Tactical Problem for Tank Commanders: Info Request

Discussion in 'RAC' started by Andy_S, Apr 4, 2010.

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  1. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer


    Given that I am not particularly familiar with armoured warfare, I would like to present a tactical problem to the forum. (Note: This has also been posted on the officers sub-forum)

    You are commanding a squadron of 15 tanks. You are tasked to break through to a base 12 miles north of you, which is under siege. Two miles up the single-track road (ie 10 miles from the base which is your destination) is a 200-vehicle convoy, all soft skinned, carrying a composite infantry battalion, put together at very short (about 12 hours) notice. They too, have been ordered to fight through and break into the base. Their column is in trouble, as in the hills overlooking the road are three regiments of enemy infantry. The column has good air cover, but after dark, the air will have to return to base.

    Upon reaching the column, darkness is about four hours away. The convoy commander asks you to spread your tanks through his convoy in pairs, so supporting the length of its column as it proceeds up the road.

    Do you:
    (1) Do what he asks? (Due to a command snafu, and due to the desperate nature of the situation, you are not under his direct orders, though he does, in fact, outrank you)
    (2) Ignore his request, and instead mass all your armour at the head of the column?
    (3) Something different to (1) and (2)?

    I am an author. I won't disclose the actual history at this point, as I would like to you to come at this problem from a fresh perspective. (I will reveal it in a couple of weeks, if people are interested.) However, the situation above is not hypothetical.

    Any informed comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any serious posts.
  2. In my view option 2 is not tenable, concentrated tanks bunched at night will be in more danger than spread down the column where the infantry can provide you with close cover while you provide them with fire support, and possible better night vision.

    Option 3 is that you withdraw until daylight and start again, but presuming the infantry are functionally pinned down it depends on what you want your regiments future reputation to be.

    Based on regimental previous in WWII I think my CO would expect me to take up the best defensive positions I can and be prepared for a bad night.
  3. You have 4 hours of air-support. How much eyes-on do the tanks have with TISH, and TOGS, x12 mag etc to call in effective air-support, and fire 120mm?
  4. I agree, option 2 is unfeasable.
  5. Digging in is a no-no if the enemy has eyes-on, as they'll call in mortar fire, and mark your positions for a night of attacks, and further bombardement.

    Edited to add: I'm not a tank commander, never have been, and have no idea about Armoured tactics :)
  6. I don't care, just give me lots of targets and authority to fire!
  7. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    You have 4 hours of air-support. How much eyes-on do the tanks have with TISH, and TOGS, x12 mag etc to call in effective air-support, and fire 120mm?

    We are not talking tanks of today, we are talking US models that had to halt to fire. They had no infra-red, or other night sights. There were various Air Contact Teams in the column, though the (British) convoy commander's signals packed up just before nightfall. The tanks had working radios to both bases. The commander was preparing to turn back when a message arrived from the (US) divisional commander that the column had to break through "....at all costs." To which the column commander replied: "Very well...we'll give them a show."
  8. Also not a tankie but

    Much as I hate to say it CAS was very difficult back then, no PGMs, just Typhoons screening around hitting anything that moved in the target area (if I've guessed the timeframe right) you'd be as likely to be misidentified and attacked as not without a good FAC. If it's American aircover the problems would be worse (not a US slag fest - ask veterans)
  9. OK you've reset the goalposts a little with the additional briefing, This is beginning to sound like John Foley's "Besa's blazing" scenario. You do not have to stop to fire the Mg's and if it is a US tank you will probably have three of them, bow, Co-ax and commanders, but even in UK vehicles you get two; so you set off down the road at as fast a pace as the lead driver can manage and just keep hosing the MGs down the road edges 50-100 yards to your front to keep the panzerfaust men's heads down.
  10. If you want a serious answer your going to have to give A LOT more info!

    Are these hills creating defiles?
    Does enemy have A/T weapons?
    Does enemy have heavy support weapons?
    What training does enemy have? How are they operating?
    How much fuel and ammo available?
    How long can base hold out?
    What is cover like?
    What weapons does own inf have?
    Is arty/mortar support available?
    What is the ground like off road? Other obstacles?
    What is the mission? Reinforce or Relieve?
  11. FFS a Civvi asking another bone question, the answer is simple go to Bovy and spend a couple of years at the Armour school, there are just to many unknowns for even a stupid answer
  12. I was going to ask something on these lines. What time period are we talking about and what is the armour? Sounds to me like we are talking Korea here.
    So what type of vehicles, both armour and inf, are we talking about?
  13. Push you FAC to any high ground and pick off your tgts with use of CAS. If you cannot get your FAC to have eyes on find out FF locations and get your CAS to prosicute the enemy with type 3 CAS controls.
  14. Dwarf, quite right lets get some intel before we boldly go....
  15. Not a civvy and you will always know at the very least what year it is and what equipment you have (and therefore what the enemy is likely to have). You are also likely to have a map!