Sunday, February 2, 2014

Steel Beasts ProPE 3.0 - The Battle for Tskhinvali: A Humble Foothold (2 of 2)

The anticlimactic detour to make up for lack of punch and alternatives to get back into cover. They call it a flanking maneuver ... We were just not in the mood for euphemisms.

This a continuation of a previous entry. A platoon of 3 Georgian T-72M1 tanks, part of a forward detachment has found itself too close to Russian tanks near Tskhinvali and undertook a wide flank maneuver to regain distance and engage in better terms.

The elusive fortunes of tactical combat often boil down to the capricious folds of earth. Our thoughtful and careful approach onto the enemy's flank didn't yield a good deep field of fire as we have expected. This went on for kilometers. We ended up hull-down at a small crest, slightly short of 1 km from the enemy position. The reflexes of the tankers on my command were enough to destroy the first enemy tank, which judging for its facing, it has already detected us. The second enemy tank is behind a tree, but I fire nonetheless.

The other two tanks in my platoon are not engaging the enemy tank so my tank's crew fires no less than two rounds to the Russian armor behind that tree. The rounds meet their target, followed by a spirited puff of black smoke that marks the end of the firefight.

One of the tanks in my platoon moving forward for a quick touch and go on the enemy's position.
As soon as the enemy tanks are destroyed, Georgian troopers and vehicles rise from their cover and move into objective Parma.
Tank-infantry cooperation near Tskhinvali. Not fun for a tanker to stay stationary in this relatively open country, but the built up terrain ahead needs to be carefully occupied by infantry.

Georgian troopers, moving into the heights east of Tskhinvali. The pace of movement was quite slow, even without any enemy resistance.

From the AAR file, the round that killed the first Russian tank. Note how both enemy tanks have changed their facing towards our axis of advance.

From the AAR file, the round that killed the second Russian tank. This tank is popping smoke and retreating, strangely showing his left flank to us.
They say a tactical commander should never appreciate terrain from a map. During a meeting engagement in unknown country, that maxim comes out as wishful thinking of prodigious proportions. Our "tactical detour" was decided on the premise that deeper fields of fire would be restored to us. We ended up in a close knife fight, with not even the surprise factor on our side.

Tactical combat forces us to confront contradictory options. Most of us ponder the most evident of them, the ones that are forced upon us or the ones and (worse) the ones that combine into dilemmas. In this case, I forgot about options as soon as I embarked onto my platoon's route. Options do not freeze when your command crosses the line of departure. While the range of the enemy's position was shortening, it never crossed my mind to rewire my approach.

I wish for being able to perceive and deploy the fullest combat power of my command, on a whim or even in desperate battle, and to impose it overwhelmingly upon the enemy's.



Filippo said...

I'm glad your platoon of T72M1 won this little skirmish, I'm curious what ammo did you use to achieve T 72B frontal armor penetration at 1st shot?

badanov said...

That you were able to avoid a "knife fight" is a testament to your tactics. I would have opted to get in up close and personal, but you didn't and you won.

Well done.

Gibsonm said...

"Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted."

Do a map recce

Confirm on the ground.

Then launch.

No artillery to suppress the enemy / screen your approach?

JC said...

Hi Filippo. The round was a BM-32.
Hi badanov. Well, I was not too fond of a ~1km range. But it could have been worse.
Hi Gibsonm. We had only a couple of mortars. I could have smoked my way in but I found myself too close to use them.