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Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 1:45:20 PM   
Jagger2002

 

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What was the common offensive tactical use of the 3 company Russian Tank Battalion? Was there a standard offensive deployment? Was it standard to put 3 companies in line for max firepower or perhaps, 2 companies up for intitial contact and 1 company back as a reserve or exploitation force? Or were battalion commanders expected to simply use the most efficient deployment dependent on terrain and tactical situation.
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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 3:20:28 PM   
Stimpak


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Here's a whole DIA report on the tactics and ORBAT of the typical Soviet tank battalion circa 1977

In short: The deployment of the tank battalion depends entirely on it's mission. Are you preparing for a meeting engagement? Are you assaulting a fortified position? Bracing for nuclear attack? Defending? Racing through a gap to destroy or capture that nuclear missile?

In any case, the battalion's mission is given to you by your recon assets, whether they survive or not.

See this example:


Recon forces have discovered an enemy company(+)-sized element in a reverse slope defense position that is defending in depth.

So what did they see before they disengaged?
-A Mech company HQ
-A Mech platoon
-A Tank platoon
-A Vulcan AD platoon
-A Mortar platoon
-An enemy command vehicle known as the "M577"
-AH Section

Based on this force composition, we can tell that it's a reinforced Mechanized company. Screening BRDMs would confirm this later.
So now we have to task-organize and arrange the tank battalion based upon terrain, enemy defense, and the mission.

Let's say this axis is the main axis of attack, so we have priority for air and artillery strikes. This means full support from the RAG, as well as DAG elements.

Task organization of the battalion is ultimately the responsibility of the Regiment commander. Let's take a look at what he's come up with:



Here we haveL
-The Tank Battalion itself (Two companies T-55AM, one company of captured Leopard 2A4 )
-We're expecting close quarters combat with a dug in infantry force, so a motor-rifle company has been attached from the regiment's motor-rifle battalion
-We've spotted enemy helicopters, so a section of ZSU-23-4 are attached from the AA Company
-This battalion is the leading element on the axis of advance, so a 2S1 battery has been attached from the RAG for direct support
-Finally off-map, we have RAG, DAG, and Fixed-wing air support. In this scenario, we'll simply have the RAG of 2x D-30 batteries and a full Geschosswerfer battalion of 3x RM-70 batteries.

The battalion is organized. Now for the plan of attack.

(in reply to Jagger2002)
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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 3:36:30 PM   
Stimpak


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The enemy is in a reverse-slope defensive position, hoping to take us out piecemeal on the exposed hillside. Instead, the tanks will go around. Timing is important at this stage as is an attack in depth. While this is happening, simultaneous efforts are made to jam enemy communications, harass reinforcement routes with air and artillery fire, and if possible, take out higher HQs with assets like helicopters and their air-mobile troops.

Command of the battalion is, well, the battalion commander's responsibility. Here's his plan of action:
As the enemy is defending in depth with at least two echelons, our attack will also be in two echelons.
The two T-55 companies take the lead as the first echelon. They're expected to take heavy casualties but will fix the enemy in place and develop the fight so that more opportunities may present themselves.
The 2A4 company will exploit and attack any weakness in the enemy lines provided by the first two T-55 companies.

Battalion HQ move onto the hill's northern edge to provide command and control. Since the enemy helicopters will be looking for them, the Shilka section is timed to arrive on location at the exact same time as them.

The Motor Rifle company will directly assault the enemy's own infantry to reduce their threat to our tanks and clear the enemy defense.

Finally, the 2S1 battery provides direct support. In reality they would be with the second echelon and providing direct fire support, but artillery is currently unable to do this in FCRS.

The RAG and DAG in the meantime are pounding the enemy positions. Preparation fires can begin - and then last up to an hour before the assault force arrives. They not only destroy enemy assets, but also heavily drop their readiness, which is critical in making sure that we don't lose 4-5 tanks or more every time the enemy takes a shot.

Let's go.

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 3:39:19 PM   
Iron Mike Golf

 

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Be sure to read relevant parts of FM 100-2-1.

Soviets preferred to attack from the march and move to the battle in march formation. You'd see an Advance Guard providing security and the rest of the Rgt in column. The first step in transitioning from march to battle is to get into prebattle formation. This gets the Rgt into lateral and depth dispersion down to Co level. The Co itself is in column.

Transitioning from prebattle to battle occurred about 1000 m out. At that point, companies deploy platoons. The overall disposition of battalions and higher remains unchanged.

The three attack types were frontal, flank, and envelopment. Envelopment means the attack drives deep enough to cause the defender to change the orientation of his defense. Expected type of attack will drive the prebattle formation.

Frontal and envelopment attacks would likely see all elements in line formation.

A flank attack would see some elements attacking from two directions simultaneously. Some elements attacking from the front and some attacking from a side. Expect a wedge or reverse wedge depending on whether the weight is on the front or flank.

I hope this muddies things up nicely!


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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 3:53:51 PM   
Stimpak


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Unfortunately, the motor-rifle company jumped the gun and attacked way too early. The prepared enemy defense decimated them and they failed to achieve much effect. Be careful with your waypoints; even though they were synced to arrive at the same time the tanks started their attack, I didn't account for the time it would take them to move on to the hillside - do as I didn't and always use the full three waypoints when giving movement orders!



Our tanks however are seeing much more success. The two T-55 companies, with some casualties of course, have hit the enemy forward defenses hard and their close-range presence in the woods has also encouraged the enemy tank platoon to fall back. Now the fresh captured 2A4 company will move through the enemy defences while engaging the enemy rear, which at this time will include the enemy tank platoon.

Better yet, the Shilkas are effective at their job - the cobras are gunned down before their TOWs could reach their targets.



With continued artillery support, the enemy is broken and driven through by the second echelon tank company. FASCAM is deployed to block retreat and reinforcement routes.

At this point, the objective is secured and the enemy has been destroyed. Command gives us an 80% rating - Decisive success.

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 4:03:07 PM   
Stimpak


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Now obviously, you can't always have captured Leopard 2's - but T-72s would have done their job just as well. Heavy artillery fire and attack in echelon ensured their success before they even arrived on the scene.

Furthermore your axis of attack might not be considered important enough to receive the full support of the DAG - you might only have the RAG, or worse, one artillery battery at all supporting your attack. This attack could have failed easily as the enemy was in good defensive positioning. With more air and artillery support, he could have broken the back of my attacking battalion before it could employ it's own firepower.

To sum up, the Soviets and their allies (Except Poland) relied heavily on doctrine, but doctrine does not mean one trick for every show. Terrain, enemy composition, enemy position, local support, weather, possible NBC conditions, timetables, and outside situations are all factored into the tank battalion's mission. So yes, the Battalion commander's role was to choose the best option dependent on those factors. But as IMG and myself have noted - you should read through the DIA's reports as they give a good look into the inner workings of Soviet operations and tactics.

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/15/2017 9:44:31 PM   
Deathtreader


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Nice write-up.....thanks!

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/16/2017 1:07:50 AM   
Jagger2002

 

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Very nice. I have noticed that I have started using a two up and one back formation more often as the Soviets. Two companies attack with the trailing company available to reinforce or exploit or as cover to the resupply/recovery. And apparently, two up and one back is accepted practice for the Soviets per Iron Mikes FMs. The trailing company is 1500 meters back and often echeloned either right or left. And the formation is actually very useful in the game especially in close terrain.

And as a bit of lagniappe from my googling, here is a short 42 second video of a T-80 battalion on maneuvers. Video taken from a highpoint allowing a view of all or most of the battalion. Note the single trailing Strela for air defense. The full video is at the bottom of the link.


http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a19373/watch-a-russian-tank-battalion-in-full-attack/




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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/17/2017 12:32:53 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Iron Mike Golf
Soviets preferred to attack from the march and move to the battle in march formation. You'd see an Advance Guard providing security and the rest of the Rgt in column. The first step in transitioning from march to battle is to get into prebattle formation. This gets the Rgt into lateral and depth dispersion down to Co level. The Co itself is in column.


One of the great things that I enjoyed when playing TacOps years ago was how doctrinally correct the Opfor was, and it was variable to the point where you as Nato commander did not know which axis the attack was coming on. You had to select the scenario and which formation the Opfor regiment was going to use (ducks in a row, 1 up 2 back, 2 up 1 back, or 3 battalions on line) but you didn't know whether the attack was coming from the north or south or straight down the middle. So you had to fight the recon/counter-recon battle, and I really miss that variability/uncertainty in this game (so far). One of the counter-recon battle objectives was to get the Opfor to deploy early, to slow him down so you had time to redeploy as needed to meet the threat. Good stuff. Great for replayability.

I'm hopeful that Southern Storm might provide more AI variability/uncertainty along these lines?

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/17/2017 3:00:35 PM   
MikeJ19

 

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pzgndr,

Good point. I really enjoyed TacOps. I was an instructor at our Artillery School and we used it to help teach tactics - both manoeuvre and artillery. Lots of good memories.

Stimpak, great demo. Thanks for sharing!

Have a good day,

Mike

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 10
RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/18/2017 3:44:45 PM   
Mad Russian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: pzgndr


One of the great things that I enjoyed when playing TacOps years ago was how doctrinally correct the Opfor was, and it was variable to the point where you as Nato commander did not know which axis the attack was coming on. You had to select the scenario and which formation the Opfor regiment was going to use (ducks in a row, 1 up 2 back, 2 up 1 back, or 3 battalions on line) but you didn't know whether the attack was coming from the north or south or straight down the middle. So you had to fight the recon/counter-recon battle, and I really miss that variability/uncertainty in this game (so far). One of the counter-recon battle objectives was to get the Opfor to deploy early, to slow him down so you had time to redeploy as needed to meet the threat. Good stuff. Great for replayability.

I'm hopeful that Southern Storm might provide more AI variability/uncertainty along these lines?


You should see a great leap forward in variability/uncertainty in Southern Storm and all other games in the series in the future. It's one of the biggest drawbacks of the current game and the number one issue we want to address.

Chaos rules the battlefield. Mr. Murphy and his set of laws are everywhere. I try to reflect those facts as often as I can when I create scenarios/campaigns for whatever game I work with. Flashpoint Campaigns will continue to build on both those situations.


In addition, we are looking at increasing the ability to implement historical doctrine to a far greater degree.

Good Hunting.

MR


< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 2/19/2017 5:06:28 PM >


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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/19/2017 6:12:02 AM   
kipanderson

 

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MR,

"Chaos rules the battlefield."

Just the job. All you write couldn't be better.

Great engine and series looking forward to lots more.

All the best,
Kip.


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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/19/2017 6:42:27 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
You should see a great leap forward in variability/uncertainty in Southern Storm and all other games in the series in the future. It's one of the biggest drawbacks of the current game and the number one issue we want to address.


Sounds good. If scenario AIs all have multiple COAs or random intermediate objectives or something, anything to force players to assume nothing after the first play-through, that would be great. Thanks.

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Empires in Arms Development Team

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/20/2017 7:59:11 AM   
battlerbritain

 

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I like a bit of chaos and randomness in a battle.

I like the World-at-War boardgame series where if you roll a 2 or 12 when checking a unit's morale something weird happens, eg roll on a chaos table.
(Yes, I know other boardgames have a similar mechanics, eg Squad Leader).

An example of randomness:
HQ Throws you a bone: you get a heavy artillery unit assigned to you for half-an-hour
Random air wanders over the battlefield: like it says, but it randomly picks a target (enemy or friendly) and blats it
Outbreak of Morale: pick a disrupted unit and it rallies with a good drm
Spoof comms: pick an enemy stand and move it 6" in any direction


All sorts of goodies that bring a smile (or smirk) but shouldn't completely alter a game, just make it a bit different.

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RE: Russian Tank Battalion Tactics - 2/20/2017 12:33:38 PM   
Capn Darwin


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I may or may not be familiar with that game and mechanic, [nudge] [nudge] say no more.

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