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IFV versus APC and its place in Combined arms

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I think this is from Yugoslav Wars. Now, would this count as an IFV or an APC?

Looks like a Soviet copy of the US half-track with overhead armor option. They made them with tires in the back instead of tracks because it was cheaper, and they used the half-track as Lend-Lease. I dimly recall some had overhead armor - this must be the result. Looks like it met something it didn't like, too. Shrapnel?

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nah, it dont look anything like the M3 halftrack. i think its the Russian troop carrier based on Unimog. BTR 20-40 or something. that vehicle did not have an armored top, but the wheels and engine-hood look very similar.

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Granted I am no expert, but, comparing the kind of damage done on that to other things I have actually seen, I want to say it's some 20/30mm cannon fire ontop of HMG rounds.

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That's the definition I'd go with.

If the carried troops are expected to be able to fight while mounted, it's an IFV.

If the carried troops must dismount to fight, it is an APC.

DG

I think some people are misunderstanding this. When it is said that an IFV's troops can fight from the vehicle, this is NOT in reference to the troops firing their rifles from the vehicle, but the crew firing the weapon itself. An IFV can fight on its own without ever dismounting the infantry.

An APC has a self defense weapon like a 7.62 or a 12.7.

An IFV has a cannon and possibly an AT missile.

The APC is a 'battle taxi'. It gets the troops in by providing them with bullet-proof protection and speed they otherwise wouldn't have. The fire it puts out is in self-defense. Once the troops are on the ground, the APC heads for cover or withdraws.

The IFV is a weapon platform in its own right. It gets the troops in with armor that can withstain more punishment and has firepower enough to suppress and destroy the enemy. Once the troops are on the ground, it can continue to support them. The troops can remain mounted while the IFV performs operations; thus the "fighting from the vehicle" phrase. In some ways, it's a light tank and an APC.

Of course, what you consider to be an APC/IFV depends on your doctrine. A M113 with a gunshield for the .50 can be an IFV if it's the best thing you have. And IMO APCs and IFVs are seperate beasts. An IFV is not just a type of APC; they are seperate entities.

And regarding the Stryker: As far as I'm concerned, the Army only calls it a IFV so that people won't say, "why are we going back to APCs again? Aren't IFVs better?". It really fits the APC role, and IMO an army should have APCs and IFVs in its arsenal. They both have their purposes. But the Stryker is most definately not an IFV by most people's standards. Calling it one to boost support and get it funded does not make it so.

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I think some people are misunderstanding this. When it is said that an IFV's troops can fight from the vehicle, this is NOT in reference to the troops firing their rifles from the vehicle, but the crew firing the weapon itself. An IFV can fight on its own without ever dismounting the infantry.

An APC has a self defense weapon like a 7.62 or a 12.7.

An IFV has a cannon and possibly an AT missile.

The APC is a 'battle taxi'. It gets the troops in by providing them with bullet-proof protection and speed they otherwise wouldn't have. The fire it puts out is in self-defense. Once the troops are on the ground, the APC heads for cover or withdraws.

The IFV is a weapon platform in its own right. It gets the troops in with armor that can withstain more punishment and has firepower enough to suppress and destroy the enemy. Once the troops are on the ground, it can continue to support them. The troops can remain mounted while the IFV performs operations; thus the "fighting from the vehicle" phrase. In some ways, it's a light tank and an APC.

Of course, what you consider to be an APC/IFV depends on your doctrine. A M113 with a gunshield for the .50 can be an IFV if it's the best thing you have. And IMO APCs and IFVs are seperate beasts. An IFV is not just a type of APC; they are seperate entities.

And regarding the Stryker: As far as I'm concerned, the Army only calls it a IFV so that people won't say, "why are we going back to APCs again? Aren't IFVs better?". It really fits the APC role, and IMO an army should have APCs and IFVs in its arsenal. They both have their purposes. But the Stryker is most definately not an IFV by most people's standards. Calling it one to boost support and get it funded does not make it so.

A great deal of the arguments over the differences between APCs and IFVs are based upon the respective theories of their use. I would suggest that both theories are impractical except under favourable, even ideal conditions.

Both the APC and the IFV exist to get the infantry as close as safely possible to their objective in the attack; their ways of doing so differ, each with its pros and cons. In the attack, the infantry need to get within not less than 300 m of the objective in order to have a real chance of taking it, and even at that range it's pretty iffy; 100m is ideal. The closer to 100m from the enemy position the tracks are able to get before dismounting the infantry, the better the odds of a successful attack. The farther away, the worse the odds, as enemy fire, friendly losses, and the greater potential for loss of momentum and control militate aginst a successful attack.

At 300 m, many APCs and some IFVs are vulnerable to HMG fire, especially on the sides. Even the best-protected IFVs are only armoured against 14.5mm AP up to 200 m on the sides, even if their frontal arc is proof against 30mm AP. Obviously, many AT weapons are effective against any APC or IFV at such ranges. Moreover, enemy tanks possess a hard, quick-kill ability that is unmatched on the battlefield. In 2001, the Canadian Army conducted the MAIS Trials, which found that 72% of IFV losses were to enemy MBTs. Granted, the MAIS Trials used LAV III Stryker IFVs with 25mm cannon but no ATGM; the trials report stated the necessity or arming IFV with medium- or long-range ATGM. But especially at dismount ranges, ATGMs are not a clear match by any means for a tank's main gun. In any case, few APCs or IFVs possess sufficient protection to approach up to 100 m from an enemy position without being extremely vulnerable.

The fundamental flaw of both the APC and IFV concepts is that they lack the same protection as the MBT that they are working with in Combined Arms operations. If either the APC or IFV had MBT-level protection, getting their infantry close enough to the enemy objective would be much easier. APCs/IFVs using MBT chassis and hulls with MBT-level protection carrying full strength rifle squads/sections (not the anemic 6 or 7 man dismount elements most IFVs manage) should have the best chance of fulfilling their primary function: getting the infantry as close as possible to the objective in order to avoid taking unsustainable losses prior to the assault. The Israeli Namera HAPC is the best example of such a vehicle:

http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/vehicles/armored_personnel_carriers/namera/Namera.htm

As to armament, an MMG and an ATGM are clearly necessary. Besides that, I suspect there would be precious little room for anything other than an HMG or a 40mm AGL/GMG and ammo/tools, etc. for said. Most APCs can carry a full-strength infantry squad/section because they don't have a turret basket (amongst other things) hanging down in the middle of the vehicle, whereas IFVs have to shed infantry in order to make way for armament. It strikes me as being self-defeating if the IFV's armament substantially reduces its infantry carrying capacity.

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I follow a discussion about Israel´s neglect of IFVs versus their use of HAPCs and the concept of combined arms with both, especially concerning offensive actions. Has anyone on here played a scenario where an IFV company(Marder, Bradley, CV90) has to go on the offense against a strong tank heavy foe and how it handled that? As we lack examples in military history I´d be interested how that played out in SB.

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You need to specify more details, like, what is the amount of artillery (and eventually helicopter) support, is the terrain open or restrictive to observation and/or maneuver. Is the mech company in numerical superiority to the defending tanks, and do they have tanks in their own support. Finally, of what generation are the defending tanks - T-55, T-72, T-80, T-90, or western type?

As long as these questions aren't answered, the space of possible wargames is too large to come back with a meaningful answer.

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100 meters is... well, optimistic, to say the least. The IFVs role is to get the infantry as close as possible, but a direct assault onto the objective from out the back of the IFV/ APC is inviting disaster. Best to dismount out of small arms fire (not out of range, just out of line of sight) and preferably completely out of line of sight. If the dismounts can attain tactical surprise they have a much higher chance of success (tactical surprise being when the enemy may know they're coming, but doesn't know exactly where). The IFVs of course get the dismounts to the assault position much faster, and with some protection against small arms and artillery. And a well coordinated attack uses the IFVs to provide suppressive fires onto the objective.

Yes, IFVs tend to have smaller 6-7 man dismount teams, but when you consider that there's 6-7 men in the assault section, and the support-by-fire section consists of the IFVs themselves instead of dismounts, you ultimately save manpower: in order to provide the suppressive and killing power 3-5 IFVs in the support-by-fire position provide, you'd have to task at least a half dozen GPMGs and several AGLs; we're talking devoting 40 guys vice the 8-12 men crewing the IFVs. And even with GPMGs and AGLs, they cannot match the volume and range of fire the IFVs provide.

The trick is to a) dismount and move to the assault position without being pinpointed by the enemy, and b) to keep the IFVs out of direct fire until they have to move up and engage the objective (preferably RIGHT before the assault team begins their assault).

Of course, the direct dismount-onto-the-objective assault works too, but it puts the IFVs at extreme risk from manpack AT systems like RPGs, it allows the enemy to pinpoint where the dismounts are, and since there's no lateral separation between IFVs and dismounts, it limits the fields of fire of the IFVs. The dismounts are also extremely vulnerable as they dismount and the seconds while they organize after dismounting.

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This is my first post here so forgive my ignorance. It seems to me that the APC or IFV question is more a question of doctrine than anything else. It's not the vehicles themselves but the way in which they are employed. Training and tactics is the deciding factor here, not how many guys you have crammed into a turret.

Love the site and the sim. :biggrin:

Greg

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Doctrine certainly plays a role.

Doctrine doesn't exist in a vacuum though but is influenced by what kind of equipment is actually available. If all that you have is M113s with 7.62mm MGs you can have a doctrine about IFV employment as much as you want, it's not really going to help you. Likewise, what good is using an IFV like an APC if it fits doctrine but forfeits the direct fire support of the vehicle.

There are a number of cases in military history where doctrine changed with the introduction of new equipment, e.g. night combat before and after thermal imagers, or observation sector assignments before and after hunter-killer technology.

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I follow a discussion about Israel´s neglect of IFVs versus their use of HAPCs and the concept of combined arms with both, especially concerning offensive actions. Has anyone on here played a scenario where an IFV company(Marder, Bradley, CV90) has to go on the offense against a strong tank heavy foe and how it handled that? As we lack examples in military history I´d be interested how that played out in SB.

the battle of 73 easting consisted of armored cav bumping into a republican guard tank unit (regimental strength IIRC). the RG tanks were in a reverse slope defensive position. eagle troop wacked them. there was another troop to the north that also caught a big part of them. i can't recall which unit that was, but both units had attached tanks. this is a pretty good account: battle of 73 easting google is my friend :)

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The chance of success of any IFV heavy force against the assault of a heavy armored force depends almost exclusively on the availability of long ange anti tank guided missiles.

IFV gunfire may be successful against tanks in rare ambush situations if fired from close range against the vehicle flanks and rear, but it isn't always possible to have the enemy maneuver to your convenience. If they don't, a stalemate is your best hope and more likely it's going to be a slaughter of IFVs if the tanks can maintain a standoff.

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The chance of success of any IFV heavy force against the assault of a heavy armored force depends almost exclusively on the availability of long range anti tank guided missiles.
Or supporting arms, vielleicht?

A lot should depend on the scope of the mission as well.

Something should be said about the tank-component of the IFV-heavy force, and its relative strength compared to the OPFOR heavy armored force, too. Leadership and doctrine as applied at the moment should say something useful as well.

A battalion of tanks led ineptly will probably fall (probably handily) against a platoon of tanks led by a Guderian. That's for an example, to illustrate the point. And again, the commander with the better resources (the supporting-arms thing I mentioned) will be better-able to call the tune.

Shot

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Started a SB Gold mission last night with a company of M113s (4 platoons plus CO and XO) defending a hilly reverse slope in depth against a battalion of T-80s and BMPs. Got slaughtered pretty fast and didn´t take a high toll on the enemy. Problem was that my APCs tended to climb to the crest of the hills to get blown apart although I issued HOLD command. Infantry did the best they could but T-80s shrug off LAW hits easily. And...the AI is brutal. At the end I was left with one lone soldier...chased by a tank...until he was rolled over. Man, I couldn´t believe my eyes!! Come to think that even back in 1990 all Mech Inf of the US 1st Armored Division was riding in M113s, this gave me a bit of thinking. They would have fought alot harder, but still...don´t wanna hear a bad word about the Bradley again. ;)

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Started a SB Gold mission last night with a company of M113s (4 platoons plus CO and XO) defending a hilly reverse slope in depth against a battalion of T-80s and BMPs. Got slaughtered pretty fast and didn´t take a high toll on the enemy. Problem was that my APCs tended to climb to the crest of the hills to get blown apart although I issued HOLD command. Infantry did the best they could but T-80s shrug off LAW hits easily. And...the AI is brutal. At the end I was left with one lone soldier...chased by a tank...until he was rolled over. Man, I couldn´t believe my eyes!! Come to think that even back in 1990 all Mech Inf of the US 1st Armored Division was riding in M113s, this gave me a bit of thinking. They would have fought alot harder, but still...don´t wanna hear a bad word about the Bradley again. ;)

have you tried deploying them like ATGM teams from the 113s along the sides of a valley such as the one in Fulda Gap? Try converting Blue to 113s and tell us how it works out. I bet you stand a better chance not getting rolled over, but letting them roll by and shooting them in the flanks and rear. dont expose the 113s and the inf might stay concealed a long enough to make some dents.

I personaly believe that if enemy armor might be encountered, there need to be tanks to support the APCs or IFVs. it just gets messy otherwise, even if you win.

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Probably. No chance even with the flanking approach. Odds are just too uneven(killed only 4 tanks and 3 BMPs). But still fun to play, maybe I´ll find or create a scenario which gives the M113 mech inf the upper hand.

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give them a battalion of tanks?

;)

One platoon of M1A1 did the trick as well. And what came close to the hill was annihilated by the infantry. I guess 3 M113s are a good trade for 37 T-80 and 3 BMP-2. Hell, I love combined arms! :)

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