Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Steel Beasts ProPE - AAR - Breathing Space - Part 1

Our brigade was hastily withdrawing west towards a new assembly area. The brigade's counter attack needs to wait for the units to reform and replenish. My platoon was no different, but we were closest to the enemy and deemed in the best position to delay the enemy.

Something different today. I'm going to be commanding the crew of a US TOW missile team. This is game play from a Cold War, custom made, single player scenario.

In The Art of Maneuver, Robert Leonhard questions the rationale of medium and heavy anti-tank weapons, which puts dismounts to fight tanks on tank country. I would argue that many times the tactical commander has no choice but to fight on the wrong terrain. In this AAR, an infantry platoon dismounted from their M113 IFVs executes a delaying action at a town.

The tactical situation. The leading elements of a Soviet forward detachment (tanks and BMPs, red icons) are probing towards the village in the center. This village offers good cover for my dismounts (blue icons) and I positioned them in the west side of it. Three smoke fire missions (red rectangles) are on the ready with the purpose of breaking up the combined field of fire of the enemy vehicles. Note how the M113s were left in the back (west). My TOW missile team is on the treeline, near the vehicles.
The town's layout follows the contours of a small river. There are two crossing points over this river and I have covered those with the infantry's AT-4 (short range rockets). The enemy is attacking/probing from the right.
My TOW missile team in the back of our delaying position. I am at the edge of the treeline, scanning for targets in the distance (far background), east of the village. Note the open tank country from where the enemy is approaching.

Dismounts of the 4th Squad in a position overlooking the south most river crossing.

The first enemy formation to show up was a Soviet tank platoon. Here shown cresting the ridges east of the village (in the shallow valley, mid background).

Our TOW infrared target acquisition system is good enough to distinguish vehicles up to 4.5 km. In this picture, the enemy vehicles have just started to roll down the slope towards the village. The wide view of the TOW's targeting system has two brackets from which one can figure out if the targets are within range. In this case, the enemy tanks look smaller than the bracket and are indeed out of range.
The narrow field of view provides a more detailed picture. But the enemy is still out of range.

Once apparently in range, I fire and guide my TOW missile (propulsion hot stuff is orange, in the cross hairs) onto the target. In this case an enemy tank.
A well prepared defensive position would require an extensive work of the sector/s of fire, so one would know exactly when to fire based on pre ranged landmark. In this case, there is no such guidance and I had to guess. This lack of references fits on the theme of a hasty delaying action. I have to confess that my missile was fired out of necessity too: the tanks were about to get into the cover offered by the town. The seasoned tactician will notice that I am also engaging the enemy vehicles from their front instead of the preferred side shot.

I guided that missile with all care and I saw an impact. But the fate of the tank was unclear yet.

More is coming stay tuned.



Gibsonm said...

Well I'd start by saying calling a M113 an IFV is very generous. :)

The other point I'd suggest is that even if you don't have landmarks and a range card per se, you can make one pretty easily.

Draw a line on the map 3,750m or so from your TOW team icon, when the red forces cross the line they should be in range.

Looking forward to see how it pans out.

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