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Ivan Zaitzev

Learning the ropes of IFV combat

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I don't know much about modern warfare.I'm more of a WWII guy and can't say I'm very good at that either. So, could you guys point me to any good source about combat doctrine using AFV, IFV, etc. in modern times? Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Ivan Zaitzev said:

I don't know much about modern warfare.I'm more of a WWII guy and can't say I'm very good at that either. So, could you guys point me to any good source about combat doctrine using AFV, IFV, etc. in modern times? Thanks!

For sources, FM 3-90.1 is the field manual for the Armor-Mechanized Team, which is to say how the US Army plans to fight at the Company level in a mixed force of tanks and mechanized infantry, so there's a lot of "how to" for IFV forces.  

Just a few quick notes:

1. In the world war two context, an IFV without troops is basically a cross between a light tank, and a tank destroyer.  It cannot trade blows with anything reliably (the ERA or APS models can resist infantry anti-tank weapons, but not especially reliably, all of them will resist autocannon fire for only a short time, and virtually every single one of them is ultra dead if a tank is shooting at them), but has a lot of firepower.  Autocannons parallel what you'd expect a 37 or 50 MM gun to do in the 1944 context, kill light vehicles easily, damage tanks from favorable angles, and do quite well against infantry.  The ATGM is pretty hit or miss, against anything with an APS it's pretty much a waste, but your mileage varies against anything else (TOW-2B is pretty amazing against anything that is not APS equipped, a lot of the Russian stuff struggles against any sort of ERA etc).

2. When loaded with troops though, it's best to view the IFV as a half track.  It's simply way too easy to lose entire squads if you're aggressive with a fully loaded IFV.  You can get close to the battle, but generally, you want the infantry and IFV attacking and assaulting the objective as a unit vs the IFVs assaulting with full troop bays.

3. In terms of spotting, the US IFVs are practically super-natural at range, and are great tools to find the enemy.  You'll still want to lead with infantry, but there's a good chance the Bradley will be shooting at targets your infantry hasn't found yet, especially at range.  The Russian/Ukrainian IFVs are not good for this, and will rarely spot anything before its infantry does.  

4. On the offensive, the best world war two analog I can think of would be playing CMBN with a platoon of armored infantry and a platoon of M5 Stuarts.  You have a lot of firepower on hand, but you must be careful when you present the vehicles, it doesn't take much to kill them.  Often it's best to let the infantry get into the fight a bit, and once the enemy is more known, then you flex the armor onto the enemy.  Often you'll have to use area fire with the non-US IFVs, but the effects can still be decisive.

5. On the defense, think of them like AT guns that can move if they have to.  You want to set them on good fields of fire, tied in with the infantry they transported.  Seek out good well protected positions, as if the enemy starts shooting back, the IFV will not survive for long.  It's often best to plan for a follow on position for once the first position is exposed, or comes under effective fire.  It's important at this point to consider how you want to deal with this follow on position, is it simply an alternate from which the IFV can continue to support the infantry, or is it a totally new position you might want to move the infantry to too?

6. The IFV should virtually always be accompanied by tanks on the offensive or in open terrain.  It should always be accompanied by infantry in the defensive or in urban/woodland terrain.  He gets lonely and sad and may explode if you keep him away from his friends.

7. All IFVs rely on ATGMs for anti-tank operations.  Where this gets weird for gamey reasons is sometimes the TAC AI decides the chaingun is the best choice for anti-armor work, so it'll splat a bunch of 25 MM AP against the frontal slope of a tank, and then get murdered.  Also It's possible if tank and IFV spot each other at the same time, the engagement speed of the tank's gun is just so much faster that it'll kill the IFV before the missile is able to strike home.  

Because I'm bored, some short impressions of the tracked IFVs in game:

Bradley: Fear this thing.  It spots well, can kill anything that's not a tank with its chaingun, and with the ERA, is able to take some hits and still plug along. On the downside it's pretty spendy if you're going by QB points, and has almost no real AT capability against anything with APS.  

BMP-2: Rubbish.  It doesn't spot well, rifle grenades will knock it out, and it takes somewhere around 10-15 seconds it seems to launch ATGMs (and they're not especially good ATGMs).  On the plus side, getting more than a few of them is easy in QB, they're pretty zippy, and if you're using it to support infantry, it's quite handy as 30 MM fire ruins anyone's day.

BMP-2M: Much of the above, although there's some issues in game with getting it to fire ATGMs I believe.   I don't know, I haven't used them much.

BMP-3/3M: Tricky.  Decisive if used well, positively terrible if used anything less than well.  On the plus side an astounding amount of firepower, the 100 MM is great at knocking out enemy strongpoints.  It also has a great airburst capability if you're facing trenches.   Reasonable ATGM.  On the negative side it only has armor in the sales brochure, and given the amount of ammunition contained within, it explodes when knocked out.  And not like, oh, drat I have lost a IFV explodes, like kills everyone within the vehicle, takes out the squad next to it, and mobility kills the T-90 nearby level explodes.  More than anything else you have to make sure it's "safe" to employ.  If you can get it into position, it'll be the king of murder mountain.  If the enemy can hit it with literally anything bigger than 7.62, it's going to die loudly.

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23 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

6. The IFV should virtually always be accompanied ...  He gets lonely and sad and may explode if you keep him away from his friends.

BMP-3/3M: Tricky.  ... On the negative side it only has armor in the sales brochure,

Excellent - informative and funny all in one post. I'll be bookmarking that post.  Thanks.

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This was spot on...IFVs are fantastic against infantry and can be deadly when dug in...but I really like the M5 Stuart analogy...very accurate depiction of the relative firepower and survivability of any of the IFVs against modern tanks OR ATGMs...think Panzershrecks on sterioids...IFVs can take maybe one hit from an RPG or ATGM if it has ERA or APS, but that crew is going to back up really quick if you know what I mean...and then they may panic out of the fight for a while...essentially a mission kill even if the vehicle isn't knocked out.

And of course, spot on relative comparison of the Bradley to its Russian/Ukrainian counterparts...other than that darn 100MM gun on the BMP-3, I'll take a Bradley over a BMP any day...

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LOL...third the funny/informative content. I love my BMP-3...when it's in distant overwatch. I love my oppo's BMP-3 because they took all the effort to put a vbied right where I want it, and I get to make it go "boom". And "boom". And "boom", again. :) That thing must've been produced to help reduce some sort of weapon surplus.

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On 28/08/2016 at 1:30 PM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

For sources, FM 3-90.1 is the field manual for the Armor-Mechanized Team, which is to say how the US Army plans to fight at the Company level in a mixed force of tanks and mechanized infantry, so there's a lot of "how to" for IFV forces.  


Bradley: Fear this thing.  It spots well, can kill anything that's not a tank with its chaingun, and with the ERA, is able to take some hits and still plug along. On the downside it's pretty spendy if you're going by QB points, and has almost no real AT capability against anything with APS.  

BMP-2: Rubbish.  It doesn't spot well, rifle grenades will knock it out, and it takes somewhere around 10-15 seconds it seems to launch ATGMs (and they're not especially good ATGMs).  On the plus side, getting more than a few of them is easy in QB, they're pretty zippy, and if you're using it to support infantry, it's quite handy as 30 MM fire ruins anyone's day.

BMP-2M: Much of the above, although there's some issues in game with getting it to fire ATGMs I believe.   I don't know, I haven't used them much.

BMP-3/3M: Tricky.  Decisive if used well, positively terrible if used anything less than well.  On the plus side an astounding amount of firepower, the 100 MM is great at knocking out enemy strongpoints.  It also has a great airburst capability if you're facing trenches.   Reasonable ATGM.  On the negative side it only has armor in the sales brochure, and given the amount of ammunition contained within, it explodes when knocked out.  And not like, oh, drat I have lost a IFV explodes, like kills everyone within the vehicle, takes out the squad next to it, and mobility kills the T-90 nearby level explodes.  More than anything else you have to make sure it's "safe" to employ.  If you can get it into position, it'll be the king of murder mountain.  If the enemy can hit it with literally anything bigger than 7.62, it's going to die loudly.

Well, that;s how they modelled it in the game. "SUpernatural spotting" at long range..well... without question better than the BMP-3M or BMP-2M in RL but I think there is a slight exagerration on the US side and slight under-representation on the Russian side in the game. 

Russian, AT-5As, AT-13s, PG-7VR warheads, AT-14, AT-10 stabber and AT-15s are all tandem warheads and will kill a Brad without breaking a sweat from all aspects. At-5As,  PG-7Rs and AT-13 will struggle against the ERA on the abrams sides since they are double blocks (not enough residual penetration left )  on the hull and there is a bug where the single row of Era on the turret combined with a bug on side turret M1a2 armor resistance will defeat the 950mm tandem warhead on the AT-13. It should punch through with at least with a partial penetration a regular basis. The PG7VR should not btw. 

Bmp-3M will resist .50 from the front all day but will have sub-system damage pretty quickly.  Sides ? depends where it hits but mostly a liability. The one with ERA blocks will protect it against .50 on the sides and the 40mm HEAT grenade until ERA blocks are depleted.  

I've played almost exclusively russian since the game came out. The few scenarios that I've played as the US, I got my butt partially handed to me which is funny since thats contrary to most player`s experiences. 

Edited by antaress73

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Re: Optics

We've gone over this in depth and detail.  US vehicles mount more, and significantly more advanced optics.  If it was just a matter of more, or better optics, it'd be a lot more narrow, but as the case is, if you've got more of something, and it's better than the competition, you're going to see superior results.

As the case is most Russian IFVs have what the Soviet Union gave them which results in some difficulty.

Re: ATGMs

These really should not be your prime anti-AFV system.  You don't have many missiles per track, and many of them have problematic relaods.  Ideally you should be able to use your autocannons to kill like vehicles.  This is a major weakness of Russian IFVs when facing the Bradley, given the imbalance between the overall "system" (optics-FCS-gun-ammunition combined with protection differences*) that comprises competing platforms.  The ATGM exists on IFVs largely to replace existing dedicated anti-tank platforms within infantry formations (such as the M901 in the older US mechanized formations), not to fight similar platforms.


*Basically think of it as probability/kill ratios colliding.  The Bradley has a very good chance of shooting first/killing first and a not terrible chance of surviving getting shot first.  The BMP will struggle to shoot first/will not likely kill in the first salvo, and is not robust enough to have a reasonable chance to survive getting hit if it fails to kill first.

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16 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Re: Optics

We've gone over this in depth and detail.  US vehicles mount more, and significantly more advanced optics.  If it was just a matter of more, or better optics, it'd be a lot more narrow, but as the case is, if you've got more of something, and it's better than the competition, you're going to see superior results.

As the case is most Russian IFVs have what the Soviet Union gave them which results in some difficulty.

Re: ATGMs

These really should not be your prime anti-AFV system.  You don't have many missiles per track, and many of them have problematic relaods.  Ideally you should be able to use your autocannons to kill like vehicles.  This is a major weakness of Russian IFVs when facing the Bradley, given the imbalance between the overall "system" (optics-FCS-gun-ammunition combined with protection differences*) that comprises competing platforms.  The ATGM exists on IFVs largely to replace existing dedicated anti-tank platforms within infantry formations (such as the M901 in the older US mechanized formations), not to fight similar platforms.


*Basically think of it as probability/kill ratios colliding.  The Bradley has a very good chance of shooting first/killing first and a not terrible chance of surviving getting shot first.  The BMP will struggle to shoot first/will not likely kill in the first salvo, and is not robust enough to have a reasonable chance to survive getting hit if it fails to kill first.

I wasnt saying  missiles are my primary anti-AFV weapon. I was saying the Brad`s ERA wont do much against them. I can ideally surprise Bradleys from the side or rear with the auto-cannon. I also get the drop more often than you might think when on defense even when slugging it out frontally. The new 30mm APFDS on the BMP-2 and BMP-3 featured in the game will penetrate the Bradley 100% of the time  frontally. Which is NOT the case with the old 30mm ammo.  One thing you MUST do on BMPs is to leave a detached infantry two man team inside to man the commander`s position and more advanced   optics. The commander has a thermal camera with a pretty wide angle view on the BMP-3M and a panoramic thermals on the BMP-2s. If you dont, you only have the narrow field of view of the gunner`s sight to spot with and yeah... good luck with that againt Brads. The BIG disavantage is that you end up with 4 men infantry teams. Russian (soviet) doctrine insisted that the BMP's firepower should compensate but I`m not sure. They did that to reduce the silhouette and making that thing harder to hit and spot. But with modern thermals and FCS, that design philosophy doesnt offer any advantage anymore, it only makes this design philosophy a ****ty deal. That's why the Kurganets is now so big. They dont care about the silhouette anymore. 

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Ivan Zaitsev,

In playing my current CMBS QB, which you can read about here, I discovered something very important when handling Bradleys. If you Hunt, you can shoot TOWs without waiting for the next turn. Hunt reflects high alertness and cautious movement, allowing near instant response to threats. This saved my bacon when I happened to spot a T-90AM before it saw me. Considering TOF, the margin of survival was about a second. His guy got off a shot in the blip in time before the tank exploded, but it went sailing barely over the turret of my Bradley. Had I been in any other movement mode, other than stopped, I would've been unable to fire TOW.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the tank sees you first and fires, catching you with smoke expended because people keep lasing you and forcing you to slam into reverse, then your LWR goes off right before the KE or or HE Frag smashes into you. Trophy won't save you! The Bradley is a tremendous weapon system, but while it's pretty survivable vs many ATGM threats and can handle at least earlier Russian 30 mm fire, the only time it should really be dealing with tanks is while defending. What I did in the first example was a fortunate fluke of sorts as I sought to edge forward to see better.

Regards,

John Kettler

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9 hours ago, Jammersix said:

He who has the Bradleys wins!

you are funny :) I played a quickbattle against a friend and my troops lost 2 BTR-82As and killed 12 bradleys. Russians do not believe in independent infantry anymore. So having guys running around as Russian is pointless.  Put a scout team in the BTR-82A to act as commander/leader to man the sensors and act as spotter and see how close it is between it and the Brad. On defense, it`s a great Bradley killing machine. The BTR-82A, BMPs (latest) are not meant to be used separately. They dont have a commander ! You lose 80% of his spotting ability if you dont detach a scout team from its infantry squad and leave them in the vehicule. If you dont dio that, yeah you`ll get crushed since only the gunner with his limited field of view will spot. 

 

One thing though, in a test, on a plain vanilla BMP-2, it took 20 seconds between the commander (leader) in the turret spotting a brad and giving the info to the gunner so he could spot it too and engage it. It happens much faster (1-2 seconds)  on BTR-82As, BMP-2Ms and BMP-3s, Is that normal or a bug ? Or the commander of those vehicules can ovverride the gunner and slew the gun towards the contact ? 

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speaking of bradleys... a lowly platoon of BRDM-2 AT5Bs (three vehicules) killed a Bradley platoon by themselves. Here's the last kill for your viewing pleasure:

They were farther from each other, compression view because of the camera zoom.

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And the surviving infantry squad (dismounted) exacts revenge when the BRDM tries to withdraw (my mistake, slow reversed instead of turning around under cover and fast move out of there):

 

 

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I'm starting to love thse BRDM-2 AT5s.. cheap, small, fast, spots pretty well, tandem warhead missile with 750mm-800mm of pen, can fire at close range (minimum range is 80 meters I think), and can fire 4 missiles in under a minute. Also good looking thanks to Kieme's mods. 

Edited by antaress73

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8 hours ago, Erwin said:

"You lose 80% of his spotting ability if you dont detach a scout team from its infantry squad and leave them in the vehicule." 

That's critical info.  Thanks...

But is it true?

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I offer only a (now old) anecdote on the first (I think) russian campaign mission. I was frustrated with my BMP-3 spotting ability with only driver and gunner, so I put some of the dismounted squad members back into it as "cargo". Shortly after I spotted lots of units, particularly infantry. But it seems information was not relayed inside the vehicle between the crew and "cargo". Even several minutes later with the units still spotted and in view, the main gunner was not engaging, and I suspect the spotting was mostly done by the bow gunners.

My conclusion at that time was that BMP-3 terrible at spotting without additional crew members, and that with additional crew members decent to rather good at spotting, but you still had to manually area fire (with the vehicle, since only the "cargo", and not the crew, had spotted the units) on the contacts.

Curious, how does it work in real life? Would the squad leader be most likely to stay inside the vehicle as commander, or to go outside and lead his dismount element?

Edited by Muzzleflash1990

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There was a bug when the leader you left in the vehicule wasnt communicating with the gunner. They fixed it and yes, It will greatly enhance spotting . Think about an additional piece of good optics scanning 360 around the vehicule.. without it, there is only the gunner and he spots  where the turret is pointed at and thats your spotting ability : very limited 

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The only problem with leaving infantrymen inside the vehicle is, that most likely they all will die with it. I always keep them dismounted whenever there's a risk of enemy contact.

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I found a fix, but I am not sure it is the same as what you are talking about antaress?

Quote

FIXED: Vehicles with a dismounting vehicle commander (such as a BMP's squad leader who also doubles as a vehicle commander) not getting the proper benefit of having a trained crew commander when the leader was in the vehicle.

It doesn't explicitly talk about spotting. But, assuming it is, it seems to specify that it is only the squad leader/crew commander, that can give that bonus? So if you split the squad up your squad, the element you put back into the vehicle has to contain the squad leader (also from the same squad) for you get any benefit?

Edited by Muzzleflash1990

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