Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tank-Infantry Teams in ARMA2: Basic Concepts

"We have gotten into the fashion of talking of cavalry tactics, artillery tactics, and infantry tactics. This distinction is nothing but a mere abstraction. There is but one art, and that is the tactics of the combined arms."
Major Gerald Gilbert, The Evolution of Tactics (London, 1907)

Every combat arm has strengths and weaknesses. Since ancient times, commanders have used different combat arms in concert to maximize the survival and combat effectiveness of the others. In the modern battlefield, some form of combined arms is required even for survival.

The strengths of tanks are well known: great firepower, great mobility and great armor protection. One of the weaknesses of the buttoned up tank is a limited field of view. This weakness becomes serious  in terrain where the field of view is obstructed by closely located vegetation or buildings. In these cases, tanks can rely on infantry teams to see and hear what the tank crew can't. In turn, infantry gets the benefit of increased firepower.

This blog entry series is centered around USMC infantry and how it feels to cooperate with tanks in ARMA 2. This is not about tank tactics (ARMA 2 is not an armor simulation) but rather what infantry does in cooperation with tanks.

On the use of tank-infantry teams in the USMC, it is kinda curious that doctrine manuals suggest that tanks are never integrated with infantry units smaller than a company. However:

  1. If the situation demands, a tank platoon (or a tank section) can be assigned to an infantry company. This is called tanks in direct support (DS).
  2. Tanks in DS of an infantry company are now subordinated to the company commander, who in turn may assign the tanks to an individual infantry platoon. The reinforced infantry platoon commander may make some interesting combinations (more of that in a future post)
  3. The minimum amount of tanks assigned to a platoon is a section of two tanks. This minimum is respected religiously. Tankers will refuse to fight without a wingman. :)
  4.  About bullet point #1, if the situation demands, generally a combination of close terrain and a serious  AT threat. See the screenshots below.

This is tank country. Leave the tanks alone to do what they do best.

Now we are talking. These Marines are pulling all around security for the tank. The Marine in the foreground is covering the dead space above the tank.

These woods offer the enemy lots of options for an AT ambush.

Peeking around corners, something tanks can't do very well.


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