Crustys original question we are starting to discover that the US and the Brits do not seem to have a doctrinal stance on this.

To say its down to the commander on the scene is a bit of a cop out in my opinion.

When he is put before a court and has to justify his actions because his training has some ommissions this is not balanced out by the extra pay and latitude his is given as vehicle commander.

Well, let me rephrase it this way:

There is no official text in a book saying what should and should not be done in this case nor in the case of many other specific events. Many things are left up to judgement as they should be, you shouldn't have to consult some 100 volume tome of conduct that covers every situation; everyone knows what is right and what is wrong at the basic level - it is human instinct. This is where things like Army Values and morals come into play.

Me personally, as a tank commander, I probably would not order my gunner to do such a thing because he better be scanning for actual targets of threat and not wasting attention, time and bullets on insignificant things. He may as well be shooting at rabbits, deer or cattle walking across the battlefield than to shoot at a man that probably is only carrying a pistol. Follow on forces can figure out what to do with them as we pass them by since they have nothing better to do. A lesser reason would be because I may have respect for enemy tankers. Silly chivalry perhaps. Maybe not, as I said, you have to live with yourself so do whatever you are comfortable with living with and I probably wouldn't be very comfortable with that. On the other hand, as I said, maybe an enemy tank just killed my buddy the day before and gunned them down as they bailed out and I may go out of my way to exact revenge. Maybe the guy bailing out of the tank is on fire and I quickly order him to be gunned down as an act of mercy. Whether mercy is given depends on the feeling of the man on the spot. Someone may give mercy and perhaps a follow on vehicle guns them down to the man. Maybe the crew jumps out with hands raised and you feel like you are committing murder if you gun them down. This is not really something that can be debated in a forum as we sit at our computer desk. I can say this however: if you are a crew bailing out of a vehicle then you can pretty much expect that you will probably die (anything other than that would be a miracle), so you may as well stay in the vehicle and die with some dignity.

On the other hand, having also been a gunner, in the US Army the tank commander may tell me what to do and I will do what I think is right because I AM PULLING THE TRIGGER. I may say no, I will not open fire on the bus full of people, or that tank crew running for their lives, or that heat signature in the woods that I have a strong feeling might be friendly infantry, and tell him he has to pull the trigger himself. If that gets me in trouble, then so be it - this is what was drilled into me on how to think. You are taught to exercise your own judgement and following every order given may not be the right thing to do. However, you are also told that if you choose not to follow an order then you *better damn well make sure you are making the right decision* because your rank and career will likely depend on it.

Then again, this is the problem in the army today with many youngens coming up, they think that they receive an order and that means they are free of any moral or legal consequence if they carry out an unlawful order. This is not the case and the mindset exists because weak leaders are not teaching them properly. We are not mindless drones and you will be held accountable for your own actions. So nothing mentioned here is a cop out, and the US Army does hold you accountable regardless of rank, because we stress exercising judgement at all levels. Naturally the leader will suffer greater punishment because he is supposed to be an example however, and I agree with that, but the lower ranks are not free of responsibility of their own actions just because "someone told me to do it".

But to answer the original question: Do you gun down bailing out enemy crew members? You do what you think and feel is right at that exact moment.

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Hi Volcano

I understand exactly where you are comming from but I fundamentally disagree with your argument.

In my opinion it would be wrong to send soldiers into battle with a set of vague rules of engagement.

In this particular point of discussion as wether to engage a crew bailing out or not, the crew should have a default drill which may be overidden by the commander at the scene.

Emotion should not take control, nor should the soldier be thinking "if I do this maybe I will be in trouble later on". Killing people is bad enough without having to cope with moral indecision.

If I gave a fireorder to my crew and the gunner refused to carry this out, first thing I would do is take over the shoot and finnish the engagement. Second would be to replace that crewman.

Irish

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Well, of course you should have rules of engagement, I never suggested otherwise. However, you cannot have a rule of engagement for every case and instance, that would be impractical, very bureaucratic, and extremely overbearing on your men. This is the cause of many problems today because we saddle the men with so much ROE trying to micromanage every decision that they end up being too afraid to do anything at all. On the other hand, do you have an SOP for every occasion? Perhaps, there is nothing wrong with that but an SOP is just that, a procedure. Whether you choose to fill the the heads with SOPs about insignificant things or important things is up to judgement.

As has been said, the enemy bailing out crew is a combatant, and a legal target yes, but you can exercise your own humanity and civility as you see fit. That is all I am saying. Trying to make anything more out of that is just plain silly.

If I gave a fireorder to my crew and the gunner refused to carry this out, first thing I would do is take over the shoot and finnish the engagement. Second would be to replace that crewman.

That may be, and the third thing you might get is a pistol bullet to the back of the head from your own crew in a 3:1 mutiny "he stuck his head out of the hatch and caught a bullet". Good leadership is complicated. Maybe I am misunderstanding the point, but from what you describe, the US Army is very different from the British Army. I am thankful for that *if* it means we are unique in teaching the use of judgement to subordinates (for the sole reason that judgement goes hand in hand with initiative).

I have said my fill - nothing follows.

Edited by Volcano
clarification

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Last point from me

I agree with you that you cant mandate for all ocaisions, but the original post was very specific in his question.

I do believe, specifically in this case, at least in the Brittish Army, it is too vague, and therefore opens it up to the interpretation of individuals at a time when not only is time the essence but also human life is at stake .

Irish

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My 2ct:

Yes, you may show humanity to a dismounting crew. But show some compassion to your fellow infantry men who may have to traverse the terrain on foot, and get shoot in the back by roaming tank crews.

If they bail out...hands raised or wavin a white rag, take them in.

If they move for cover, they are just changing position ==> waste them, they are still in the fight

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My 2ct:

Yes, you may show humanity to a dismounting crew. But show some compassion to your fellow infantry men who may have to traverse the terrain on foot, and get shoot in the back by roaming tank crews.

If they bail out...hands raised or wavin a white rag, take them in.

If they move for cover, they are just changing position ==> waste them, they are still in the fight

As a former infantry soldier I was also trained being part of a small anti tank squad, with the task to attack a single tank in the woods which has been isolated from their infantry. So we had G36s (one of them with a grenade launcher), two PzFst 3 rocket launcher, a MG3 machine gun.

But our best weapon to disable the tank was the moment of surprise.

So we hide out behind an earth wall, and when the tank showed up the two PzFst 3 fired the tank up, either the sides of the glacis plate or the tracks or its rear. The MG 3 fired on its sight system to blind it. When the tank crew was about to bail out we wasted them with the grenade launcher and the G36s.

So in the infantry we were always killing the crew, but I also understand that the crew would be a minor thread to MBTs and I don't know what our tankers are supposed to do in such situation.

Edited by Beetz

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As a former infantry soldier I was also trained being part of a small anti tank squad, with the task to attack a single tank in the woods which has been isolated from their infantry. So we had G36s (one of them with a grenade launcher), two PzFst 3 rocket launcher, a MG3 machine gun.

But our best weapon to disable the tank was the moment of surprise.

So we hide out behind an earth wall, and when the tank showed up the two PzFst 3 fired the tank up, either the sides of the glacis plate or the tracks or his rear. The MG 3 fired on its sight system to blind it. When the tank crew was about to bail out we wasted them with the grenade launcher and the G36s.

So in the infantry we were always killing the crew, but I also understand that the crew would be a minor thread to MBTs and I don't know what our tankers are supposed to do in such situation.

Well, with AGDUS you still have the luxury of knowing that you AND your OPFOR are alive at ENDEX :-P

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Well, with AGDUS you still have the luxury of knowing that you AND your OPFOR are alive at ENDEX :-P

:) That's true, in a real combat situation it needs some tough guys to come to the decision to attack a tank on their own.

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