Continuing with my USMC tank-infantry teams series, the next topic is protecting an immobile tank in open terrain.
Although the M1 Abrams is an all-around solid and reliable tank, off course sometimes problems will show up. In this entry, an M1 has been immobilized because of a broken torsion bar. The tank can still fire. Help to move this tank to the rear area is on its way and a USMC rifle squad is tasked with protecting it until then ...
The next image shows the place where the M1 tank is sitting. It is hilly but generally open terrain.
It is very important to keep in mind is that the tank is still firing. Given its tremendous firepower, this is no small thing.
The mission of the squad is to protect the tank from close assault with RPGs or other AT portable weapons.
The surrounding areas where the tank can't fire upon are called "dead spaces". In this case these are areas behind the hills.
The following snapshots are taken from the tank's perspective. Directions are specified using the "clock technique", with the tank's hull (not the turret) as reference.
12 o'clock. A wide and deep field of fire in front of the tank.
3 o'clock, right flank. The terrain behind that hill in the background is off limits for the tank's weapons.
4 o'clock. The tank has a good field of fire to the right of the green cursor, but the last part of the slope at the left of the cursor offers nice approach route for an enemy close assault into the rear of the tank.
6 o'clock. A flat hill located at a moderate distance from the rear of the tank.
7 o'clock. A small depression between hills. This is another good approach route for AT infantry teams.
9 o'clock. The lowest hill is on the left flank of the tank. Terrain behind that hill is off course off-limits for the tank's weapons.
Given that the tank is capable of firing, it will have an important role in its own defense. I usually start the fire plan by assigning the main field of fire for the the tank. The terrain just in front of the tank offers the widest fire sector with the longest range. So, the tank's main field of fire will be just in front of it.
Now, it is time to choose the fields of fire for the rifle squad.
First thing first: tops and crests of hills are awful firing positions. The tops of the hills can be seen and fired upon from many places simultaneously. The tops of hills are great to take a peek, but once you are spotted, you better move out of there fast. If the enemy is trying to sneak into our tank he is better off by moving near the base of the hills surrounding the tank (not at the top of the hills). Besides that, an RPG shot will need to travel more from the top than from the base of a hill. I don't think that ARMA 2's AI knows this, but that's how it's done in real life.
Coming up next: fire plan for the rifle squad.