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Dismount TOW Tactics

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I just posted an Steel Beasts AAR at my blog. It is about a delaying action of one US infantry mechanized platoon vs a Soviet mechanized company. The US infantry (mounted in M113s) is trying to stop the Soviets at a river crossing in a village. The US side has a TOW launcher.

Part 1 of the AAR

Part 2 of the AAR

I make no claim of using the right tactics, indeed various mistakes can be pointed out on my approach. But maybe I was just lucky and I killed two tanks and 6 BMPs.


I wanted to see if this post here can initiate some sort of tactics discussion. I see Mark already commented on my blog (thanks, I will get back to you soon). If there is no interest in discussing, at least I hope you can have some entertaining read.


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Not sure if you want both those comments (one per blog entry) replicated here, or let the person read them in context on your Blog?

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OK these lack a bit of context if you haven't read the blog entries but basically ...

In the first entry an comment is made about dismounting from their M113 IFVs to which I responded:

Well I'd start by saying calling a M113 an IFV is very generous. :)

Then there was a comment about:

"A well prepared defensive position would require an extensive work of the sector/s of fire, so one would know exactly when to fire based on pre ranged landmark. In this case, there is no such guidance and I had to guess. This lack of references fits on the theme of a hasty delaying action."

To which I responded with:

The other point I'd suggest is that even if you don't have landmarks and a range card per se, you can make one pretty easily.

Draw a line on the map 3,750m or so from your TOW team icon, when the red forces cross the line they should be in range.

The second blog entry covered the close fight in the town, the withdrawal of the infantry and the need to resupply the TOW teams prior to its relocation.

My responses to this was:

Two things that may help next time.

1. Infantry can throw their own smoke (Tab - like a vehicle), this may have helped the squad pulling back over the open ground).

2. The TOW (or other Infantry team) can reload from their ride.

So no need to go via the ammo truck. Scramble aboard the APC, grab the extra rounds from within the M113, emerge at the other end replenished.

Overall though I'd say selecting a effectively light infantry force (its about 1,500m uphill across the open to the Infantry's M113s) to impose delay on an attacking armoured/mech force is pretty much a "speed bump".

Yes the Infantry can hold the town for a while but achieving a clean break to get back to the APCs is going to be pretty hard. The APCs will be shredded if they come forward to extract the infantry.

So the "delay" is achieved by a die in place defence basically, with the first delay line also being the last.

Certainly the single TOW team gives the defence some backbone but if the Soviets fix you and flank to the right/North then the TOW team can't rapidly reposition.

Ideally you need some tanks to support the Infantry and give them the time required for the Infantry to pull back.

The remaining Blue tanks have the protection and mobility required to break from this location to the next delay line that ideally the Infantry have already occupied (or they have pulled back through a fresh formation) so you can do it all again a couple of Km further West.

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