Saturday, November 8, 2014

Iron Front Liberation 1944 - Taking German Halftracks Into Contact

My standard practice was to dismount my panzergrenadiers as soon as contact was established. But I may have been dilapidating my maneuver capital.

Today's custom-made scenario: the enemy holds a tiny bridgehead on our side of the river. Near a pontoon bridge, an immobilized enemy tank plus two squads of Soviet infantry hold for dear life, reinforcements across the river due very shortly. Ourselves, a German panzergreneadier squad plus a Pak 40 AT gun, towed and carried by two halftracks.

A couple of dozen yards from the enemy bridgehead, my two halftracks are in full contact and defeat enemy infantry, front and flank. No significant portion of my infantry has dismounted, as the firepower of the halftracks' MGs are enough to cut the enemy infantry short of any attempt to move or fire. I dismount a couple of grenadiers to unhitch and push the AT gun towards the bridgehead. An occasional rifle round pings here and there, but we must continue to move forward.

Eventually, I dismount a small team of infantry from the front half track to help us with our soft flanks (see mid background).

The enemy tank is protected by the depression of the riverbed, out of sight for the moment. But the enemy pontoon bridge can be seen across the river.
A panoramic view of our limit of advance. Note the Soviet tank in the far background, just a few meters from the river. We pushed the AT gun into a hull-down-like position.

Target! Note how we can barely see the enemy tank. We advanced until we could just fire at it.

The enemy tank took six rounds until it was finally destroyed.

And then we moved our gun's bore toward the enemy infantry reinforcements coming across the river. With the help of the halftrack's MGs, the carnage was extreme.
I was never in contact with my troops still mounted in halftracks. Off course there was not a single AT threat other than the enemy tank. But this tank was out of line of sight at all times.

The fast advance towards the bridgehead left the enemy with no time to cross the river and deploy the reinforcements. If I would have dismounted my infantry right after contact with the enemy squads, the story would have been much more different.



Johan said...

The halftracks were of course designed to have the infantry fight mounted from it, that's why it's open topped.

But that is not possible in Arma 2/Iron Front. However, firing from vehicles has just been introduced for Arma 3, so it should be possible to fight mounted in any future WWII mod for Arma 3, or if Iron Front ever gets updated for Arma 3 (which I guess is unlikely, I think the devs have movied on to other projects now?).

Gibsonm said...

"The halftracks were of course designed to have the infantry fight mounted from it"

Yes assuming there is no appreciable anti armour threat. So as here the Halftrack armour protects the passengers from the Infantry small arms.

If the enemy has any half decent anti armour capability, then unless you suppress/neutralise that capability you end up with a burning vehicle and a bunch of passenger casualties who would most likely have survived better if they we away from the vehicle.

Gibsonm said...

"survived better if they we away from" should read:

survived better if they were away from

Johan said...

Sure, I didn't mean to imply that the infantry should always fight mounted. But they can certainly deal with enemy infantry with AT weapons, and AT guns while staying mounted. In fact, one primary use of the halftracks were to support tanks by protecting them from AT threats that the tanks might have a hard time spotting and dealing with.

JC said...

Thanks for the comments, gents. It's a pleasure to have you here reading these humble notes.