Friday, April 18, 2014

Too Forward, Too Detached - Steel Beasts ProPE 3

I'm trying to catch a glimpse of what Cold War era Soviet forward detachments were supposed to do. I threw together a tiny Steel Beasts ProPE scenario in which I am part of a forward detachment from a tank regiment. I am in command of the forward security element of the detachment and my mission is to clear a small patch of the plain that will be used by the big guys as an assembly area.

Going against a troop (-) of US Cavalry, with a full platoon of M1 Abrams tanks didn't fill me with confidence. But I was surprised at our performance.

Our security element is nimble: one platoon of T-72 tanks and one platoon of BMP-2s. We left the engineers behind and rolled into contact on these vast plains. 

The first surprise was that we made contact from 4 km or so. I thought the optics of the T-72 would not allow us with an early warning like this, but yeah we saw them from way back. This allowed us to stay out of reach of the enemy tanks as much as we wanted. We drifted forward very cautiously once our call for indirect fire support was answered. In this screenshot, one of the US positions being pounded by our artillery, as seen from our position. At this point my tanks started firing and the enemy is throwing a smoke screen.

Second surprise. The 12 tubes of self propelled artillery from our forward detachment barely suppressed the enemy cavalry troop. Next time I think I will just ask for smoke to maneuver my team into a good firing position.

Third surprise. I overestimated the US M1 tank and underestimated the T-72. Here we are comfortably exchanging shots with the Americans. We outnumbered these guys 3 to 2, but we got more shots on target than them at a range of 2.6 km. Go figure! The Warthog joystick is very precise for Steel Beasts (no way I could hit those tiny dots with my old stick).

Continuing to close in was stressful enough. Enemy infantry fighting vehicles were hiding on a wooded hill at our left flank. Indirect fire drops on them, volley after volley.

We survived quite a few frontal hits. Our luck ran out when one of our tanks turned to engage an enemy IFV. He was hit by an enemy tank on his right.
After a protracted fire exchange, we eventually ran out of ammo. We lost one tank and the enemy lost 3 M1s plus 4 IFVs.
It was a great fight, but our ammo was not enough to complete the mission.



Gibsonm said...

Was your Arty firing ICM, HE/ Smoke mix or just HE?

Anonymous said...

Well you should read more about the stunned Nato and USA officers when they exchanged info with former Soviets on the equipement. Ruskies had an edge over the West on almost all fronts except the most crucial one. They fell on the economy front miserably. The T72 was not quite on par with M1 but it was a tough nut to crack. I wonder how long the primitive image formed by the western propaganda will hold. The soviets were scrapping titanium submarines when the usa was still trying to make a titanium subs. The Soviets had so much advanced technologies but lacked the monies to use them in numbers.

Lumic said...

Quite an interesting read. I have never summed SteelBeats myself but as i read your posts about it i am wondering wether i should give it i try.

It seems to be for tanks what DCS is for the A10....

LL said...

Lumic, the one-month license for US$ 10 offers a low-risk option for trying it out.