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communication within the tank crewmembers

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Hi guys,

I was trying with 2 buddies to fully crew a tank. After having struggle a bit, we finnaly managed to set up a kind of homemade voice orders list, though not highly effective but enough to perform quite well...

It really doesnt look as easy as it seems :)

Is there a standard crew communication procedure already existing somewhere to help improve our interaction?

Any idea? :)

thanks guys :)

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When you will begin to move, you define for the platoon:

-Direction

-Point to reach

-Itinerary

-Formation (platoon)

-Attitude after the move

ie: "12 o'clock - the line of trees - passing through the open, keeping the trees left hand - collumn - line formation and facing the village on the left, we move on my mark."

That gives your crew what to do even if the orders are directed toward the platoon.

On the move you define to your gunner basic observation directions or dangerous directions. For that, overide the turret to a caracteristic point to define your dangerous/observation point and give orders for the observation.

For the driver you describe the more precisely the itinerary you want him to take because there is no means to show him the path. Or give him orders when needed if there is no heavy workload for you.

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The official version tends to be formal:

"Gunner - cover your arcs 10 to 2" or somesuch.

Over time this may or may not (depending on the crew commander) soften to something like "Joe - keep an eye on X" as the crew gets to know each other and the remainder of the crew learn what the Commander's expectations are and can pre empt the basics.

So here Joe may well keep an eye on X but will continue to scan 10 to 2 as well if that is the norm for what the Commander expects.

Normally though if you aren't already in the thick of it, the Commander will take some time to do his appreciation (normally when the vehicle is concealed in dead ground).

This will have a check list alongs the lines of:

W - where am I going?

E - what is the likely threat we will face?

G - what is the ground we will cover?

R - what route are we taking (based on the orders he has received from his Troop Leader)

A - what are my "actions on" if things happen.

So the Troop leader might tell him that his vehicle is to move to the Eastern side of the next feature, while the other vehicle in his pair may move to the Western side.

Based on that and his appreciation he briefs the crew, maybe something like this:

Driver, our next move is to the Eastern side of feature "26" a small knowl on the Eastern end of the ridge in front of us (W). we will jockey left off this feature and break around the low ground to our right, we will then proceed at best speed across the low ground, be prepared for a minor creek crossing part way across. (G and R). If we are contacted before we reach the creek find a fire position. If we are contacted beyond the creek continue on until we reach the destination (A). Try to keep level with the vehicle to our right.

Gunner, the threat is likely to be BRDM and possibly dismounts (E). Scan from 10 to 2 but pay particular attention to the banks of the creek line. Be prepared to engage dismounts with coax and canister (A).

Loader, ensure you have a canister round ready at short notice (A). Unlikely to need sabot.

Are there any questions?

If there aren't any, he tells his boss that he is ready to move so the two vehicles move as a pair so they provide two targets (not one at a time) and can support each other.

This brief also means that people know what they are doing beforehand so the crew commander can get on with his job of commanding and reacting to new issues.

Much better than everyone asking him "what do we do now?" when they get hit. :)

Of course, if after that and everyone says they have no questions, and you start to move, and they have it wrong, that's where you have to step in and correct the driver or lay the gunner onto the right target, etc.

But you should not spend the time telling the driver, "left stick", "right stick", "speed up" and the gunner, "traverse left, steady on", etc.

Edited by Gibsonm

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ok, it makes sense. I always thought short orders were used by the commander to coordinate the crew but i'll do more planning on the briefing for now on.

Anyway :

First step : good coordination within my crew

Next step : good coordination within my platoon

Last step : All together :)

Driving and commanding AI tanks is way much easier ;)

Thank you guys for the advices :remybussi:

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Well once you realise that your (as the commander) task list, in part, is to:

Navigate (time spent split between looking at the map and looking out the cupola)

Maintain situational awareness

Talk on the radio

Engage targets

Execute orders

...

The list gets longer as you move up from single vehicle commander, to section commander (2+ x vehicles), to Troop Leader, ...

Then the less time micro managing the crew, the better. :)

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Well, first and foremost you have to specify who you are talking to in the command, to remove confusion (with some exceptions). Not sure how many people you are playing in a tank with, but what I mean is:

"Driver, go right"

"Driver, speed up"

"Gunner, scan left"

...etc

Also, never say just left or right, always say either "scan" or "go/turn" in front of it to be specific. I recall so many times on the M1, our Lieutenant would say "left left left!" --eh... who? What he ended up with was a tank turning left and the turret traversing left too, then "no, go back right" then turret and tank back to the right, or a tank sitting still with the turret spinning around to the right when he wanted the driver to pivot steer to the right, gah, a circus. But that stuff was set straight with a crew SOP shortly after that. ;)

And that is just it really. Except for comms on the gunner range where they grade everything you say, the tank crew has the power to come up with their own SOP on internal comms.

Oh, one last thing. If you have a human driver, our SOP was always that the TC would say "driver, go left". The driver would turn left and continue to do so until the TC gave another command, such as "straight" (we knew "straight" always applied to driver, so no need for preparatory command). Otherwise you end up with "Driver, go left" "left" "left" "keep going left" with the tank alternating between jerking straight and turning left. Also, "driver, hard left" meant full left turn instead of a shallow left, and so on.

After you establish those basic rules, everything else is down hill. ;)

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Also, never say just left or right, always say either "scan" or "go/turn" in front of it to be specific. I recall so many times on the M1, our Lieutenant would say "left left left!" --eh... who? What he ended up with was a tank turning left and the turret traversing left too, then "no, go back right" then turret and tank back to the right, or a tank sitting still with the turret spinning around to the right when he wanted the driver to pivot steer to the right, gah, a circus. But that stuff was set straight with a crew SOP shortly after that. ;)

Meanwhile Company Sgt Major's response....

"Oh, Bloody Hell...."

:biggrin:

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Meanwhile Company Sgt Major's response....

"Oh, Bloody Hell...."

:biggrin:

Well what do you expect from a CSM (being a grunt).

Meanwhile the Squadron Sergeant Major is saying something far more witty, as befits his role as an Armoured Corps Warrant Officer. :)

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Well what do you expect from a CSM (being a grunt).

Meanwhile the Squadron Sergeant Major is saying something far more witty, as befits his role as an Armoured Corps Warrant Officer. :)

...and the squadron sgt. Maj. would be the only one with a chance for such a comment. As withing the armoured Infantry, even Lts know how to command their vehicle...

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I shouldn't of said that I recalled that "many times", at least not with the same Lieutenant, but rather with different ones. They are generally quick learners. ;)

Not sure how it is in other armies but in US Army a 2LT fresh out of where ever hole he crawls out of is as green as a private out of basic training when it comes to commanding the crew and even less knowledgeable than the private about the tank itself, in some cases. Lets just say there is a period where you have to break the inexperienced 2LT in and I had the joy of breaking in several of them. :cul:

Of course another problem happens if you have an experienced tank commander get transferred and you get another one from another tank or unit and he has his own way of doing things... here we go again!

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I shouldn't of said that I recalled that "many times", at least not with the same Lieutenant, but rather with different ones. They are generally quick learners. ;)

Not sure how it is in other armies but in US Army a 2LT fresh out of where ever hole he crawls out of is as green as a private out of basic training when it comes to commanding the crew and even less knowledgeable than the private about the tank itself, in some cases. Lets just say there is a period where you have to break the inexperienced 2LT in and I had the joy of breaking in several of them. :cul:

Of course another problem happens if you have an experienced tank commander get transferred and you get another one from another tank or unit and he has his own way of doing things... here we go again!

I can only speak about the "old days" (bugger, that means I'm aging too :-( )

In "my army", the (2nd)Lt (or "OF-1") would allready have served minimum of 3 year in the BN...as a private, corporal and sgt rank...then he'd go to university, earn your academic degree...then go back to the BN.

So as a Lt, You'd know the basics allready...know all the NCO's first names...and know WHO to ask for advice ;-)

It was a working system!! No wonder they changed it...now they come out of cadet-BN's and the university, and see their first "real" soldier when they allready are a Lt :-(

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IOW, like the Americans do.

And to be fair, the old way simply isn't such a great idea when the same battalions also have to prepare rotations for Afghanistan etc., the Bundeswehr is shrinking. Despite the obvious drawbacks, I think it was the right decision to centralize the training.

During the Cold War, the "old way" was the right decision at the time. If you have the luxury of a large, modern equipped army that doesn't have to do anything but maneuvers and training itself, integrating officer cadets by alternating between theory and practice yields very good results, of course. But these conditions no longer apply.

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IOW, like the Americans do.

And to be fair, the old way simply isn't such a great idea when the same battalions also have to prepare rotations for Afghanistan etc., the Bundeswehr is shrinking. Despite the obvious drawbacks, I think it was the right decision to centralize the training.

During the Cold War, the "old way" was the right decision at the time. If you have the luxury of a large, modern equipped army that doesn't have to do anything but maneuvers and training itself, integrating officer cadets by alternating between theory and practice yields very good results, of course. But these conditions no longer apply.

...still, considering the old way, an ISAF tour or 2 as Fahnenjunker or Fahnrich might help the training. (Ok, it might not be so good for his unit then...When I remeber how much I fucked up when wearing the silver-cord, oh boy)

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...still, considering the old way, an ISAF tour or 2 as Fahnenjunker or Fahnrich might help the training. (Ok, it might not be so good for his unit then...When I remeber how much I fucked up when wearing the silver-cord, oh boy)

Yes putting people with large "L" plates on their back in charge of units on a two way rifle range is not necessarily the best vehicle.

Sure the lessons you learn sink in, but at what cost?

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I just hope you guys weren't as bad as that portrayal of Lt Dike in Band of Brothers.

Jeez, that guy couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

Let along take a platoon into the final attack.

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It was a working system!! No wonder they changed it...now they come out of cadet-BN's and the university, and see their first "real" soldier when they allready are a Lt :-(

Back in the mid 60s the British decided that it would be a splendid idea to recruit officers from the universities. And that they would give them accelerated promotion as an incentive. So in 1969 my helicopter squadron started getting new pilots straight out of flying school with the rank of Flight Lieutenant (Captain). That naturally caused some resentment among the Pilot Officers and Flying Officers, some of whom who had at least a year's operational experience. But even worse was the 'types' who started to appear. I mean, someone who went to university with the original intention of becoming a biologist but was seduced by the money and career prospects offered by the recruiters is probably not the ideal person to be sitting alongside you when the shit starts to fly. But the real problems came when these guys got further accelerated promotion to Squadron Leader (Major) just so the RAF could say x% of their senior officers had degrees. :(

I regret to say the rot was started by the Britsh Army - for whom I have the greatest respect, and who I thought were more down to earth and practical that that.

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I just hope you guys weren't as bad as that portrayal of Lt Dike in Band of Brothers.

Jeez, that guy couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

Let along take a platoon into the final attack.

...let do a shortlist of my special achievements here:

=>vehicle movement: downing a Fuchs APC in a mud-puddle. But hey, they told me it

was amphibious!

=>land navigation: Its nice to arrive at a sign reading "Arty target Area, UXO, danger do

not enter"...when you come from the other side of the fence

=>target ID-ing: seeing the enemy approaching(in an exercise) and leading a perfect

ambush against them. Only to find out that is was a platoon of our

neighbouring company who have been a bit of track when falling back...

...

...

...

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=>land navigation: Its nice to arrive at a sign reading "Arty target Area, UXO, danger do

not enter"...when you come from the other side of the fence

Absolute classic! :eek2:

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In my army it's my job to train those below me, but also those above me. Those below will listen (because of the rank and knowledge/time). Those above have issues from taking advice/guidance from a Sgt. A few will have been told by their superiors that they will go far, and it would be wise, to listen to the NCO's.

Nothing more rewarding than a new Lt/Capt come to me for advice/guidance, makes the job rewarding for sure.

Now a days I instruct Capt-Col's in my field and training in specialized tasks from re-construction to projects in a combat environment, just as those that came before me. In this job rank is not a base of knowledge or expertize, however deployment in our field is the driving factor. We are losing some real time lessons all ready, and myself and the others will not be here forever to pass this knowledge along, where it will come from is still up in the air (out sourcing perhaps).

Most armies have to learn the same lessons over and over again, it's hard on the new Lt's , we need to cut them slack.

As for Veh comms, well I have found that a cew that has some time together will find the most efficient way to communicate that is quick and what is needed by the commander, micro-managment dosen't work (other that a course drv/gunnery) and letting a sloppy crew just jabber away dosen't work either.

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=>target ID-ing: seeing the enemy approaching(in an exercise) and leading a perfect

ambush against them. Only to find out that is was a platoon of our

neighbouring company who have been a bit of track when falling back...

...

...

...

Was it a text book ambush?

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