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How to use LAV-AT, M1134, Shturm-S ext. efficiently?


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I have always been Armor/Mech man (this is were I served) and just starting to get the hang of using motorized troops efficiently. Now I have a big pile of TOW-2B Strykers and no experience in using them. 

How do you like to use ATGM-vehicles or do you use them at all? Hulldown overwatch with long range observation? Assisting spotter spots and the ATGM-vehicle moves to hulldown, engages and then backs away?

Can the M1134 Stryker (TOW-2B) compete with T-90A/AM or T-72B3 in long range fights? Medium range? I am worried the tanks spot the ATGM launch and kill the vehicle before the missile hits.

Any real live tactic handbooks out there for these?

Edited by The_MonkeyKing
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they are basically the modern equivalent to a Marder, they are primarily defensive ambush weapons. Use their mobility over their stationary counterparts to move away to reload. (edit: they can be effective at killing or annoying infantry hiding in buildings too, this is the only offensive role i can see for them)

Edited by Cobetco
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Just now, Cobetco said:

they are basically the modern equivalent to a Marder, they are primarily defensive ambush weapons. Use their mobility over their stationary counterparts to move away to reload.

Good comparison. These vehicles have huge max ranges and as far as I understand it are mostly used for long ranges irl. How do they preform in <500m range ambush situations or are MBTs just going to chew them up?

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In my experience they do about as well as a Tank on the defensive (key word there) at sub 500m ranges, with the big deciding factor in many of these engagements being who spots who first, giving the defenders a pretty massive advantage. Their advantage over tanks in this realm is simply cost.

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In theory the ATGM carrying vehicles are good at engaging targets from a long distance. But that requires a good, uninterrupted LOS, which is not going to happen to often on most of the maps. The tank would always fire first, while the ATGM is much slower than the tank gun projectile. Plus tanks are well protected in comparison to the light vehicles, that carry ATGM. So in real terms, the tank destroyer vehicles won't be very useful. The infantry teams are much more effective because they are easier to conceal than the vehicles. In one epic, defensive battle that I played as a Stryker company against Russian mech batalion, the Javelin teams killed about 10 tanks, while all the TOW-2B Strykers got killed before they even fired at the enemy. I just don't find those vehicles very useful. 

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"...requires a good, uninterrupted LOS, which is not going to happen to often on most of the maps."

Ivanov hits the nail on the head.  It's very rare to experience long range combat the way the weapons systems were designed for on CM2 maps... with the exception of CMSF and the large desert maps designers often make.  Which is why so many of us are excited about CMSF2.

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One thing that does help is the new 'hull down' command. Park your vehicle hulldown to a line of approach and just sit there. You should at least get one good shot off before they react. If you try maneuvering into position within sight of the enemy try doing it behind a cloud of smoke, then hope as the smoke dissipates that you spot him before he spots you.

I read something interesting awhile ago. During one training exercise at a gunnery range the vast majority of Bradley gunners failed to hit their target with TOW, and a sizeable  number failed to launch at all! TOW doesn't seem to exactly be a 'magic bullet'.

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13 hours ago, Ivanov said:

In one epic, defensive battle that I played as a Stryker company against Russian mech batalion, the Javelin teams killed about 10 tanks, while all the TOW-2B Strykers got killed before they even fired at the enemy. I just don't find those vehicles very useful. 

I have a strong suspicion this is the same battle that caused me to start scratching my head on how to rock M1134 Strykers.

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I think the ATGM are one of those units that make sense on a larger strategic scale that what is present in CM games. they exist as an defensive Anti Armor detachment for mobile infantry, by all regards a static TOW2 launcher makes more sense in CM because its cheaper and stealthier, but its less mobile. but in CM's scale that doesn't matter.

the same issue exists in the WW2 titles too with Marders, they make very little sense to take, since in their role they are inferior to a Pak40. Its only when you zoom out a step that things make sense.

that being said I'm still happy to have them, because I don't feel like CM should be made into a super competitive game. Its more fun to Roleplay an understaffed Panzergrenadier Div force than figure out some sort of strict meta for how the game should be played.

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  • 2 years later...

I presume M1134 TOW Strykers need to be stationary to use/aim/fire a TOW? Any other things one has to do? I don't see a deploy weapon command, so I assume thats it?

 

Any idea how long from target sighting/acquisition to actual firing (seconds)? It will obviously vary with crew skill.

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I recall with Javelin BFC factors in the time it takes to spool-up the missile's gyros before launching so there a few seconds of lag time. I don't know what they do with TOW but its not exactly a quick-draw gunfighter. Its easy to do a test, put a TOW Stryker on a QB map and target a distant building, see how long it takes for launch.

The farther away you can get from the action with TOW (or pretty much any missile platform) the better. If possible have the missile fly the full width of the map to KO a target. Still, in Iraq Stryker Brigade was using TOW Strykers as close infantry support in city fighting. They'd often be launching their missiles from minimum arming range, which is only 80-90 meters I think.

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If there is a vehicle I’d like to take out with the styker tow on the offensive I like to drop smoke on the target vehicle. Then move the styker into position give it a tight arc wait for the smoke to clear and KABOOOM. Either way, hopefully it will be the enemy’s vehicle lol.

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I've recently been using 2 LAV-TUAs in the Canadian SF2 campaign. The last mission was a big COIN operation against guerrilla ATGMs in a dense urban area, surrounded by fields.

I started using the TUAs to launch the thicc TOW missles at suspected ATGM sites in the town. The 25mm bushmaster on the other LAVs often suppressed rather than killed.

The TOW can destroy buildings very quickly and give you confidence that the target was proper destroyed. Letting the 25mm's to deal with foot mobiles and RPGs.

I like the Marder comparison. Treat these vehicles as infantry launchers with wheels/tracks, rather than proper AFVs. They're better than having a crew lug them around, but present a bigger target.

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Outside basic defensive positions, I use them as long range overwatch for other advancing units.  These units exist in both CM and Steel beasts.  I find them much more useful in Steel Beasts because the maps are much larger than a typical CM map.  But they can still be useful in certain maps in CM.  Some  of the older ATGMs, like the AT-3, need between 200 and 500m for the launcher to gather in the missile's flare.  That's not much larger than a lot of the maps in CM.

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I recall reading long ago that 'typical' LOS in western Europe is about 1200(?) meters (That statistic came out of the cold war days, back when we were anticipating fighting in central Germany). There's always going to be another tree-lined road crossing the horizon, another cluster of buildings, another copse of trees. Its the rare occasion where you're able to fire down the full length of a river valley. That's both good new and bad news for ATGMs. The good news is there's plenty of opportunity to find defilade positions. The bad news is its rare that you're going to find positions firing out to max range.

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Guys,

Things to consider

1) Units which are designed to fire TOW-2 can see through normal battlefield obscuration and mortar/artillery smoke, just not the broadband obscurants. This is a major advantage against a foe not having thermals. Exploit this!

2) Using M2 CFVs static from the get (not rolled into position on call), using Cover Armor Arc and in keyholed positions, have frontally gotten the drop on and defeated T-90AMs. In the first case outright with no loss, in the second, was spotted in time to engage and destroy the CFV, but the TOW2 arrived overhead as the launch vehicle and still killed. ER 2 x  T-90AM K=Killed for loss of 1 x M2 CFV K-Kill. Was back in the trees a bit, and the T-90 AMs were engaged while just inside their tree line on the other end of the map. Having better sensors, I saw them before they saw me. Don't know whether any hulldown state applied for me on the hilltop, but what I'm certain of is that this fight was played very soon after the game released, since I was a pre-order. Would say pick a good position initially and stay put until after the engagement concludes, then reposition. Don't count on moving into position undetected, then fire, see what happens, then retreat or shift. 

3) Don't know whether the M901 ITV, though certainly capable of firing TOW-2 (any TOW launcher could just like a Gen One TOW), had the thermals to enable the missile to operate through battlefield obscurations and non-broadband smoke.

4) Shturm-S is daylight only, since it relies purely on optical tracking for SACLOS operation. Regular mortar or artillery smoke will blind it. Shturm-SM is day/night capable. Interestingly, it appears the Shturm-S is not even on par with the T-62 when it comes to optics, for the T-62's TKN-1 had/has both an integrated daylight channel and limited capability (400 m range vs a tank sized target) image intensifier channel (greater with benefit of flares). 

MikeyD,

If you were in the Fulda Gap, that would be more like 750-800 meters. 

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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On 8/15/2020 at 9:49 AM, MikeyD said:

I recall reading long ago that 'typical' LOS in western Europe is about 1200(?) meters (That statistic came out of the cold war days, back when we were anticipating fighting in central Germany). There's always going to be another tree-lined road crossing the horizon, another cluster of buildings, another copse of trees. Its the rare occasion where you're able to fire down the full length of a river valley. That's both good new and bad news for ATGMs. The good news is there's plenty of opportunity to find defilade positions. The bad news is its rare that you're going to find positions firing out to max range.



I've been playing through the Command Ops 2 Battle of the Bulge scenarios and have been repeatedly surprised how often I've been engaged from 1.000+ meters. Doing a quick google maps check from positions near Marvie you can draw a clear LOS nearly 2.500m. Whats key, at least in Command Ops 2, is that these long engagements are not particularly lethal but at the same time you don't want to sit around taking the fire or advancing over open ground while 88s are throwing shells. As a result it does inform your attack plans or whether you leave a Coy on a hill and so on.

As technology improves the ability for these marginal positions to affect the battle increases. In 1944 you can have a big gun chucking rounds 3km and not be too worried about it. In 2010 or 2020 a TOW missile covering the peak of the hill can totally change the layout of a fight.

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