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Kyle Harmse

NATO tactics vs a Soviet battallion

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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.

Data! :D Thanks Hedgehog :)

It corresponds to a lot of my tabletop wargaming experience as well. Setting matters usually, with NATO doing better (but still taking a lot of damage) and surviving in the 80s (Leo 2s and Abrams vs T-72s and T-80s) and worse to the point of often losing in the 70s (Leo 1s and M60s vs T-64s).

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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.)

[...]

LOL, no not realy ?

Fighting again Soviet Tank Units is easy, and the Tactics are over 60 Years old!

- Block their movement

- Split Them

- Pick the Leaders first ( 2 Antennas)

- Give Ground and Flank them out

- Use your better FCS and Night Vision for long Range Shots

- Use your better mobility to maneuver them out

- Use your Reserves to build up Strong Points

That´s it!

I Miss one: Concentrate your Fire

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LOL, no not realy ?

Fighting again Soviet Tank Units is easy, and the Tactics are over 60 Years old!

- Block their movement

- Split Them

- Pick the Leaders first ( 2 Antennas)

- Give Ground and Flank them out

- Use your better FCS and Night Vision for long Range Shots

- Use your better mobility to maneuver them out

- Use your Reserves to build up Strong Points

That´s it!

I Miss one: Concentrate your Fire

I think you will find the German army tried some of those tactics before in WW2

Dismiss soviet doctrine at your peril.

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Guest Killjoy

Personally, I think you could only fight a Soviet style tank attack for a certain amount of time before you run out of ammo, or they overran your position by throwing more and more tanks at you.

I think you will find the German army tried some of those tactics before in WW2

Dismiss soviet doctrine at your peril.

I think the German Tank crewman would know what he's talking about due to the fact he's... Well... German! :P

"Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt."

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Personally, I think you could only fight a Soviet style tank attack for a certain amount of time before you run out of ammo.

As SSnake has already pointed out, the entire logistics train is going to be under pressure. Fuel, ammunition, spare parts... if a NATO defender doesn't watch out for Soviet deep operational maneuver, blitzkrieg style, he may wind up having to blow up most of his own tanks- as happened to the German army c. 1944 and 1945.

or they overran your position by throwing more and more tanks at you.

As Hedgehog said, the Soviets would try and bypass a strongpoint instead- if you were a flank guard, you may well be facing this sort of attack though. I think that its important to note that the image of tens of thousands of Soviet tanks is kind of misleading.

Yes, they may have had 20 000 odd T-72s, 10 000 T-64s, around 4000 T-80s and thousands more T-62s and T-55s. The thing is, marshalling all the manpower and logistics to use all of these, AT ONCE, is a hell of a thing- and there's just not enough space in West/East Germany's road and rail systems to handle them. Operationally, its more realistic to think of a 3:1 advantage for the Soviets in terms of numbers, with an immense ability to regenerate fighting strength from strategic reserves.

Lose a Guards Tank Army? Summon category B replacements from one of the Soviet Union's many military districts and continue going. And that first Guards Tank army will likely have quite badly damaged the NATO Armoured Corps it was fighting.

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Lose a Guards Tank Army? Summon category B replacements from one of the Soviet Union's many military districts and continue going.

...provided that you can get it, and the necessary ammunition, to the frontline. This is where the airforces' fundamental role come into play, battlefield air interdiction. I think that this was actually NATO's best chance to blunt an attack at the operational level. Reduce the amount of follow-on forces to a trickle, and the Soviet operational concepts will quickly collapse.

Of course, any bomber used for BAI won't be available for CAS. You can't have everything.

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...provided that you can get it, and the necessary ammunition, to the frontline. This is where the airforces' fundamental role come into play, battlefield air interdiction. I think that this was actually NATO's best chance to blunt an attack at the operational level. Reduce the amount of follow-on forces to a trickle, and the Soviet operational concepts will quickly collapse.

Of course, any bomber used for BAI won't be available for CAS. You can't have everything.

It's also where another NATO advantage becomes pretty huge: stealth aircraft. Being able to take out bridges and other high priority targets behind the Soviet air defence curtain is a big advantage. That said, the US only ever fielded 59 F-117s, and their stealth was far from perfect, so the majority of BAI strikes are going to have to be with Air Defence suppression support- something NATO was also quite good at, given their results in the first Gulf War.

Anthony Cordesman's Lessons of Modern War are quite good on this topic, if you google it you should get the PDF's quite easily :)

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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.

Seems to me that although TI was/is a tremendous technical asset, allowing the potential for combat 24hr/day, crew fatique would have drastically limited its employment. It's often basic factors like this that get overlooked when a new technology is introduced. E.g. crew exhaustion (not to mention carbon monoxide poisoning) in WW1 tanks.

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Seems to me that although TI was/is a tremendous technical asset, allowing the potential for combat 24hr/day, crew fatique would have drastically limited its employment. It's often basic factors like this that get overlooked when a new technology is introduced. E.g. crew exhaustion (not to mention carbon monoxide poisoning) in WW1 tanks.

Fair enough point, although not everyone on the defence is going to be engaged all the time. A reserve force's crews are likely to be fresh enough to take over fighting at night, and its surprising what just an hour of sleep and some food can do to help with fatigue. :-P

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Most Army´s train their Soldiers for 72 h Action without (more or less) Sleep, I think.

And you learn to sleep everywhere you are, at the TC Seat, at a Tree, sitting, standing, lying...

So fatigue should not be a Problem at all.

Observe after 56 h with TIS is no Problem with GE Tanks, because Leopard´s have two Channels to use it. One at the Gunner and one at the TC. So, if you know you have to Observe for 4 h, TC sleeps 2 h and after that the Gunner sleeps for 2h on their Seats.

No Problem......

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The Soviets did plan to have everything on the move at once.

It was all spread out through timed displacedment, they knew if they concentrated all of their armour in one wave it would be waaay to tempting for a nuclear device.

The same reason applies to counter the BAI.

Buccaneers, Thunderchiefs and Ardvarks would need time to get to key targets at NOE level all the while evading the short range SA-9, 4s, 6s etc.

If your flying above treetop be prepared to meet Salvos of Migs or SAMs.

SA-3 has a 80km range in service from '61.

Specifically designed to engage lower closer targets.

SA-5 has a 240km range, in service from '67

You can't pinpoint or even carpet bomb a bridge accuratly while someone is shooting at you. :)

By which point the Soveits would be 5 miles down the road, comparatively. :)

You can move entire regiments down a hardcore road in minutes.

It is literally "Drive down this road as fast as you can until you meet the enemy, stop for nothing comrade."

Key arterial roads were worth their weight in gold to the soviets.

I'm assuming here the Soviets would've had decent engineers avaliable,

for repairing bridges already knocked out, certainly in korea, bridges were knocked down in the day and repaired during the night.

RE the F-117

Also F117s would not have been avaliable anytime prior to the mid-late 80s, (in service '83-08) and even then they were all stationed in the USA to keep them all hush hush, so I doubt they would have been immidiatly avaliable.

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The Soviets did plan to have everything on the move at once.

It was all spread out through timed displacedment, they knew if they concentrated all of their armour in one wave it would be waaay to tempting for a nuclear device.

The same reason applies to counter the BAI.

Buccaneers, Thunderchiefs and Ardvarks would need time to get to key targets at NOE level all the while evading the short range SA-9, 4s, 6s etc.

If your flying above treetop be prepared to meet Salvos of Migs or SAMs.

SA-3 has a 80km range in service from '61.

Specifically designed to engage lower closer targets.

SA-5 has a 240km range, in service from '67

Bucs, Thuds and 'Varks are indeed going to have a hard time of things, circa 1975... but by 85 things are looking a little different.

Early 80s, the Brits and Germans are flying Tornadoes as well, and the French and Brits are flying Jaguars (though the Jag is a bit on the short range end of BAI missions). Put some Weasel Police (Wild Weasel SEAD planes with anti-radiation HARM missiles) in the air, and any stationary or semi-stationary is going to have a dreadful time of it if they keep pinging. Granted, by this stage the SA-10 and SA-11 are in service, but they need to deal with SEAD missions first before they can attack BAI planes.

You can't pinpoint or even carpet bomb a bridge accuratly while someone is shooting at you. :)

By which point the Soveits would be 5 miles down the road, comparatively. :)

...

I'm assuming here the Soviets would've had decent engineers avaliable,

for repairing bridges already knocked out, certainly in korea, bridges were knocked down in the day and repaired during the night.

Again, true enough Hedgehog, though its reasonable to think that even with toss or lob bombing a reasonably skilled pilot is going to get lucky taking out a fuel or ammo dump, or slowing down a logistics train :P

Sure, the Soviets would have been great at bridging stuff. Pontoon bridges are fairly easy to construct, and they had MT-55s by the thousands- what I'm talking about are the arterial bridges further back- road and railway bridges that are a bigger issue to fix. Taking such a target out isnt going to stop the advance, but it is going to *slow* it. Turning the flood into a trickle, as it were.

You can move entire regiments down a hardcore road in minutes. It is literally "Drive down this road as fast as you can until you meet the enemy, stop for nothing comrade."

Key arterial roads were worth their weight in gold to the soviets.

On a highway, sure- though those are going to be tempting to crater bomb/mine. Long term though, it becomes a traffic nightmare if your logistics train mingles across units. People get lost, or stuck behind broken down vehicles. God help you if you throw a track. The Egyptians had that problem in the Sinai in 67, and the Syrians on the Golan in 73. Though I'm sure the Soviets are in a league above in terms of organising their logistics and traffic, a full scale attack on the West would have been... complicated... logistically to say the least.

At Cuito Caunavale in 1987, for example, South Africa struggled to keep the equivalent of a mechanised brigade supplied 100km into Angola :-P. And they were only 250km away from their staging bases in Namibia. It was a major deciding factor in being unable to take the town (along with some bad higher echelon decision making).

RE the F-117

Also F117s would not have been avaliable anytime prior to the mid-late 80s, (in service '83-08) and even then they were all stationed in the USA to keep them all hush hush, so I doubt they would have been immidiatly avaliable.

Indeed again, the job of blunting an initial attack would have fallen on conventional ground troops, European air forces and USAFE. It wouldn't have taken long for the 37th and 49th Wings (F-117 drivers)) to redeploy to forward bases in Europe though, specifically RAF Lakenheath- where they had pre-prepared facilities.

Overall, pre 1985-ish, things look pretty grim for NATO, though their odds start improving after. Before though, those Soviet regiments really do look like they could make the Channel in three weeks, maybe four.*

*Excluding nuclear war of course

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Also keep in mind the differnces in the C2 systems. WP had the decision making much more higher up while (MOST of) NATO gave more authority and flexibility to lower echelons. There was a good chance to outpace "red" in the planning cycle.

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And keep their communication Equipment in Mind. Up to Battalion Level they are (still) working with only one Radio Set.

Comms lower than Battalion are made with Flags.....

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Ah it seems such a shame the Soviets didn't attack. With such odds against them everyone in NATo would be back home in time for tea and medals, fully rested and with plenty ammo left. :D

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Ah it seems such a shame the Soviets didn't attack. With such odds against them everyone in NATo would be back home in time for tea and medals, fully rested and with plenty ammo left. :D

I think SSnake said it best:

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.

No one is coming out of that battle looking good.

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Could be a nice campaign setup yeah. With the playable Redford units I am sure somebody want to do a h2h campaign vise ?

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We could always wargame it.

After all that was what SB was designed for. In a way. :)

Only for the tactical picture. The operational aspects (the effects of BAI sorties on the supply situation, delays of reinforcements due to traffic jams, ...) Steel Beasts cannot simulate.

Of course you can run two or three wargames parallel and cross-feed the results into the other games, but the manpower to do this in order to create adequate results is prohibitive, I think.

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but the manpower to do this in order to create adequate results is prohibitive, I think.

Not as bad as the time taken to set this baby up:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/8719/next-war

The game components: three 22" x 35" map sheets plus one 6" x 8" and one 10" x 12" map extensions, 2400 die-cut 1/2" counters

And then getting RSI from all the dice/die rolls. :)

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Of course you can run two or three wargames parallel and cross-feed the results into the other games, but the manpower to do this in order to create adequate results is prohibitive, I think.
Not as bad as the time taken to set this baby up:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/8719/next-war

The game components: three 22" x 35" map sheets plus one 6" x 8" and one 10" x 12" map extensions, 2400 die-cut 1/2" counters

And then getting RSI from all the dice/die rolls. :)

Now that is some tabletop wargaming :o I'm sure these sort of simulations are run at Army Colleges though... to the google search bar!

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Yes we do and no I won't be telling you.

Just like I'm staying out of your other thread about "how much armour is here and here and here" ... thread. ;)

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Yes we do and no I won't be telling you.

Just like I'm staying out of you other thread about "how much armour is here and here and here" ... thread. ;)

Fair enough ;) Ah, the frustrations of never having any military experience of my own.

*edit* Historical analysis will have to do.

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