Thursday, December 29, 2011

Steel Beasts ProPE V2.64 -Tank-borne Smoke Grenades, Soviet Style

There is this interesting thread at about the T-72M1. The part about the relatively high distance that the smoke grenades are thrown from the tank caught my attention.

In that thread, a couple of fellow virtual tankers pointed out that in Soviet tanks the smoke grenades are thrown so forward (compared to their Western counterparts) in order to assist in the offensive. Just after the preparatory artillery barrage, the T-72s emerge from cover and dash towards the enemy, throwing smoke forward to gain a couple of hundred meters of closing ...

I had the opportunity to command a company of T-72M1s in a hasty attack against a town defended by a company of Bradley M2s IFVs. Smoke served us well  ...

I was in command of the advance guard company of a tank battalion. We were to remove a small bump in the road so the battalion could keep its advance towards its objective. A company of Bradley M2A2 IFVs was about to start its defense preparations within a town in our path.

Tactical situation. My forces are the blue ones. The town where the enemy is located is about 2 km wide. Note the TRPs (black crosses in the enemy-held town). An artillery preparation is mandatory.

The main threat to our tanks are the anti-tank missiles of the Bradleys. Fortunately, we are equipped with latest generation smoke grenades that can block their IR imaging systems.
1st platoon moving up, seconds before deploying into combat formation.
Due to the nature of the terrain in front of the town, our attack ended up leaning heavily on our left flank. The road in our left flank provided a covered approach into the town. In this image, 1st platoon moves forward while an indirect fire mission (grey smoke in the backgroung) falls onto the enemy position.

The last push forward. 1st platoon closes into the town immediately after the indirect fire mission is over. Note how they are using smoke to cover their advance (white clouds in front of the tanks). 
I kept my tanks at a healthy distance from the town to avoid fire from dismounts hidden within the houses. We were able to destroy 9 (out of 12) Bradleys to the loss of 3 T72M1s. The majority of enemy destroyed vehicles were in the southwest and middle parts of the town. Although we never intended to completely clear the town (i.e. including hidden dismounts), we needed to destroy all the enemy vehicles remaining in the northeast.

We started moving in bounds, parallel to the axis of the town, with my commander tank in the lead. More indirect fire missions were called on the suspected enemy positions.

That artillery fire (grey smoke) definitively didn't help to find out the remaining enemy vehicles. Here is one target as seen from my tank. I'm unbuttoned and looking through the binoculars.

Now here is the fun part. See how the Bradley in the image above is behind a slight elevation in the terrain? This meant that in order to hit it, I would have to drive my tank ahead. In this case, that driving distance was some 40 meters or so. As I moved the tank forward, I immediately came under fire from my right flank. There was another enemy vehicle watching my tank.

I aimed the turret to the right and deployed two rounds of smoke grenades, which fell some 80 meters away from my position and covered a wide arc (white puffs in this image). This screen allowed me to totally ignore the threat on my right and move back and forward with impunity to engage the target in front of me. In this screenshot, one round goes into the target within the town. 
If this would have been an Abrams tank, the smoke screen would have been too close to my position and my freedom to move forward would have been significantly decreased. It's pure geometry, the closer to the peeping sights you place a wall, the less they can see you.



Mike said...


Which scenario is this?

Anonymous said...

>Fortunately, we are equipped with latest generation smoke grenades that can block their IR imaging systems.
Isn't simple white phosphorous smoke IR-blocking?

JC said...

Hi Mike,

Generic, training scenario provided by a fellow tank sim enthusiast.

@ Anonymous: by default in the editor the T-72s are assigned the 3D6 smoke grenades. These do not block the TIS of the Bradley M2A2. I was advised by my friend to change the smoke grenades load to 3D17, which seems to work like a charm as judged by the enemy's shooting. I haven't confirmed that in the simulator.