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Panzer_Leader

US Amoured Cavalry TOE and employment?

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Hi Gents

I’m interested in modifying some existing scenarios to experiment with units using the US Armoured Cavalry’s TOE. I understand a US cavalry troop consists of 9x M1 Abrams and 13x M3 Bradleys plus 2x M125/M106 mortar carriers. However, I have a few questions I’m hoping you can help with:

  1. Are there any other vehicles organic to the armoured cavalry troop? I understand there may be a maintenance section with an M88 and M113.
  2. How are the 2x platoons of 6x M3 Bradleys employed versus the 2x platoons of 4x M1 Abrams? In very simple terms I’m assuming the M3s are out front in advance and then behind or to the flanks of the M1s during assault or defence?
  3. Do the 2x platoons of 6x M3 Bradleys split into three sections of 2x or two sections of 3x?
  4. Generally, how would the missions and employment of a cavalry troop differ to a tank and mechanised infantry company team? I’m assuming the cavalry troop’s lack of infantry (other than scouts) makes it less suitable for holding ground in defence but better for screening flanks for example?

I do intend to read FM17-95 at some point but, as I’m still working through the more fundamental FM17-15, I apologise for the laundry list of questions. Any other insights on US armoured cavalry employment versus “standard” tank and mechanised infantry company teams would be gratefully received.

Thanks

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The first issue / challenge is to set a timeframe as ACR structures seem to change with the wind.

Once you specify a time period, then you can get the structure and then you can work out the TTPs.

Overal though I'd suggest that the closet things ACRs do to DEFOPs is impose delay. I'd suggest it would be unlikely you'd see them attempting to hold ground in a deliberate defence unless augmented.

If you are after a Fulda Gap type scenario then 11 ACR is who you need to read up on as far as a real unit that used SB Pro PE equipments. 14 ACR was there pre '72 but hard to fight battles in that timeframe in SB Pro PE.

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The first issue / challenge is to set a timeframe as ACR structures seem to change with the wind.

Once you specify a time period, then you can get the structure and then you can work out the TTPs.

Thanks. I'm looking at the period when the M1A1 was the principal main battle tank of the ACRs so I'm guessing that's 1990s to early 2000s.

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HQ platoon for a heavy troop is:

1 M1 (Co)

1 M577 or M3 (Xo)

1 M88

2 mortar tracks

1 FIST-V

1 M113 (maintenance)

2 M998 HMMWV

2 2-1/2 ton trucks

1 2-1/2 ton wrecker

1 (sometimes 2) M113 Medic track(s) (attached)

1 Vulcan ADV or Bradley Linebacker (attached)

Secondly, the troop normally operates as two sections with 1 scout and 1 tank platoon each. During recon missions the tanks typically position themselves one terrain feature behind the scouts and provide overwatch, generally 500m-1km back.

Third, the scout platoons split according to the situation and the amount of area that has to be covered. Two three vehicle sections provide better C and C, and are best used for route recons and movements to contact while two three vehicle sections can cover a larger frontage and are preferred for screening and zone or area recons. Tank platoons will break into sections as appropriate to support their scouts.

Lastly, heavy cavalry's primary roles are armed reconnaissance and screening, but are fully capable of conventional offensive operations, particularly raids and flanking attacks for larger organizations. Your supposition on the defense is correct about holding ground, but few other forces are as adept at economy of force/delaying actions.

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Thanks for the very detailed and helpful response MAJ_Fubar.

Out of curiosity, what are the M998 HMMWVs used for in this TOE primarily: liaison / light transport, second-line scouting, protection of CSS elements etc?

I've always wondered how to employ the HMMWV in SB Pro PE "correctly".

Thanks again.

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The HMMWVs serve in a strictly administrative role, one for the Co to run around in, so eliminating the need to drag his tank around everywhere, and one for the First Sergeant to run the logistics piece from the field trains. Because they're unarmored, they're impractical for most other roles, but in a few instances I've seen them pressed into service as an ad hoc scout section, particularly for leader's recons, and once for an imaginatively planned, and surprisingly successful, quick armed raid...but that stuff is well beyond their normal uses.

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When i was in 2nd ACR and 3rd ACR, 87-89, 89 - 92, And I believe still holds true today as that has never changed as far as I know, 1st and 3rd platoons were the scouts, 2nd and 4th platoon were the tankers. 2nd platoon supported first platoon, and 4th platoon supported 3rd platoon.. As far as section wise, it depended on the mission we were doing, ometimes we split into two three vehicle sections, and sometimes 3 two vehicle sections.

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This is what I'm going to use for the first part of my scenario/campaign "Battle for Hünfeld":

1st Cavalry Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Headquarters and Headquarters Troop

HQ Section: 2 x M3A2

2 x Command Element (represent Troop CO and XO) (2 men)

Recovery Platoon: 3 x M88A1 MRV

A (Apache) Cavalry Troop:

HQ Section: 1 x M1A1 (HA)

1 x M3A2

Support Platoon: 2 x M113 Repair

2 x M113 Medic

1st Scout Platoon:

1st Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

2nd Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

3rd Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

1st Tank Platoon: 4 x M1A1 (HA)

2nd Scout Platoon:

1st Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

2nd Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

3rd Squad,

2 x M3A2

2 x Scout Team (2 men)

2nd Tank Platoon: 4 x M1A1 (HA)

Mortar Section: 2 x M106 4.2 mortars

B (Blackfeet) Cavalry Troop:

(Same as A Troop)

C (Comanche) Cavalry Troop:

(Same as A Troop)

D (Dakota) Tank Company:

HQ Section: 2 x M1A1 (HA)

1 x M113 Repair

1 x AVLB

1 x M88A1 MRV

1st Platoon: 4 x M1A1 (HA)

2nd Platoon: 4 x M1A1 (HA)

3rd Platoon: 4 x M1A1 (HA)

Field Artillery Troop:

Still trying to figure what and how many tubes for the arty.

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Field Artillery Troop:

Still trying to figure what and how many tubes for the arty.

According to 'Tom Clancy's Armoured Warfare: A Guided Tour of an Armoured Cavalry Regiment', 1994, the artillery battery of 1st Cavalry Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, consisted of 8x M109s. I imagine the TOE for 11 ACR was the same.

Looking forward to the scenario.

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There is a set of scenarios included in Prosimco's Armored Task Force with the 11th ACR in the Rasdorf-Huenfeld area. The designer is an artillery officer and the game models the artillery in some detail.

I've got that game, will have to take a look at the OOB that was used.

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Thanks for the very insightful responses guys. I certainly feel a lot more comfortable with the TOE of an ACR now.

One more question, this time about the TOE of a US mechanized infantry company. Is it basically the same as a tank company with the M2 Bradley replacing the M1 Abrams? If this is the case, does the maintenance section also include an M88 “heavy recovery vehicle” as outlined in FM17-15, page 6? Finally, I read at GlobalSecurity.org (see http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/toe/07247L200.htm) that the TOE may include an “Antiarmour section” comprising 2x M901 ITVs. Is this a standard inclusion in the TOE of the US mechanized infantry company?

Thanks again for your help.

Cheers

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No, now if I remember, 3 plts each with 4 x M2s, support plt of maintenace, medical and fire support.

E Company has 2 anti-armor plt, which has 6 x M901s each. Which is broken down to 2 x per Company with the last 4 x M901s control by Bn HQs. It also depends on the BN commander who may wants to keep all of the M901 under his control.

Mech company does not have an M88 assign to it.

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Back in my days there was a thing called M578 "Cherry Picker" recover vehicle to recover M113s and to a lesser fact M2A1s and they were assign to the BN Headquarters Maintenance section, not to a company.

Now you need an M88 to recover everything due to the weight of all the IFVs.

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For what it’s worth I think I’ve found the doctrinal basis for the composition and use of the company team combat train on page 366 of FM71-1 ‘Tank and Mechanized Company Team’ where it states:

“The most forward CSS element is the company team combat trains, which provide vehicle recovery, medical aid, and maintenance services. The 1SG normally positions the trains and directly supervises CSS operations. The trains normally operate 500 to 1,000 meters (or one terrain feature) to the rear of the company team. (NOTE: METT-TC factors ultimately dictate the actual distance.) This gives the team virtually immediate access to essential CSS functions while allowing the trains to remain in a covered and concealed position behind the FLOT. The company team combat trains normally include the following vehicles, with corresponding crews:

• The M88A1 recovery vehicle.

• The maintenance M113.

• The 1SG’s M113.

• The medic’s M113.

• The commander’s and 1SG’s HMMWVs.”

This confirms, as previously stated by MAJ_Fubar, that the HMMWVs are not used for scouting and that the M88 appears to be standard for both tank and mechanized infantry company teams (or at least this document makes no distinction), even if it’s not organic to the mechanized infantry company.

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.... and that the M88 appears to be standard for both tank and mechanized infantry company teams (or at least this document makes no distinction), even if it’s not organic to the mechanized infantry company.

Probably because by definition a "Team" is a mix of Tk and Mech.

Pure Tk is a Tk Coy (in US naming) and

Pure Mech is a Mech Coy (in US naming) and

So anything that has Tks attached needs a suitable recovery asset.

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Exactly, prior to the Force XXI model the few M88s in 'mech units were retained at Battalion and "pushed" where needed, tank companies attached to 'mech battalions were expected to bring their own assets with them. With Force XXI, all recovery and maintenance assets were pulled into the Forward Support Battalions then pushed down to the line battalions via the FSCs. Functionally, the system remains the same as Panzer_Leader found in 71-1, but now the maintenance personnel answer to the FSC commander, rather than the line Battalion and Company COs.

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Exactly, prior to the Force XXI model the few M88s in 'mech units were retained at Battalion and "pushed" where needed, tank companies attached to 'mech battalions were expected to bring their own assets with them. With Force XXI, all recovery and maintenance assets were pulled into the Forward Support Battalions then pushed down to the line battalions via the FSCs. Functionally, the system remains the same as Panzer_Leader found in 71-1, but now the maintenance personnel answer to the FSC commander, rather than the line Battalion and Company COs.

Yep correct Maj_Fubar, Panzer Leader, take a look at FM 71-123 Tactics and Techniques for Combined Arms Heavy Forces: Armored Brigade, Battalion Task Force, and Company Team its located at the download section, library FMs.

GaryOwen brought it to my attention and it has allot of good information.

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Panzer Leader, take a look at FM 71-123 Tactics and Techniques for Combined Arms Heavy Forces: Armored Brigade, Battalion Task Force, and Company Team its located at the download section, library FMs.

GaryOwen brought it to my attention and it has allot of good information.

Thanks for the tip JohnO. I'll definitely download it and take a look at it.

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Apologies for resurrecting a dead and buried thread but playing some scenarios recently, including yesterday’s Long Night of Tanks, with the M1A0 has revived my interest in that tank. To help create or adapt some scenarios to reflect an ACR Troop equipped with the M1A0 I’d like to understand when this tank was replaced by the IPM1 or M1A1 in the ACR TO&E, specifically the Germany-based 11 ACR if possible?

Thanks

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We researched this in preparation for the Red Tide campaign and found that it was very hard to figure out who was equipped with what and when a unit changed to a different version. The M-1IP had a pretty narrow term of service between the M-1 and the M-1A1. Most units in Germany had the M-1A1 by the later half of the 80s and those that didn't, got them in the build up to Desert Storm I think. It seems to me the best way to find out when a unit got M-1A1s is to find someone that was there when it happened and ask them.

The manual for ACRs and ACR squadrons for that era is FM 17-95-10

Edit: I found a couple of units timeline for getting M1A1s: 3rd Inf Div 1987, and 3rd ACR 1986.

HTH

Mog

Edited by Mogwa

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Panzer Leader - When I got to Germany in November '88, my unit (2-32 AR/3rd AD) had just completed NET Gunnery on the M1A1 and had turned in their M1IPs around July-August of that year. And please note that we were the last battalion in the brigade to transition.

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Thanks guys. It’s definitely difficult to pin down exactly when the M1A1 replaced the M1/IPM1 in unit inventories. The M1 Abrams Wikipedia page shows an M1 of the 11th ACR at Grafenwohr in 1986 so replacement must have taken place after this. Until I find something more concrete I’ll assume the M1A1 could have entered service in the 11th ACR from 1987 onwards. Certainly it doesn’t seem like it would have been any later than late 1988 based on MAJ_Fubar’s experience.

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Thanks guys. It’s definitely difficult to pin down exactly when the M1A1 replaced the M1/IPM1 in unit inventories. The M1 Abrams Wikipedia page shows an M1 of the 11th ACR at Grafenwohr in 1986 so replacement must have taken place after this. Until I find something more concrete I’ll assume the M1A1 could have entered service in the 11th ACR from 1987 onwards. Certainly it doesn’t seem like it would have been any later than late 1988 based on MAJ_Fubar’s experience.

I think your assumption is correct. It would make the most sense to have the "latest and greatest" equipment in the 11th ACR, versus a CONUS-based unit. 11 ACR was literally "guarding freedom's frontier," they would need all the help they could get, in the event the Cold War turned hot. A few tank battalions deploying from the US into Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield were M1 equipped, not M1A1, but were upgraded prior to the start of the ground phase of Desert Storm. As others have stated, creating historically accurate OOBs in SB (or any other sim/wargame) are difficult, due to a constant state of flux of unit TOEs, both past and present. Actual members of the units in question would be a great benefit to building an accurate OOB, as long as there isn't any OPSEC being compromised.

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