Elite tank units

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Gook, Feb 3, 2006.

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  1. Okay, my knowledge on this is not great, and I'm not too sure where to post this thread, but the Germans during the Second War had a number of elite tank units - the SS Panzer divisions. Now seems to me, that there are 2 combat arms of infantry and cavalry (RAC, HCav & RTR included), but we only have "special" (and not in the windowlicking sense) units in the infantry role. I.e. 16 AA Bde, 3 Cdo Bde.

    Is there a role for a specialist unit of armoured vehicles trained more demandingly than usual armoured regiments? Like a spearhead armoured brigade (3 armd regts, 1 inf bn, swapping the inf and armd in a normal bde around to make it "tank-heavy") for the initial rush across the border and sweeping up vast swathes of desert, and taking on the enemy armour. Or perhaps just regts trained especially to provide support to 16 AA and 3 Cdo, like the HCav and "Commando light horse" of the QDG.

    Or... are armoured units not really too required these days? What with the Challys and AS90s being left back at home when units deploy on Telic, perhaps its more infantry we need, or at least RAC more used to working dismounted in an infantry-type role. So maybe not the ideal climate for creating an independent tank brigade! Although if you did, you could give them another dismounted role concentrating on FIBUA and peace support stuff, like the Swedes have a unit trained in FIBUA and MP stuff as well as their infantry role. The paras and marines both have dual roles (helis and parachuting/seaborne) as well as the regular infantry (lt role and armd role) so why not these?

    Or feel free to tell me that the idea of crack tank units is a load of arrse!
  2. Hey baby - its aaalllll Gooood!

  3. 'course its all good. I can imagine some extra 120mm HESH coming in quite useful in the Persian deserts when that cnut Georgy-boy decides to export T.W.A.T. to our latest friendly axis of evil...
  4. I know that after TELIC 1 it was noted that the RAF Regiment needed it's armoured capability back.

    So TCH cut armoured strength of the Army and sacked a big chunk of the RAF
  5. We havent got enough capacity to lift paras in light role .Let alone with cvrt or a proper tank .What would elite tankies do that ordinary tankies dont .Or do you want to let the "elite" tank units grab all the training ammo ,and spares ?
    Unless fres somehow builds a cvrt with the protection and firepower of challanger or a massive build of lifting capacity the paras and marines are going to get screwed if the enemy has armour .And if they did have armour why bother being so good ? Fire power takes care of a lot of problems .
  6. Okay then, so what about these new "mediumweight" or "intermediate" forces that aren't light (i.e. Scimitar) or armoured (Chally) but somewhere in between? How are they going to take shape?

    Will it be a load of "medium" APCs carrying the infantry around and still needing tank support from the RAC, or a load of "medium" tanks, ie less punch than Chally but more than Scimitar, run by the RAC and with a small number of infantry attached (say 1 bn in the bde) for the mopping up?
  7. Imho they want the dropship and apc from aliens to fufill the fres concept :lol: .Unfortunatly its not possible in reallife .But the contractors will take millions of the taxpayers money to say its a film for fcsak not real life :lol: .
  8. The answer's simple - one company of assault guns per Inf Bn. Make it small, cheap and cheerful - no turret - and stick a low-recoil 105mm in it. Job done. Add another coy of the same chassis with a flatbed to carry everyone's kit and you're away.

    I'm available for the design work if anyone's interested.
  9. Some WWII armies created, or had, "elite" formations. The Germans and Soviets both had such "elite" formations. There was also a political dynamic to have "party" formations (SS and NKVD), that also often enjoyed higher priority for equipement and enjoyed an elite status. Although the SS was more likely to have its formations deployed in a battle situation.

    Given the overall low level of Mechanisation of the Whermacht [sic?], their "elite" Panzer and PG divisions were the only true mechanised units and often as a result earned their Elite status the hard way.
    It could be argued to be the ONLY formations that a Modern Army has are this type of "elite" formation. However as the Western armies did not have such formations in WWII (as opposed to "Veteran") formations, there was no organic growth of "elite" higher formations (as opposed to say Guards units etc) Post War.
    The Specialised units may have "elite" status due to the individual training demands placed on their soldiers. The same standards of Operational capability can be said of "normal' Brigades.
    When I have tried to relate the Challenger to historic designs, the one that I have opted to compare it to is the German "Tiger". As the Tiger was ONLY issued to "Elite" formations, it kind of leads me to say that all Armoured Brigades in the Modern British Army, have an MBT that is on a par with historical "elite" formations.
    God knows there are few enough of them now!
  10. I'm not so sure CR2 and other MBTs are directly comparable to the tanks seen in WW2. At that time there were light, medium and heavy tanks each of which filled a distinct niche. When technology advanced to the point that a single vehicle could combine the firepower and protection of a heavy tank with the mobility of a medium tank then the MBT was born. And light tanks got renamed recce vehicles.
  11. I believe an APC similar to the aliens one is currently in the R&D phase by one country can't remember which
  12. This is based on very dodgy history.

    The SS Armoured formations tended to be lavishly more equipment because the SS could extert priority on political grounds. As the war went on political loyalty became more important and the SS controlled more resources. The Germans also had a policy of creating lots of New "elite" SS Panzer Divisions rather than keeping existing formations up to strength. This allowed Hitler to delude himself that his army was bigger than it really was. So at a given time a New "Elite" unit might have a greater impact because it has 200 tanks and SPs while the remnants of some Panzer Division might only control 20-30.

    However, this didn't mean that the SS Formations were the best performing nor the most highly regarded by the German Commanders.

    In post war interrogations General Gyer v Schweppenburg, the Inspector of Armoured Troops in the West was asked to rate the capability of the armoured formations. This exercise collatted the views of many Divisional and Corps commanders.

    As at 6 June 1944, of the 12 Panzer & Panzer Grewnadier formations in the West the best four were assessed to be:-

    "2 Pz Div - Divisional commander good in the field, less so in training , but the division well backed with equipment and personel"

    "9 SS Div The performance of the Division depended on the outstanding military personality of its commander Oberst Bitterish, who was a first class trainer. This unit was especially efficient against airborne operations"

    "12 SS "Hitler Jugand" This commander was also good in training and posessed a will and a passion for advanced methiods. The quality of the conscripts was high, but that of the subordinate officers and NCOs was poor"

    "Panzer Lehr Division. The Division was well provided for by the generalinspection. The commander was very modern in his thoughts and methods. There were deficiencies in infantry tactics and combined arms teamwork.

    Four army and two SS divisions given middle rankings

    The least efficient two were .....

    "10th SS - The division was unlucky in its assignment of divisional commanders"

    "1st SS Panzer Division: A type of Praetorian Guard. The division had been bled white in Russia and was unable to fill the gaps resulting from casualties and sending out cadres (E.g. to form 12 SS). Discipline was a sham and the NCOs were poor. The division didn't have sufficient time for thorough training before the invasion."

    The recurring point is the quality of leadership. Inspirational personalities were regarded as making a big difference to formations, even where some part of the raw material was weak. Look at the very different rating for the 9 & 10 SS Pz Div. Many histories to regard these as sister formations in II SS Corps, but its clearfrom these assessemts that these big difference was the quality of the commanders.

    If thats so, it would be pointless to create expecations of perfomance in advance. Surely a formation creates its reputation by its deeds not by a label. Wouldn't we be better focusing on really good leaders. Whatever bit of the British army they command would be regarded as elite by friend and foe.