Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Tank Platoon in the Defense, Part 2: Tactical Misadventures in Steel Beasts ProPE

Continued from here.

I played this scenario with some gentlemen from a very well-known simulation community. The identities of the players are withheld to protect the innocent. :) All tanks in the platoon manned by humans except for tank #3, which was handled by the computer. I played as commander of tank #2.

Our platoon commander decided to go as the FRAGO suggested: stay in BP1, inflict some damage, call for an arty smoke mission and reverse to the alternate battle positions.

We never got a chance.

The enemy attacked our right flank (yes, the flank I was holding) and overran my position. When we detected the enemy tanks, they were at a shouting distance from my position. The call for artillery-smoke from our commander was too late as the enemy was already near our position. The enemy moved to the back to our position and took my tank, then tank #1. Tank #3 got destroyed while it was trying to reverse towards safety. Tank #4 made an heroic attempt to eliminate the fast moving enemy tanks. He took 2 of them with him.

The mission went catastrophically bad.

Below are my thoughts on why I think we failed.
  • The prepared dug-in firing positions at BP1 had good fields of fire on EA Dog. Good but not optimal.
Click the image for an expanded view. Left: map, showing our initial positions. Right column: birds-eye view from BP1 towards EA Dog. Note the prepared tank positions in front of each tank. Tank #3 and #4 had good overlapping fields of fire, but tanks #1 and 2 were separated by a small elevation covered by a patch of vegetation and they ended up with different views of EA Dog.

A close up of the individual positions of tanks #1 and #2. Note the slight elevation that separates both, which resulted in non-shared fields of fire. Click the image for an expanded view.

  • The withdrawal route from BP1 to BP2A and BP2B had no cover or concealment. We should have realized that if the artillery-delivered smoke would fail its purpose (as it did), the withdrawal towards the alternate BPs would have exposed us to enemy observation and fire.

The arrow indicates my withdrawal route, which featured terrain flat as a pancake. The thing in front of my tank is a prepared dug-in tank fighting position.

A bit off topic, I want to mention that my tank took 8 hits during this mission. The 9th was the charm ...

The red rods indicate the direction of the munition hitting my tank. Click in the image for an expanded view.


No comments: