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Panzer_Leader

German Reconnaissance Battalion c.1989

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Hi Guys

I’ve been focused on using the Leopard 1 A5-DK since the update due to the beautiful interior and exterior artwork and the fact that its light armour and relatively light main armament makes me concentrate on correct use of tactics to achieve mission objectives (rather than sitting there and taking a beating in an M1A1 (HA) for example). It’s amazing what the Leopard 1A5 is actually capable of when employed “properly”.

Anyway, that’s made me play around with different organisations which utilised the Leopard 1A5. I’m now interested in German reconnaissance battalions of the late 1980s and found a description of their TO&E here: http://www.microarmormayhem.com/BW_OOB.pdf (see page 51 for Panzeraufklärungsbattalion 1). Based on the TO&E here I’m interested in understanding a few things:

i. The organisation of the 7x Leopard 1s and 8x Luchs in the 4th company: I’m assuming the 7x Leopards are organised as 1x command tank and two platoons of 3x tanks. Are the 8x Luchs organised as two platoons of 4x armoured cars or four sections of 2x armoured cars, or perhaps interchangeably as the situation demands?

ii. The organisation of the 5th company: I’m assuming the 10x Fuchs are organised as 1x command APC and three platoons of 3x Fuchs. As for the allocation of the 3x Milan I’m assuming one Milan squad per platoon or are three allocated to a single anti-tank platoon?

Overall, the organisation of the German reconnaissance battalion seems quite tank heavy with 30x Leopard 1s allocated versus 10x Luchs armoured cars (which I can represent using the ASLAV-25). I’m assuming the reconnaissance battalion is organised to fight quite hard for information if required? Its combat power doesn’t appear significantly less than that of a line panzer battalion of the time equipped with 41x Leopard 2A4s and it has increased flexibility with the infantry of its 5th company.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to replicating this organisation in Steel Beasts and taking a look at the new Fuchs in action at the same time.

Cheers

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Working from memory here, and I don't want to plant disinformation, so I'll answer only those parts about which I'm reasonably certain...:

Are the 8x Luchs organised as two platoons of 4x armoured cars or four sections of 2x armoured cars, or perhaps interchangeably as the situation demands?

While doing reconnaissance, they always operated in pairs (though technically they would still have one platoon leader, but the sections would still operate independently (though somewhat coordinated).

If tasked with a delaying operation, I presume that they would be grouped into platoons of four vehicles each.

Overall, the organisation of the German reconnaissance battalion seems quite tank heavy with 30x Leopard 1s allocated versus 10x Luchs armoured cars (which I can represent using the ASLAV-25). I’m assuming the reconnaissance battalion is organised to fight quite hard for information if required?

Yes, you can make that assumption.

Leopards would be sent if contact was to be expected, Luchs vehicles might use such an opportunity for a passage of lines. Things would get interesting if the enemy was equipped with BTR-80s, and the passage of lines would occur in hot pursuit, and/or at night...

Its combat power doesn’t appear significantly less than that of a line panzer battalion of the time equipped with 41x Leopard 2A4s and it has increased flexibility with the infantry of its 5th company.

Hence the dual role as recce and as a delaying force. They might get task organized with artillery and tank destroyers (especially for delaying operations) and then muster substantial combat power.

Still, in terms of survivability and punch, the Leopard 2A4 played in one league above.

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Also take note of the 5th company with Fuchs APC and PARA/RASIT systems (ground surveilance radar).

From what I recall with working with PzAufklBtl 13, a light recon team would be 2xLuchs + 1x Fuchs. To add some dissmounted sqouts and/or a radar system.

A heavy recon team had 1-plt of Leopard 1 (in that time=3x Leo1) and Luchs/Fuchs attached if needed.

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Also take note of the 5th company with Fuchs APC and PARA/RASIT systems (ground surveilance radar).

Yeah, I saw that and agree the TPz Fuchs/RASIT adds a powerful capability to the battalion and parent division in real life but isn't something I can replicate in Steel Beasts.

Still, I reckon the mix of equipment and capabilities provided by the companies of the reconnaissance battalion will make for some interesting options in-game. Add attachments from other units of the division (tank destroyers, artillery (as Ssnake suggests) and engineers, flak etc.) and you’ve got quite a balanced and powerful battle group available for semi-independent operations I imagine.

I'm looking forward to experimenting with it today.

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PL: If you do create scenarios around Pzaufkl I would love if you could share it/them with us. I would like to try them out :)

Thanks. It’s good to know there’s interest. I’ve been contemplating scenario design for a while but I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m currently reading FM 100-2-1 to understand more about Warsaw Pact doctrine (I’ve also read Glantz’s ‘Soviet Military Operational Art: In Pursuit of Deep Battle’) and then I’ll research relevant Warsaw Pact unit TO&Es. I like to ensure unit organisation and OPFOR doctrine and tactics are as realistic as possible. Once I’ve done that I’ll dive into fully understanding the scenario scripting tools (I’ve only got a superficial understanding at the moment). I’ve got some ideas on a series of scenarios representing a Warsaw Pact offensive in the late 1980s. Still, it’s likely to be a few months and I realise I’m all talk at the moment…

I did modify Koen’s fantastic ‘North German Plain 85 - Hameln 1 (2.640)’ scenario however, which I use as a very tough “battle lab”, with the 2nd (heavy), 4th (mixed) and 5th (“infantry”) companies of Panzeraufklarungsbataillon 1 as the defending force and played the scenario through a couple of times yesterday. If there’s a way I can share this with you 1:1 without making it public (it’s not my scenario after all) I’m happy to do so.

Although the battalion (-) was able to defeat the regimental attack, here’s what I learnt about the capabilities of the heavy, mixed and “infantry” companies in action:

  • The Leopard 1A5 is a match for the T-72B but its light armour makes it quite vulnerable to damage from massed HE artillery fire (I modified the scenario to give the WP forces two battalions of artillery (36 tubes) – one organic to the tank regiment and one supporting from division - but firing HE rather than ICM to represent massed fires typical of soviet doctrine). This places a heavy demand on repair and medic elements of CSS. I had one platoon supporting the battalion (-) which was insufficient.

    As an aside, does anyone know how CSS was structured at battalion / company level in the German army of 1989? What vehicles would typically be included in a CSS platoon and would there be one per company or less? Any tips would be helpful.

  • The mixed company is a flexible (7x 1A5, 8x Luchs) force, excellent for screening and/or defending secondary axes within the battalion. The mixed company probably only requires 4x Luchs itself which leaves four for attachment elsewhere or reserve.

  • The 8x Luchs (ASLAV-25) are more effective and survivable if utilised as four sections of 2x rather than two platoons of 4x.

  • The infantry company of 9x Fuchs is very vulnerable to artillery and the 1x Milan per platoon does not have the rate of fire to effectively impede massed armour (platoon and above), even in the second or third line of defence. I may try combining the 3x Milan into a single anti-tank platoon to mass fire. Overall, the “infantry” company is not strong enough to hold ground as successfully as a panzergrenadier company would be in similar circumstances. The attachment of a platoon of Jaguar 2 may be an option to “stiffen” the 5th company (though I’m sure the panzeraufklarungs batallion does not generally use this company as line infantry anyway).

  • Adding the second heavy company would truly make the panzeraufklarungs batallion a flexible and formidable force but I wanted to maintain ratios as close as possible to Koen’s original intention.

Next is to adapt an existing offensive scenario to test the unit’s effectiveness in the advance!

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Like I wrote before, Defense and Assault are untypical tasks for Panzeraufklärer units. Recce is their primary role (e.g. movement to contact, or limited incursions into weakly defended areas to fight for information, or to insert Luchs sections for deep reconnaissance (up to 150km behind the front line for up to seven days). The secondary role are delaying actions - that is, a series of hasty defenses and breaking contact as soon as the enemy is forced to slow down and deploy its attack formations to force a break-through. This means that the enemy is likely to not have all the artillery available even if the assaulting force is in the Schwerpunkt of the division, simply because everybody is rushing forward to stay close to the combat units.

Back in those days the 2S1 and 2S3 howitzers couldn't perform a tactic of "shoot & scoot". They had to drive into a designated firing area, set up the guns, get a fix on their positions, organize the supply with ammo trucks. It is safe to assume that all that will at least take 10...20 minutes before a regimental artillery group is ready to execute the first firing mission.

In the pre-GPS days it also meant that the initial barrage couldn't be very precise because you have three location fixes that must be performed - the battery must know its own location with precision, so must the artillery observer, and finally he needs to have the precise location of the target. Without satellite navigation the only way to achieve precision is to observe and adjust the fire.

Of course, by the time that the fire for effect command is given, the defenders should vacate their positions already. If perfectly executed, the enemy is forced to slow down his advance time and again, and waste large quantities of his artillery ammunition on empty positions. By the time that they run into the real defense, with a bit of luck they are already out of a significant portion of the ammo stock.

So, in a way the scenario should ideally reflect these technological limitations.

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Like I wrote before, Defense and Assault are untypical tasks for Panzeraufklärer units. Recce is their primary role (e.g. movement to contact, or limited incursions into weakly defended areas to fight for information, or to insert Luchs sections for deep reconnaissance (up to 150km behind the front line for up to seven days). The secondary role are delaying actions - that is, a series of hasty defenses and breaking contact as soon as the enemy is forced to slow down and deploy its attack formations to force a break-through. This means that the enemy is likely to not have all the artillery available even if the assaulting force is in the Schwerpunkt of the division, simply because everybody is rushing forward to stay close to the combat units.

Sure, I agree Koen’s ‘North German Plain 85 - Hameln 1 (2.640)’ scenario isn’t ideal for doctrinally correct employment of a panzeraufklarungsbataillon but I like to use the scenario as a consistent test bed for experimentation with different unit TO&Es in a tough, uncompromising defensive scenario to broadly benchmark their respective performance. I have to say that, of all the formations I’ve tried, this one was the most enjoyable and surprisingly effective. I wouldn’t necessarily have expected a panzeraufklarungs battalion (-) to have the capacity to effectively defeat a supported attack by a tank regiment.

If and when I get around to developing my own scenarios based on this formation I’m thinking more along the lines of counter-reconnaissance>delay>reconnaissance (deep reconnaissance offers interesting possibilities too)>screening type actions.

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If and when I get around to developing my own scenarios based on this formation I’m thinking more along the lines of counter-reconnaissance>delay>reconnaissance (deep reconnaissance offers interesting possibilities too)>screening type actions.

Ah a starter for the soon to be rebooted ADF campaign. :)

Not quite NW Europe in the 1980’s but the next engagement is a delay with current AS Cavalry assets and a small Reserve.

Then we should be ready for another deliberate defence (with a NZ Mech Coy).

From that an “Advance to Contact”.

Finally the push to expel the invader.

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Ah a starter for the soon to be rebooted ADF campaign. :)

Not quite NW Europe in the 1980’s but the next engagement is a delay with current AS Cavalry assets and a small Reserve.

Then we should be ready for another deliberate defence (with a NZ Mech Coy).

From that an “Advance to Contact”.

Finally the push to expel the invader.

Sounds very interesting Gibsonm. I’d like to join that campaign if there are slots available?

In theory I’ve got myself set up for multiplayer with headset and port forwarding configured though I’d like to confirm it works properly so will try to join a Friday Battle (early) in the near future, weekend (in this time zone) commitments permitting.

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If there’s a way I can share this with you 1:1 without making it public (it’s not my scenario after all) I’m happy to do so.

You could always email it to me on Kingtiger45 at msn.com :)

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(deep reconnaissance offers interesting possibilities too)

It has one hell of a potential. But to make it work in Steel Beasts, a few crucial elements are needed - that spotting doesn't equal identification, for example. In order to infiltrate you must be able to make the enemy believe that you are of no importance. Currently this simply isn't possible. You can hid, you can try to stay out of sight, but it's just a matter of time until some unit somewhere happens to spot you (even with the best chances, if you roll enough dice you will eventually lose once). Once spotted, you currently are immediately identified by computer-controlled units, and once that your position gets reported, this is the "spotting magnet" as other units will now look more frequently in the direction of the last known position. That makes it progressively harder to escape.

So, what's really needed is a way to maintain the status of being of "no significance" even when accidentally spotted. Until then, I fear, such a scenario would be an exercise in futility unless you give all enemy units a radio damage, and even then the result might not live up to expectations.

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(I’ve also read Glantz’s ‘Soviet Military Operational Art: In Pursuit of Deep Battle’)

Good book, Glantz has a good understanding of the Soviets, as does Grau. Good supplementary reading: "Soviet Ground Forces" by Erickson, Hansen and Schneider, and "Red God of War" by Bellamy, the latter dealing with artillery. Relevant for your PzAfklr scenario - well, all scenarios I suppose - given the heavy battle lab testing with 36 tubes for the 'Krasnovians of the Orange Pact.'

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Ssnake, AKM, Tac Error

Thanks for the tips on Soviet artillery doctrine and capability and pointers on additional reading. My pile of reading material is pretty high at the moment but I'll certainly read what I can as I develop the scenario(s). I'm a bit of a perfectionist and generally quite busy so don't hold your breath waiting for something. Having said that, I'm encouraged by the response and your help and I think I've sketched a pretty convincing cover story for the scenario(s) so I'll definitely continue working on it.

Cheers

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My first recommendation has three chapters totalling about 100 pages that are directly applicable to thinking out missions from the Krasnovian/Redistani/Republika Sarlatovy Narodi point of view, 300/350 pages total.

I'm in university and studying several languages; I can sympathize with the retardedly large pile of reading. Good luck and you've done good work here by the sounds of it, I am looking forward to checking out the updates later.

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Hi Guys

I appreciate I’m resurrecting a dead and buried thread here but perhaps because it’s mine that makes it more acceptable?

Anyway, I’ve just started work on a reconnaissance-focused scenario set circa 1988-89 featuring the 4th, mixed, company of a panzer reconnaissance battalion with 7x Leopard 1A5s and 8x Luchs A2 (ASLAV-25) and I’ve also downloaded a DE callsign template from the Panzerbataillon 911 website (thanks guys!). To get the most out of the template I’m keen to understand how the platoons in the 4th company of the panzer reconnaissance battalion were organised. Was it platoons I and II with Leopards and platoons III and IV with Luchs or something more like an ACR troop with platoons I and III with Luchs and platoons II and IV with Leopards or was it something different again?

Any guidance gratefully received!

Cheers

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Servus,

Platoon I and II each with 3x Leopards and one light recon plt with 8x Luchs (4 recon patrols with 2 each). 1x Leopard CO.

best regards

Duke

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Servus,

Platoon I and II each with 3x Leopards and one light recon plt with 8x Luchs (4 recon patrols with 2 each). 1x Leopard CO.

best regards

Duke

Thanks very much Duke. I just assumed the Luchs were organised as two platoons of 4x but given how they were employed, in four patrols of 2x each, a single platoon of 8x makes sense.

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It has one hell of a potential. But to make it work in Steel Beasts, a few crucial elements are needed - that spotting doesn't equal identification, for example. In order to infiltrate you must be able to make the enemy believe that you are of no importance. Currently this simply isn't possible. You can hid, you can try to stay out of sight, but it's just a matter of time until some unit somewhere happens to spot you (even with the best chances, if you roll enough dice you will eventually lose once). Once spotted, you currently are immediately identified by computer-controlled units, and once that your position gets reported, this is the "spotting magnet" as other units will now look more frequently in the direction of the last known position. That makes it progressively harder to escape.

So, what's really needed is a way to maintain the status of being of "no significance" even when accidentally spotted. Until then, I fear, such a scenario would be an exercise in futility unless you give all enemy units a radio damage, and even then the result might not live up to expectations.

Tank Hunter knows how to do this. He frequently ran around in the rear echelons of BlueFor during Red Tide without being spotted! But that might have been because there was no one there to spot him; most of us were 'up front' engaged in combat. Also, he was running 4 or 5 BRDC units at once (IIRC), so although he may have lost 50% or more by the end of the mission, the sacrifice in terms of intel gathered make it worthwhile.

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Tank Hunter[...]frequently ran around in the rear echelons of BlueFor during Red Tide without being spotted!

Oh, I saw him! But when he's tearing through the woods at 90mph, it's hard to get an ATGM shot off. :biggrin:

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Oh, I saw him! But when he's tearing through the woods at 90mph, it's hard to get an ATGM shot off. :biggrin:

Tankhunter was and always will be our "scout god!" :biggrin: Seriously, the intell he did provide was crucial to much of our manuevering.

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Servus,

Platoon I and II each with 3x Leopards and one light recon plt with 8x Luchs (4 recon patrols with 2 each). 1x Leopard CO.

best regards

Duke

According to my informations, a PzAufklKp in Heeresstruktur 4 (until 1993/4) consists of the following units:

- KpFueGrp (CO, Head)

1x Leo1, 1x M113, 1x Wolf/Iltis, 1x 2t truck, 1x 5t truck

- I. Zug (1st plt)

2 groups of each 3x Leo1

- II. Zug (2nd plt)

2 groups of each 3x Leo1

- III. Zug (3d plt)

4 groups of each 2x Luchs + 1x Fuchs TPz

Could anyone confirm this? :confused:

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