Jump to content
Kyle Harmse

NATO tactics vs a Soviet battallion

Recommended Posts

Hey all

Some questions for any Bundeswehr/US/British Army vets/any knowledgeable persons in general about tactics, on a platoon and maybe company level versus a Soviet tank battalion (ie somewhat outnumbered), both with appropriate levels of regimental/divisional fire support.

1) On a platoon level, assuming you've got a position to go hull down and maybe turret down behind, what's the strategy for engaging an enemy company? Wait for them turret down, drive up hull down when you spot them and ambush them at range?

2) If you're being fired at, do you hold your ground or pop smoke and disengage? (Do you play the tank duel game?)

3) How and where do you employ mobile and static defence, or a hybrid of the two?

I'm reading up on tactics a bit myself, I'm just keen on hearing from you all first hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey all

Some questions for any Bundeswehr/US/British Army vets/any knowledgeable persons in general about tactics, on a platoon and maybe company level versus a Soviet tank battalion (ie somewhat outnumbered), both with appropriate levels of regimental/divisional fire support.

1) On a platoon level, assuming you've got a position to go hull down and maybe turret down behind, what's the strategy for engaging an enemy company? Wait for them turret down, drive up hull down when you spot them and ambush them at range?

2) If you're being fired at, do you hold your ground or pop smoke and disengage? (Do you play the tank duel game?)

3) How and where do you employ mobile and static defence, or a hybrid of the two?

I'm reading up on tactics a bit myself, I'm just keen on hearing from you all first hand.

are you more interessted in current or "cold war era" tactics?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ Grenny:

Mostly late Cold War stuff (AirLandBattle era) from a historical perspective BUUUUUT current tactics would also make for an interesting comparison. If you don't mind sharing either? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some questions for any ... knowledgeable persons in general about tactics, on a platoon and maybe company level versus a Soviet tank battalion (ie somewhat outnumbered), both with appropriate levels of regimental/divisional fire support.

Your questions are so broadly formulated that it's difficult to give a meaningful answer that doesn't fill an entire book. You need to narrow it down - defense (hasty or prepared), assault, delaying action, with mine obstacles or without them, urban or open terrain, or forested or otherwise with limited visibility ranges, level of support and supply, ...

Each of these factors influences what the answer will be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you can post a screenshot of a SB map at say 10m contour interval and describe a problem (NATO is here, Soviets are here, NATO has this, Soviets have that, NATO is defending/delaying, Soviets are pushing from direction X to direction Y, etc.) - that way we have a common framework to work within.

As Ssnake mentioned things like the ground the time (day or night), and a bunch of others all impact the solution.

There is no "one size fits all". :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mostly late Cold War stuff (AirLandBattle era) from a historical perspective BUUUUUT current tactics would also make for an interesting comparison.

Difficult, if you insist on a Soviet opponent. ;)

Also, the Soviet doctrine isn't so rigorously practiced in contemporary conflicts. Maybe one day it will be again (by North Korea, or China?) but much of what's going on today is dominated by counterinsurgency, counter-IED, asymmetrical battles (both in tactics, strategy, mental & cultural disposition, ...)

In short, most armies do no longer prepare for that Commie Steamroller type of battle. Maybe they should do a bit more (without entirely returning to it), that's open to debate. But if you think of some "almost symmetrical" and "almost contemporary" account, may I recommend Murray/Scales "The Iraq War" (of 2003, when everybody thought it was over, before it all went to shit). They make a case that the 2003 opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom was much closer to the Panama war to capture Noriega than it was to Operation Desert Storm.

That I found most illuminating in comparison to what I was taught at Officers' School at the very end of the Cold War era, and it's easy to understand why this first phase brought some overconfidence on the American side. Basically, everything worked out as planned in a rather beautiful way (as far as "beauty" applies to military conflict, that is).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey all

Some questions for any Bundeswehr/US/British Army vets/any knowledgeable persons in general about tactics, on a platoon and maybe company level versus a Soviet tank battalion (ie somewhat outnumbered), both with appropriate levels of regimental/divisional fire support.

1) On a platoon level, assuming you've got a position to go hull down and maybe turret down behind, what's the strategy for engaging an enemy company? Wait for them turret down, drive up hull down when you spot them and ambush them at range?

2) If you're being fired at, do you hold your ground or pop smoke and disengage? (Do you play the tank duel game?)

3) How and where do you employ mobile and static defence, or a hybrid of the two?

I'm reading up on tactics a bit myself, I'm just keen on hearing from you all first hand.

tactics that work against older soviet horde tactics without thermals is to lase target, pop smoke, and then engage. you'll be able to kill them but they won't be able to see you, and are much less likely to hit you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have time to write a longer response on this topic right now, but the two documents that will give you the best view of tactics at platoon and company team level from a US perspective are:

Read the chapters on Defense in these publications and I'm pretty sure you'll have at least 80% of what you're after.

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your questions are so broadly formulated that it's difficult to give a meaningful answer that doesn't fill an entire book. You need to narrow it down - defense (hasty or prepared), assault, delaying action, with mine obstacles or without them, urban or open terrain, or forested or otherwise with limited visibility ranges, level of support and supply, ...

Each of these factors influences what the answer will be.

Okay, lets say:

1) In the context of a first day Soviet assault on... Braunschweig, circa 1988. How would you plan a hasty defence of one of the outlying towns between Braunschweig and the inter-German border, a real nightmare first day WW3 scenario- though without NBC weapons. As far as Google Maps tells me, its reasonably open in that region. Where would you deploy, given no mechanised infantry support? Lets call it early morning, with good sunny weather.

*edit* Lets say, Konigslutter am Elm, in the context of a tank battalion level defence of the town with limited Mechanised infantry support. A Soviet regiment is pushing in from the East, aiming either to push the defenders out or bypass the town. How does the company behave if they're part of the northern defence, say trying to prevent being bypassed?

2) Because its a hasty defence, theres no time to lay down minefields. Friendly artillery is all being used for CB fire, so theres no support either. Supply wise, each tank is fully loaded, with one spare reload available in support trucks deployed either in the town or nearby.

tactics that work against older soviet horde tactics without thermals is to lase target, pop smoke, and then engage. you'll be able to kill them but they won't be able to see you, and are much less likely to hit you.

Essentially range, then disappear and kill them from within a cloud of smoke? I take it you're repositioning to avoid gunners hitting your old position?

Difficult, if you insist on a Soviet opponent. ;)

Also, the Soviet doctrine isn't so rigorously practiced in contemporary conflicts. Maybe one day it will be again (by North Korea, or China?) but much of what's going on today is dominated by counterinsurgency, counter-IED, asymmetrical battles (both in tactics, strategy, mental & cultural disposition, ...)

In short, most armies do no longer prepare for that Commie Steamroller type of battle. Maybe they should do a bit more (without entirely returning to it), that's open to debate. But if you think of some "almost symmetrical" and "almost contemporary" account, may I recommend Murray/Scales "The Iraq War" (of 2003, when everybody thought it was over, before it all went to shit). They make a case that the 2003 opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom was much closer to the Panama war to capture Noriega than it was to Operation Desert Storm.

That I found most illuminating in comparison to what I was taught at Officers' School at the very end of the Cold War era, and it's easy to understand why this first phase brought some overconfidence on the American side. Basically, everything worked out as planned in a rather beautiful way (as far as "beauty" applies to military conflict, that is).

Hehe, the reason I insist on a Soviet style opponent is because that's what third gen NATO MBTs were designed to fight. Equipment follows from doctrine, and its interesting to see how, say, the Danes and the US Marines in Afghanistan have tailored their tactics vs an assymetric enemy.

Also quite interesting is the notion that the US and Israel is returning their thinking to hybrid style battles- ie fighting insurgencies backed by major powers who can equip them with some hard-hitting ATGM (Kornets in Lebanon for example).

Good article: http://breakingdefense.com/2012/04/how-to-fight-hybrid-threats-tanks-airstrikes-and-training-sa/

I don't have time to write a longer response on this topic right now, but the two documents that will give you the best view of tactics at platoon and company team level from a US perspective are:

Read the chapters on Defense in these publications and I'm pretty sure you'll have at least 80% of what you're after.

Cheers

Thanks PL, muuuuuch appreciated. South African field manuals are close-ish to NATO doctrine in general and British doctrine in particular but this is exactly what I was looking for.

Perhaps you can post a screenshot of a SB map at say 10m contour interval and describe a problem (NATO is here, Soviets are here, NATO has this, Soviets have that, NATO is defending/delaying, Soviets are pushing from direction X to direction Y, etc.) - that way we have a common framework to work within.

As Ssnake mentioned things like the ground the time (day or night), and a bunch of others all impact the solution.

There is no "one size fits all". :)

I will do, soon as I'm home Gibson, outlining the scenario I described for SSnake above.

Edit: heres a hasty google maps scenario. Sorry for the lack of contours.

qeKHG7G.png

Edited by Kyle Harmse
Clarification

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DEFENDING on day 1 so close to the inner-German border would be nigh impossible, and I don't think it would have been attempted. NATO would rather delay along the entire front line. Unless of course there would have been lots of forewarning allowing to prepare the battlefield substantially.

North of Braunschweig the Elbe-Seiten-Kanal would provide a first line with reasonable obstacle value, south and east of Braunschweig the terrain has substantial amounts of bog that would probably canalize the attacker on roads. So you'd try to mine those roads where possible (again, how much advance warning time do you get?), place guards of a tank platoon each on the most likely used roads in your sector, preferable those with difficult terrain left and right, and at the end of a long straight place your tanks to get the enemy after a road bend reinforced my a mine obstacle.

Where you have open ground, it's the usual. Interlocking fields of fire, mutually supporting battle positions, at least one, better two alternate firing positions for every tank, and a plan for when and how to extricate and relocate to the next temporary defense location. After a day or two at the latest, arrange for ammo replenishment, the earlier the better.

Above all, logistics, especially field repairs will be hard pressed during the first 36 hours (by which time we may already be forced half the way to Hanover).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try "Red Army" by Ralph Peters as an operational description of Soviet operations in Northern Germany. It's light reading, yet deeply rooted in the perception of the conventional threat that NATO faced (Peters was a US officer at the time tasked with military planning for such eventualities; fortunately his novel skips most of the technical details and focuses on the relevant parts). Another good read is Kenneth Macksey's "First Clash", which goes deeper into the technical details (it was intended as a combined arms tactics primer to Canadian officer candidates at its time of writing). Needless to say, both are out of print, but I still got them through the Amazon Marketplaces or from eBay.

John Antal's books "Armor Attacks" and "Combat Team" may also be insightful, also James MacConnough's "The Defense of Hill 781". (McConnough's "Platoon Leader" is an unrelated, but still highly recommended recollection of his time in Vietnam).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DEFENDING on day 1 so close to the inner-German border would be nigh impossible, and I don't think it would have been attempted. NATO would rather delay along the entire front line. Unless of course there would have been lots of forewarning allowing to prepare the battlefield substantially.

North of Braunschweig the Elbe-Seiten-Kanal would provide a first line with reasonable obstacle value, south and east of Braunschweig the terrain has substantial amounts of bog that would probably canalize the attacker on roads. So you'd try to mine those roads where possible (again, how much advance warning time do you get?), place guards of a tank platoon each on the most likely used roads in your sector, preferable those with difficult terrain left and right, and at the end of a long straight place your tanks to get the enemy after a road bend reinforced my a mine obstacle.

Where you have open ground, it's the usual. Interlocking fields of fire, mutually supporting battle positions, at least one, better two alternate firing positions for every tank, and a plan for when and how to extricate and relocate to the next temporary defense location. After a day or two at the latest, arrange for ammo replenishment, the earlier the better.

Above all, logistics, especially field repairs will be hard pressed during the first 36 hours (by which time we may already be forced half the way to Hanover).

Very insightful post Ssnake, thanks. What do you reckon NATOs chances were to hold on to Hannover in particular and prevent a breakthrough across the Wesser in general?

I havent read Red Army- its nigh on impossible to get in South Africa- but Im familiar with some of it, ie Soviet operational maskirovkas, urban warfare in Hannover becoming a mini Stalingrad, the Soviets winning ultimately... its an interesting counterpoint to Hacketts optimism in WW3- NATO advancing into Poland for example. As much as Clancy gets deserved flak, i reckon his prediction in Red Storm Rising is fairly on point: NATO grinds down the Warsaw Pact to the point where theyre effectively stopped 200-300 km into W Germany, at great relative costs to both sides.

Edited by Kyle Harmse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey all

Some questions for any Bundeswehr/US/British Army vets/any knowledgeable persons in general about tactics, on a platoon and maybe company level versus a Soviet tank battalion (ie somewhat outnumbered), both with appropriate levels of regimental/divisional fire support.

1) On a platoon level, assuming you've got a position to go hull down and maybe turret down behind, what's the strategy for engaging an enemy company? Wait for them turret down, drive up hull down when you spot them and ambush them at range?

2) If you're being fired at, do you hold your ground or pop smoke and disengage? (Do you play the tank duel game?)

3) How and where do you employ mobile and static defence, or a hybrid of the two?

I'm reading up on tactics a bit myself, I'm just keen on hearing from you all first hand.

Enjoy!

And for good measure, here is some more.

And more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The first post mentions ample artillery support and that made me think about a blog post I wrote a few days ago. The book mentioned in my blog is worth checking out.

http://www.kriegsimulation.blogspot.com/2014/07/battle-of-bulge-as-tactical-reference.html

Cheers,

Cool entry Chaco. Care to elaborate on the general points of the book though? :P My understanding of the Battle of the Bulge vis artillery is that the US managed to grind down a lot of German fighting strength by targeting armoured units clumped together on roads- a similar sort of thing happened in the hills of Italy on a number of occasions. I imagine that a major difference between Wacht am Rhein and a Soviet attack would be the level of artillery support available to the attacker. The Germans had a LOT, true, but Soviet orbats for the day are even heavier- especially when they start mobilising artillery *divisions* :-O. Correct me if I'm wrong, but would NATO arty not be substantially occupied with trying to suppress the Soviet "God of War" with CB?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What do you reckon NATOs chances were to hold on to Hannover in particular and prevent a breakthrough across the Weser in general?

I don't think I'm qualified to make a statement here. Overall I tend to be rather pessimistic to the extent that there's always that big elephant in the room, nuclear escalation. NATO did not calculate with it because it was "off limits" from a political point of view. Germany would have had no incentive to serve as France's speed bump and as the prime nuclear battlefied, but the overwhelming likelihood is that that's exactly what would have happened. This not the least because after the German reunification we discovered maneuver plans from the East German army (as a part of the larger Warsaw Pact maneuvers) that called for 23 tactical nuclear strikes on northern Germany alone in the first three days of the campaign.

So, what NATO wasn't allowed to plan, the Soviets took as a given (nuclear escalation was inevitable). So they probably figured that if it was unavoidable, why not take maximum advantage from being the first to move. I don't think that there are any credible plans (that is, plans that actually survive the collision with reality) that take into account the massive devastation, the psychological dynamics, and the resulting political action (=surrender, or some "going down in a blaze of glory"/Alamo/Custer's last stand glorified self-destruction of a nation).

In short, it's unpredictable. Even the rather grim "Red Army" doesn't take that path (would probably have made for a much shorter story, after all).

So all discussion of that topic rests on the assumption that the conflict can be contained in a purely conventional context, that eventually the Soviets exhaust themselves, and that we come to some cease-fire agreement with following peace negotiations that restore the status quo ante. And that's an ideological tenet; NATO did not want to appear so bellicose that they made a public statement "attack us, and we'll grind you down, then counterattack all the way to the Urals". That might have contributed to further political escalation. At the same time NATO internally had to create some sort of a narrative of the kind "we're all in this together, and we must all defend Germany because if Germany falls you will be next".

While the argument isn't entirely without logic it's important to realize that it's also the only argument that could prevent the alliance from falling apart due to diverging interests of France, Italy, Germany, Britain, Canada, and the US (let alone the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Greece, or Turkey). The open question is whether the argument was only a necessity or also realistic. ;)

What pretty much can be assumed as fact is that even in a purely conventional conflict Germany would have been devastated. Also, that both armies would have probably suffered a total loss of 60...80% of their major weapon systems over the course of three to six weeks. Also, that ammunition supplies would have found to be inadequately small despite the considerable stocks; the air war of Operation Desert Storm depleted NATO stockpiles to, I think, an operational reserve of just three days.

I havent read Red Army- its nigh on impossible to get in South Africa

My experience is that US used book stores (of the Amazon Marketplaces) usually ship to foreign countries (like Germany). It's worth a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think I'm qualified to make a statement here. Overall I tend to be rather pessimistic to the extent that there's always that big elephant in the room, nuclear escalation. NATO did not calculate with it because it was "off limits" from a political point of view. Germany would have had no incentive to serve as France's speed bump and as the prime nuclear battlefied, but the overwhelming likelihood is that that's exactly what would have happened. This not the least because after the German reunification we discovered maneuver plans from the East German army (as a part of the larger Warsaw Pact maneuvers) that called for 23 tactical nuclear strikes on northern Germany alone in the first three days of the campaign.

So, what NATO wasn't allowed to plan, the Soviets took as a given (nuclear escalation was inevitable). So they probably figured that if it was unavoidable, why not take maximum advantage from being the first to move. I don't think that there are any credible plans (that is, plans that actually survive the collision with reality) that take into account the massive devastation, the psychological dynamics, and the resulting political action (=surrender, or some "going down in a blaze of glory"/Alamo/Custer's last stand glorified self-destruction of a nation).

Neither am I when we enter the gloomy depths of nuclear strategy and politics :P I have, however, heard it argued, late Cold War, that the Soviets essentially begin matching and overpowering NATO in some respects in terms of nuclear power, cancelling out NATO's 'first use' edge because there's no way for the US to "win" (gigantic quotation marks there) a nuclear exchange anymore. With the risk of mutual anihilation (a la Sir John Hackett's Third World War), nukes become way less of an attractive tool politically. BUT, as you say, if the Warsaw Pact was already hedging on their use... then who knows?

As you said, very rightly:

In short, it's unpredictable. Even the rather grim "Red Army" doesn't take that path (would probably have made for a much shorter story, after all).

Its actually something which came up in a game theory class of mine (a cool little example of German grand strategy at Stalingrad). War is a game of chance and statistics. Risk can be mitigated, but never eliminated. I'm fairly confident, as historian (in training) that the risk of NATO getting steamrolled in two weeks is much lower in the mid-late 80s, compared to say 1975. That said, nuclear war is always a risk in the Cold War too.

*EDIT* Also, I completely agree that NATO is pretty much on the back foot here, and that even the suggestion of attacking into East Europe would probably have splintered the alliance and/or escalated things with the Soviets even further.

What pretty much can be assumed as fact is that even in a purely conventional conflict Germany would have been devastated. Also, that both armies would have probably suffered a total loss of 60...80% of their major weapon systems over the course of three to six weeks. Also, that ammunition supplies would have found to be inadequately small despite the considerable stocks; the air war of Operation Desert Storm depleted NATO stockpiles to, I think, an operational reserve of just three days.

No doubt. Its a gigantic version of Kursk, many times bigger. Even with survivable vehicles like Leo 2s and the Abrams, crew casualty rates are going to be 1.5 to 2 a vehicle lost- and thats nothing compared to the Poor Bloody Infantry.

The ammo issue is something which Clancy also predicted in Red Storm Rising. The man gets flak for Jack Ryan and the "F-19" but RSR is actually quite a good book (if you can tolerate the man's obsession with submarines). Its a pitty he didn't write more hypotheticals like that, rest his soul.

My experience is that US used book stores (of the Amazon Marketplaces) usually ship to foreign countries (like Germany). It's worth a try.

I just bought a copy in reasonable shape :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What cannot yet be adequately simulated in SB Pro is night combat (at least not to the degree that I would expect to see); this is a pity because I think it would show a dramatic advantage that NATO would have held during the 1980s in this area. I think that the Soviets for almost a decade if not two underestimated the revolutionary force multiplication effects that took place with the introduction of thermal imagers.

There are hints that the Soviet leadership was more concerned about the Bradley than about the Abrams (due to the now ubiquituous availability of ATGMs in a western force rather than the previous limitation to specialized tank destroyer units and some specialized light infantry).

But the effect of thermal imagers was not properly understood; it reminds me a bit of the invention of the machine gun prior to WWI where every army knew very well the effect of the MG, but unanimously they failed to grasp the consequences of ubiquituous MG availability for maneuver warfare of unprotected infantry and cavalry units. It was a "non-linear game changer", not just a gradual improvement. In a similar vain the Soviets could not and did not anticipate the effects of precision guided munitions, be it laser guidance or GPS based.

... an interesting aspect is that keeping these things secret would give a side an operational and tactical advantage at least early in a war ... but at the same time may have lowered the percieved risk of a military confrontation, thus raising the likelihood that it might occur. Deterrence only works if the other side knows how big the stick is that you wield, no matter how softly you speak.

NATO certainly had its weaknesses as an alliance, yet it was far from toothless. I'm just glad that deterrence worked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What cannot yet be adequately simulated in SB Pro is night combat (at least not to the degree that I would expect to see); this is a pity because I think it would show a dramatic advantage that NATO would have held during the 1980s in this area. I think that the Soviets for almost a decade if not two underestimated the revolutionary force multiplication effects that took place with the introduction of thermal imagers.

Also absolutely true.

TI provides NATO crews with such an edge in situational awareness, even in daylight. A somewhat better day optic (12x vs 8 or 9x) is one thing, being able to pick out a relatively bright tank against a dark backdrop through smoke, in mist, or in the dark of night is another thing entirely.

Two questions Ssnake:

1) What would the Bundeswehr Panzer plan have been for night fighting? Local counter-attacks, tank-hunting in the dark?

2) What were the range limits on the EMES15? Its resolution is maybe a little choppy for anything beyond 2000 meters as far as I'm concerned (in Steel Beasts anyway :P)

There are hints that the Soviet leadership was more concerned about the Bradley than about the Abrams (due to the now ubiquituous availability of ATGMs in a western force rather than the previous limitation to specialized tank destroyer units and some specialized light infantry).

That's an interesting observation. I think the Soviets underestimated the Abrams and NATO armour in general because their protection levels were starting to outpace the L7- still the most common NATO tank gun in 1985- and possibly because they didnt quite understand the jump the rifled L7 to the smoothbore 120mm actually meant. Sure, the L44 is actually a bit behind the 125mm on paper, but Israeli and later German and US APFSDS were potent tank killers that utilized muzzle energy quite a bit more efficiently than the Soviets anticipated.

On the topic of ATGM: they work, but are unwieldy against saturation attacks correct? Precise and powerful but slow to reload; vs the ability of a tank to put fairly potent HEAT- and much more importantly APFSDS- on a target every six seconds (assuming your gunner is utterly perfect :P)

But the effect of thermal imagers was not properly understood; it reminds me a bit of the invention of the machine gun prior to WWI where every army knew very well the effect of the MG, but unanimously they failed to grasp the consequences of ubiquituous MG availability for maneuver warfare of unprotected infantry and cavalry units. It was a "non-linear game changer", not just a gradual improvement. In a similar vain the Soviets could not and did not anticipate the effects of precision guided munitions, be it laser guidance or GPS based.

... an interesting aspect is that keeping these things secret would give a side an operational and tactical advantage at least early in a war ... but at the same time may have lowered the percieved risk of a military confrontation, thus raising the likelihood that it might occur. Deterrence only works if the other side knows how big the stick is that you wield, no matter how softly you speak.

Yeah, its not even a case of leaked info/open secret on a "superweapon" like the B2 Spirit or the old South Africa's nuclear arsenal, its a case of the other side not entirely understanding the full implications of something. It took a surprisingly long time for the Soviets to catch on, in terms of systems like Buran for the T-80U.

Not that the Soviets didnt have PGMs, mind, just that they were less mature and far less widespread circa 1988.

NATO certainly had its weaknesses as an alliance, yet it was far from toothless. I'm just glad that deterrence worked.

That's the ultimate point of a modern military right? At least in theory :|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1) What would the Bundeswehr Panzer plan have been for night fighting? Local counter-attacks, tank-hunting in the dark?

Ugh, there's no standard answer. "In principle" Bundeswehr doctrine stipulated that there be no difference between night and day combat operations. Practice repeatedly showed that there still is a difference. ;)

Of course, peace-time training with an emphasis on avoiding accidents will magnify the differences. Much of the hoopla about low visibility conditions stems from the attempt to retain control over what's going on and the desire not to run anyone over, to to shoot someone when live ammo is issued. Had the balloon gone up for real, this would probably quickly have evaporated/be less of a concern.

Bundeswehr doctrine in general emphasizes quick counter-"jabs" (=improvised, local counterattacks) on every opportunity, and, well, counterattacks (=a planned and prepared task for the local reserve) whenever the enemy would bunch up at a choke point or otherwise be in disarray.

I think what's important to keep in mind is that thermals not only help with target detection, they also augment mobility in darkness, allowing you to detect holes in a picket line to sneak through, etc., or even to spot buried mine obstacles under certain conditions.

2) What were the range limits on the EMES15? Its resolution is maybe a little choppy for anything beyond 2000 meters as far as I'm concerned (in Steel Beasts anyway :P)

We try to represent every thermal sensor in SB Pro with its native detector resolution. 1st generation thermals had a quarter TV resolution, so I think that SB is a good indicator about the identification range limit; in this case about 2,000m for a relatively high confidence identification. Of course, a T-55 broadside at 3,000m can still be ID'd. It's more about partially obscured targets that pose the practical limit.

The "visibility limit" is a term with which I have problems on a fundamental level. What's the range limit for the naked eye at night? Well, you can see the Andromeda galaxy, so the answer is "two billion light years". In a jungle under a dense double layer canopy on a moonless night ... well, tough luck, you won't see anything unless you switch on the light. In a computer simulation we're lucky to render out to ten kilometers at a good frame rate, resolution, and meaningful level of detail in the terrain. There clearly are limits to what technology allows us to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think what's important to keep in mind is that thermals not only help with target detection, they also augment mobility in darkness, allowing you to detect holes in a picket line to sneak through, etc., or even to spot buried mine obstacles under certain conditions.

That's a great point. Gotta feel sorry for the gunner, constantly having the commander over-ride his scope so that the big command decisions can be made :-P ;)

We try to represent every thermal sensor in SB Pro with its native detector resolution. 1st generation thermals had a quarter TV resolution, so I think that SB is a good indicator about the identification range limit; in this case about 2,000m for a relatively high confidence identification. Of course, a T-55 broadside at 3,000m can still be ID'd. It's more about partially obscured targets that pose the practical limit.

The "visibility limit" is a term with which I have problems on a fundamental level. What's the range limit for the naked eye at night? Well, you can see the Andromeda galaxy, so the answer is "two billion light years". In a jungle under a dense double layer canopy on a moonless night ... well, tough luck, you won't see anything unless you switch on the light. In a computer simulation we're lucky to render out to ten kilometers at a good frame rate, resolution, and meaningful level of detail in the terrain. There clearly are limits to what technology allows us to do.

Of course, you can see targets much further away, from my own experience in game theres just:

A) limits to identification (as you rightly said) and

B) limits to accurate gunnery, in terms of lasing and shot placement on a hostile tank. I'd prefer not to waste my DM-33s on shots with low percentages for kills. Even in broad daylight anything over 2500 meters is for supressive purposes only as far as I'm concerned ;)

Any plans to upgrade the resolution for the EMES15 in the near future? Leo 2A7+ maybe, or from the Turks? One of the Rheinmetall upgrades?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion. :)

We (SVU) did a wargame with Target a while back.

They won but they suffered severe casualties. (Think they could scratch a tank platoon together by the end of it.)

I (Tank Bat Cmd) lost a company's worth of tanks by the end, either Killed or Immobilized

Mech Inf lost a fair bit as well, think it was in the order of 70% either Killed or Immobilized.

But these were acceptable losses considering another Soviet regiment was just up the road. :)

It was the tip of the Soviet spear (regiment sized) with:

Forward Patrols, of BRDMs, Company size. (3x3)

Forward Security Element, Company of Tanks, Plus BRDM ATs etc.

Adv Guard Main Body, Battalion (3 Coy) of tanks (T-62), Battalion of BTRs.

Against a Battalion of Leo 1s and M113s ?

One of the Target guys could answer better.

However it did come right down to the wire with Soviet Tanks 3km from the breakout objective.

But both sides used the correct tactics for the forces made available.

The Target guys did a hasty defense, and it worked. :)

The thing one needs to remember for the tip of the Soviet spear, if it is easier to bypass a stubborn enemy, do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing one needs to remember for the tip of the Soviet spear, is that there are another 30 spears waiting behind it if the first one gets blunted or cast aside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...