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DO NOT fall asleep when riding


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For tank riding grogs. A Marine manual from the Korean War:

-5. TRANSPORTING INFANTRY

At times, the tank platoon may be required to transport Infantrymen on its tanks (Figure C-7). This is done only when contact is not expected. If the tank platoon is moving as part of a larger force and is tasked to provide security for the move, the lead section or element should not carry infantry.

Figure C-7. Sample positions for Infantry riding on a tank.

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a. Procedures, Precautions, and Considerations. Infantry and armor leaders must observe the following procedures, precautions, and considerations when Infantrymen ride on tanks:

(1) Infantrymen should thoroughly practice mounting and dismounting procedures and actions on contact.

(2) Infantrymen must always alert the TC before mounting or dismounting. They must follow the commands of the TC.

(3) Infantry platoons should be broken down by squads, similar to air assault chalks, with the infantry platoon leader on the armor platoon leader's vehicle and the infantry platoon sergeant on the armor platoon sergeant's vehicle.

(4) Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and team leaders should position themselves near the TC's hatch, using the external phone (if available) to talk to the TC and relay signals to the unit.

(5) If possible, the lead vehicle should not carry Infantrymen. Riders restrict turret movement and are more likely to be injured or killed on initial contact.

(6) Whenever possible, Infantrymen should mount and dismount over the left front slope of the vehicle. This ensures that the driver can see the infantrymen and that the infantrymen do not pass in front of the coax machine gun. Infantrymen must ensure that they remain behind the vehicle's smoke grenade launchers. This will automatically keep them clear of all weapon systems.

(7) Infantrymen must always have three points of contact with the vehicle, and they must watch for low-hanging objects such as tree branches.

(8) Infantrymen should wear hearing protection.

(9) Infantrymen should not ride with anything more than their battle gear. Rucksacks should be transported by other means.

(10) Infantrymen should scan in all directions while riding. They may be able to spot a target the vehicle crew does not see.

(11) Infantrymen should be prepared to take the following actions on contact:

Wait for the vehicle to stop.

At the TC's command, dismount IMMEDIATELY (one fire team on each side). DO NOT move forward of the turret. DO NOT dismount a vehicle unless ordered or given permission to do so.

Move at least 5 meters to the either side of the vehicle. DO NOT move behind or forward of the vehicle.

DO NOT move in front of vehicles unless ordered to do so. Main gun discharge overpressure can inflict sever injury or death to forward dismounted Infantrymen. (See Figure C-8 and the warning.)

DO NOT dangle arms or legs, equipment, or anything else off the side of a vehicle; they could get caught in the tracks, causing death, injury, or damage to the equipment or vehicle.

DO NOT place too many riders on the vehicle.

DO NOT fall asleep when riding. The warm engine may induce drowsiness; a fall could be fatal.

DO NOT smoke when mounted on a vehicle.

DO NOT stand near a moving or turning vehicle at any time. Tanks have a deceptively short turning radius.

DANGER

THE OVERPRESSURE FROM THE TANK'S 120-MM CANNON CAN KILL A DISMOUNTED INFANTRYMAN WITHIN A 90-DEGREE ARC EXTENDING FROM THE MUZZLE OF THE GUN TUBE OUT TO 200 METERS.

FROM 200 TO 1,000 METERS ALONG THE LINE OF FIRE, ON A FRONTAGE OF ABOUT 400 METERS, DISMOUNTED INFANTRY MUST BE AWARE OF THE DANGER FROM DISCARDING SABOT PETALS, WHICH CAN KILL OR SERIOUSLY INJURE PERSONNEL.

Figure C-8. Danger areas around a tank firing a 120-mm main gun.

Figure C-8. Danger areas around a tank firing a 120-mm main gun.

b. Additional Considerations and Precautions. Additional considerations and preparations for transporting Infantrymen include the following:

(1) The armor—

Uses main-gun fire to reduce obstacles or entrenched positions for the Infantry.

Takes directions from the Infantry ground commander (platoon leader/platoon sergeant/squad leader) to support their fire and maneuver.

Provides reconnaissance by fire for the Infantry.

Should know and understand how the Infantry clears buildings, how they mark cleared buildings, the casualty evacuation plan, signal methods, engagement criteria for tank main gun, front line trace reporting, ground communication from the tank with the dismounted personnel.

Uses its night vision capability to augment and supplement the Infantry's night vision capabilities.

(2) The Infantry—

Provides real time information for the tank crewmen to help them overcome tank noise and the lack of ground situational understanding.

Provides reconnaissance and fire direction of enemy positions for main gun attack.

(3) Considerations for dismounted tank security include the following:

Tank crewmen should rehearse the mounting and dismounting of Infantrymen from their vehicle, briefing the Infantrymen on safety procedures for the vehicle and weapon systems.

Tank commanders need to rehearse communicating with dismounted soldiers via TA-1 and DR-8 in the bustle rack.

(4) Vehicle preparation for combat in urban terrain should cover these procedures:

Keep at least one ballistic shield to the "Dog House" closed (most engagements will be under boresight range and the battlesight technique will suffice).

Place sandbags around antenna connections and electrical wiring on the turret top.

Place extra coax ammunition inside the turret.

Remove all highly flammable products from the outside of the vehicle and from the sponson boxes.

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I recall someone on a long-ago post describing a training course where the instructor said "I will now instruct you how to properly (insert obscure combat practice here). I want you to NEVER do this in combat, do you understand?" Just because there are official procedures for riding atop an Abrams tank turret or entering building through a second story window does not mean that its either sanctioned or advisable.

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