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CMSF 2 BETA AAR #2 – Syrian Probe (Quick Battle)


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Even though the other BETA AAR is still going on, I expect it will end very soon.  I had already promised to take IanL on in a second game to fill the time, so here 'tis.  I hope it fills the time lef

I was in real life (a cannon cocker - FIST Chief, Btry Fire Direction Officer, Bde Fire Support Officer, and Arty Bn Fire Direction Officer). Although it's been a while, for preplanned fires your comm

MINUTE 1 ..and we are finally under way.  No action this turn, so sorry @c3k, no gifs showing stuff blowing up yet.    In order to ascertain whether there are any of Ian's units in the far l

Posted Images

4 hours ago, Artkin said:

These gifs keep getting better and better Bil. That T62 looks awesome in those shots. Great work. 

Agreed. Never thought I would be oggling a T-62. Yet here I am, fascinated by a gif of that very tank. Bil might be a wizard...

Looks like things are starting to heat up!

(Edit: Just realized what an embarrassing pun that was 😳)

Edited by IICptMillerII
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Great animation? Indeed. Even better is the net you're casting. Like a spiderweb, the least tremor on the most remote strand will travel to the center and induce a reaction. Or something. Hmmm. Arachnid. Yeah. That.

;)

Love it. 

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MINUTE 4

As 2nd Squad moved a little closer to the enemy contact, one individual stayed upright just a few seconds too long and fell to what looked like dismounted infantry fire.   What I'm going to do in this sector, as I don't think these two squads and the BMPs can actually take on even a single enemy squad and light armored vehicle is pull 2nd squad back (after throwing smoke) so they are on a line with the 1st Squad (2nd Platoon HQ element).  The BMPs will both be pulling back into hull down positions.  I am also sending them some help.. but I want to keep that as a surprise for later.  :) 

04-003.png

The AT-13 team on Star Hill did identify one enemy infantry contact on the Farm Objective.

04-001.png

Meanwhile 1st Platoon's infantry is moving carefully through the field next to the objective.

04-002.png

The following image shows their movement plan, with listening halts and staggered movement so all units are not moving at the same time.

04-004.png

My plan for this first objective is as follows (refer to the image below):

  • The T-62M and the marked BMP will both move forward and pop smoke... I will allow that to build for a bit.  
  • The infantry platoon will continue to advance carefully toward the objective
  • The T-62 (1975) and the other BMP will move to jump off positions and wait for the smoke to build.  Once it is sufficient both BMPs and both T-62s will move quickly toward the objective
  • The AT-14 teams in the UAZ will move forward, my intent with them is to get them to dismount and take up overwatch positions where they can fire into the depth of the map
  • I have plotted two mortar smoke missions at two of the probable HD positions (TRPs :HD3 and HD4) overwatching this objective.  These will arrive in three minutes and are intended to support follow-on movements after I capture this objective.

The smoke is intended to (hopefully) blind any enemy units in Support By Fire (SBF) positions deployed in depth.  It will hopefully allow me to move my armor through the area exposed to these potential enemy SBF positions and into the objective safely.  The infantry is moving and should arrive ahead of the armor to provide AT suppression if required.

I know there is at least one enemy unit on this objective and suspect it is probably lightly held.. there could always be one or two more units, so I am not taking anything for granted.  

By the way, there is no wind in this scenario, so I am hoping the smoke will dissipate very slowly.

04-005.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
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MINUTE 5

2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon failed to throw smoke.. and they did not move s ordered.  That's okay actually.. I'm going to keep them where they are as it gives me a trip wire in case Ian sends some dismounts over the top.

05-003a.png

The light armor started to pull back, and my first BMP also pulled back into a hull down position.  

05-003b.png

The light armor continued to reverse, and a new contact appeared moving as indicated.  It actually stopped just a little in front of the position shown.

05-003c.png

Final positions. 

I actually expect Ian to send a dismounted team over the top.. to defend against this, the 1st Squad (Platoon Leader) will be moving to get eyes on the top of the ridge.  

05-003d.png

I also have 3rd Squad overwatching.. this squad is about 250 meters from the ridge 2nd Squad is on.

05-004.png

In the 1st Platoon/A Company zone, the BMP and T-62 fired off their smoke grenades as the infantry continued to move forward.  I will be speeding up the two squads in the rear a bit as they are moving way too slow.

05-002.png

On Star Hill Ian started firing an artillery mission on my AT-13 teams.  This must be pre-planned, as there were no spotting rounds.  The right side team takes two casualties... I will be trying to pull both teams out of the impact zone next turn as quickly as possible.  I am an idiot for setting up there as it is such an obvious piece of key terrain. 

05-001.gif

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Arty hitting Star Hill: yeah, it may've been obvious...but sometimes you've got to take the obvious risk. OTH, pre-planned arty means he'll have less later. I'd attack.  ;)

 

I like the planned ambush if he sticks a head over the hill near 2nd Platoon. That'll be interesting.

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14 minutes ago, Lethaface said:

Thanks for another great AAR post!

Could be a TRP as well.

I had thought about that, but the fact it landed on turn 5, also the fact that it seemed centered, not on the AT-13 team, but on the top of the hill, or just slightly behind id it makes me think its likely pre-planned.  Still, I could be wrong, not that it really matters.. but if he has a TRP on that hill, then I am going to want to stay away.

10 hours ago, c3k said:

Arty hitting Star Hill: yeah, it may've been obvious...but sometimes you've got to take the obvious risk. OTH, pre-planned arty means he'll have less later. I'd attack.  ;)

heh.. yeah.. need a little more information to be able to do that.  :D 

Quote

I like the planned ambush if he sticks a head over the hill near 2nd Platoon. That'll be interesting.

I also have more headed to that sector.. so it could get interesting very soon.

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1 hour ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I had thought about that, but the fact it landed on turn 5, also the fact that it seemed centered, not on the AT-13 team, but on the top of the hill, or just slightly behind id it makes me think its likely pre-planned.

Is there actually any reason why the pre-planned artillery can't be "x minutes", rather than 5/10/15 - having "danger turns" seems incredibly gamey, given the information you can derive from it.

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It's most likely based on the response times of different guns, nationalities, training, and etc. you can't base response times on today's response times of U.S. batteries. Also, each fire mission requires selecting Immediate, 5 minutes, 10 minutes delay time in addition to the response time to actually begin firing. I wasn't a cannon cocker or commander, but I'd imagine that for planning purposes, the company or battalion commander would preplan a fire mission using delay times such as in the game.

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6 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I had thought about that, but the fact it landed on turn 5, also the fact that it seemed centered, not on the AT-13 team, but on the top of the hill, or just slightly behind id it makes me think its likely pre-planned.  Still, I could be wrong, not that it really matters.. but if he has a TRP on that hill, then I am going to want to stay away.

Sharp analysis. Another thing that supports your position is 'why bother with a TRP for a position already easily observed?'.  

Anyway, one of the things I have learned (the hard way) while playing CM is to generally stay away from the best positions, unless one has the capability to directly dominate with superior firepower (and apart from sneaky hiding etc). Not that I'm trying to school the master here 😉

I have 'appreciated' that lesson especially as the RED forces in CMSF, one of my favorites in CMx2. FWIW my RED vs BLUE doctrine basically had evolved to:

* You have been seen; Assume you have been observed and or are currently under observation if not hard blocked by terrain or hiding with good concealment.
* You will die; Assume any forces in (virtually) any contact will stop existing as an effective force after said contact, even if the engagement is successful (i.e. significant casualties are caused)
* So, always be ambushing; hide troops and only open fire (relative) close. If possible let the enemy move between your lines before opening fire. Locally overwhelm, maximum risk and maximum result.

--

I also do like your ambush there with 2nd platoon, especially with the BMP-2s in overwatch. While their observation is poor and have virtually no armor, the 30mm provides quite some firepower. If they manage to actually get a ATGM off on target, it's a big bonus.

I'm rooting for RED, keep it up! :)

Edited by Lethaface
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4 hours ago, domfluff said:

Is there actually any reason why the pre-planned artillery can't be "x minutes", rather than 5/10/15 - having "danger turns" seems incredibly gamey, given the information you can derive from it.

Maybe it just boils down to having limited options available in UI. How long would the list be if you offered 0 t/m 30 minutes. What problem does it solve over just offering a few at 0/5/10/15 etc? Is it worth it making a select from list button, do we have space for that, etc. Don't know really, but might not be that straightforward.

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4 hours ago, Vet 0369 said:

It's most likely based on the response times of different guns, nationalities, training, and etc. you can't base response times on today's response times of U.S. batteries. Also, each fire mission requires selecting Immediate, 5 minutes, 10 minutes delay time in addition to the response time to actually begin firing. I wasn't a cannon cocker or commander, but I'd imagine that for planning purposes, the company or battalion commander would preplan a fire mission using delay times such as in the game.

I was in real life (a cannon cocker - FIST Chief, Btry Fire Direction Officer, Bde Fire Support Officer, and Arty Bn Fire Direction Officer). Although it's been a while, for preplanned fires your comment about delay times, from my experience, is the case. The fires would be timed toward expected movements. Having things in 5, 10, 15 minute intervals is about as close as you could think of for someone arriving at a specific location, or be ready to jump off from a LD while the fires are underway.  I get the point about "gaminess" thinking that it's 5 minutes into the game so take cover, but I never timed anything to the minute.  

For on-call fires of course, we would calculate and get rounds downrange ASAP.  That is UNLESS the call for fire requested some particular time on target. That would be a very unusual situation though. Normally on-call CFF is someone in need of assistance NOW!!

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MINUTE 6 & 7

AT13 PLATOON

On Star Hill, the artillery stopped toward the end of the 6th minute... but not before losing one complete AT13 Team, and one member of the second.

06-07-A.png

 

2nd PLATOON

Apologies, I keep calling this 2nd Platoon overwatching squad 3rd Squad, when in actuality it is 2nd Squad.. anyway, obviously they have been spotted by Ian as a spotting round hit nearby in the 7th Minute... they took one casualty from this. So next turn will be running for the BMP to remount and get under cover.

06-07-B.png

 

A COMPANY

In the A Company zone, the advance continues.  The enemy contact is very old now, and no other contacts have been identified.  My armor, behind their smoke screen have now advanced very close.  Now the infantry will advance past them and assault the objective.

06-07-D.png

 

BMP3 PLATOON (3rd PLATOON)

With all the eyes I have over in the 2nd Platoon Sector I am spotting nothing.  I do have the BMP-3 Platoon trying to get around the flank of the enemy vehicle contacts, but am rethinking that strategy as obviously they have been spotted... the tree deflected round in the following image proves that.   By the way, I have no idea where that round came from, the BMP-3 should be masked from Ian's positions at this point.

06-07-C.png

 

FRUSTRATION

I am rethinking this entire game now.. he can spot me obviously, I cannot spot him.  I have eyes in pretty good positions that should be able to see "something" but all I am getting are sound contacts and very few of those.  This map is very open, and if I can't start to identify Ian's strength and weaknesses then I can't attack him, I am not the type who identifies an approach and simply rushes down it without some reconnaissance.  The trouble is I don't think I have the combat power to be effective on this terrain or to force my way through anywhere... I should probably have purchased a company of tanks with a platoon of infantry support (that was an early option I checked out).. but I wanted to come with something a little more balanced.

So I am going to take a day or so and give this one a good rethink...  I may need to throw my T-72s in a lot sooner than I had hoped.  I do hate that I seem to be getting sucked into a meat grinder on my left too.. I may need to cancel that and go defensive there and find another way.

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While I have always admired your ability to use western techniques like the recon pull, this illustrates issues that I see a lot of gamers facing when using Eastern Bloc forces.

Attack by echelon is brutal, simple, predictable and effective. I would suggest focusing on a command push, using the forces you have at hand, and using the appropriate doctrine for them. A T-72 is not a worse Leopard, it is a lethal weapons system when used in its intended role.

This post by JasonC in the CMBB forum fundamentally changed how I think about Soviet forces and has made me a much better player at not only CMRT and CMBS but any wargame that puts me in command of units that start with "T" instead of "M".

Quote

am going to address the fundamental formation aspects of the question and ignore the cold war context, because half to the nuclear coping aspects of that era's doctrine was frankly fantasy from start to finish. There are the basic tactics the Russians actually used successfully in WW II, and their conventional update to cold war conventional thinking, which isn't too far from that practice. And then there is the pipe dream of dodging thousands of tac nukes by being dispersed or "pentatonic" (the US version of the idiocy). The latter basically isn't worth comment, it is approximately as intelligent as "duck and cover" drills. So I will stick with the WW II version and its general, not specifically Russian let alone post-war, principles.

 

First to clear up the loose usage of "echelon". It is being used to mean three

or four things, none of which are its original or proper meaning (which certainly

isn't "trainload", by the way). Echelon in a formation. It means subelements

are staggered off to one flank with each trailing and to the same flank of the

one ahead of it. Echelon right means the farther right you go, the farther back

that subelement is, and echelon left means the other way. This is the basic or

underlying meaning from which all the others are loosely derived.

 

Many of the tactics being describe here are instead *column* tactics, and refer to a different formation in which the subelements are directly behind one another. The term column is sometimes avoided in that sense because it can be confused with still being in *road column*, which simply means a column with a frontage of one vehicle, whereas a column formation means a frontage of one subelement, with the formation within that subelement left unspecified, but potentially as broad as a 1 rank line.

 

An attack in which the first element hits and fixes the enemy, and the second

hits again in the same spot as a second wave, and a third exploits a breech

expected to result from the first trading off the enemy and the second taking

his positions, is not an echelon attack properly speaking. It is a column

attack.

 

An echelon attack properly speaking is meant to defeat an enemy by turning

one of his flanks - exactly one. And to do so not by wide maneuever but

as a progressively escalation of and widening of a frontal attack. The

first subelement is oriented directly on the enemy and matches his width.

It attacks and fixes the enemy; the attack is typically not pressed home

fully but it is not a mere screening action, but an actual attack. This

can be unpleasant for this component of the attacking force, but it draws

the fire and attention of the defenders, and this is what is meant by

"fixing" them. Not restricting their maneuver, incidentally.

 

The whole attacking formation is expected to outnumber the defenders by

a step size amount or roughly 3 to 1, and the the fixing element is therefore

the same size as the defenders' entire force. The whole attacking formation

begins in true echelon formation, echeloned to the right or the left. The

frontal attack occurs *first*. The second subelement is, by the definition

of echelon formation, off to one flank of the fixing attack. It may be a

staggered echelon with some overlap with the initial force (half or a third

of its frontage are common amounts of overlap), or it may be completely

clear of the fixing force in the lateral direction. The third is similarly

displaced with respect to the second, and trailing by an equal interval,

as well.

 

So what happens next in a true echelon attack? The second echelon does *not*

hit the same frontage as the fixing attack, because the attacking formation

is not column, but echeloned right or left. The whole attacking formation

remains in motion, and therefore some time after the fixing attack has begun,

the second echelon reaches the active battle front, off on one flank of the

existing battle. Perhaps overlaping, perhaps not. It continues straight on,

and therefore it either collides with some supporting defensive unit off

on that flank, or if there isn't one, a portion or all of the second

echelon will "hit air" to one side of the defenders or the other.

 

Assuming no immediately contiguous defenders of equal power (since that

would imply equal overall odds, not the superiority expected), the second

echelon will strike only part of the defense, as a second wave, and will

extend beyond its flank. Its mission is then to turn into the defense,

not to get clear of it. It is the levering portion of an overall,

sequentially delivered turning movement. The part past the defender's

flank continues a modest distance and reorients defender-ward aka

inward, and presses home on that defender's flank.

 

The third echelon is, by the definition of echelon formation, still further

to the same flank and still further trailing. By the time it reaches

the initial battleline, the fight of the other two elements should be

well developed. Moreover, the degree of overlap of the staggered

formations is always half or less, and therefore the third echelon is

always completely clear of the frontage the first echelon hit directly.

Since the battle is continuing to develop and the second echelon is

working to roll up the defender's flank on the same side, the active,

live portion of the defense is expected to extend less than its full

initial width in that flank's direction, by the time the third

echelon reaches the original battleline.

 

The *entire* third echelon should therefore hit air, if all has worked

as intended. Moreover, the flank of the defense that it is passing

around, is being actively attacked by the second echelon, as the moment

the third reaches that point. The defense is expected to be engaged

in two directions, by superior forces, for an extended period of time,

by the time this stage is reached. All of the above is expected to mean

the opposition the third echelon directly encounters will be *minimal*.

 

The role of the third echelon is emphatically not to act as a reserve,

or to support either of the other two attacks, or to pick some weak

spot and add its weight to the attack there. While the second echelon

deliberately turned toward the defense, seeking battle, the role of the

third is to *avoid* the remaining defense, and to exploit the gap

expected to have opened on the flank of the defense hit by the previous

echelon. The third echelon is to "haul ass and bypass", heading straight

for the rear beyond the defenders as fast as possible, ignoring its

own flanks.

 

This is meant to put a force as large as the original strength of the

entire defense, alive, untouched, in their rear, having passed "close

aboard" one of their flanks, as that flank was actively pushed away from

the point of passage (to avoid hitting further supporting defenders too

far from the originally hit enemy unit). The third echelon is to drive

well behind the whole defense and then to establish blocking positions

behind them, in a tactically defensive posture to prevent their escape.

At this point the defense should be surrounded on three sides, and the

attacker has a intact route into the interior of the defender's zone

for following units. The defenders are expected to be reduced by the

attacks so far, and to be doomed by the force behind them far too strong

from them to attack through on their own, under pressure.

 

That is the principle of an *echelon* attack. In shorthand, the first

echelon fixes, the second turns the defense, and the third exploits.

But not from column, nor by hitting the same point in three waves, but

precisely by extending the battle repeatedly in the same flanking

direction at separated time intervals. One may also regard this formula

as a kind of "total dose" that is unwilling to pick between a frontal

assault, a turning movement, and an outright bypassing attempt, which

tries all three in succession hoping one will work, or that the synergy

from trying each of the previous will make the next easier. (lol)

 

It is also meant to be so simple, so hardwired into the original

formation of the attacking unit, that the subcommanders can't screw it

up, and no real decision making or virtuousity is needed by any of them.

The second echelon doesn't need to do something different depending on

what happened with the first, or base on what scouts say about where the

enemy's flank actually is, or where he is strong or weak. If the enemy's

position is too strong and too extended, the second echelon winds up

delivering another frontal attack - and the whole attempt has to bump up

a step size in scale. That's about all the "online learning" needed to

adapt the attack. It can therefore be delivered rapidly from the march.

 

From their roles in an echelon formation or attack, the sub-elements

themselves come to be designated as echelons. Thus the loosely usage to

mean just the first, second and third "thirds" of the overall force to

reach and engage the enemy. Which is then transfered to descriptions

of *column* tactics, in which all of the subelements follow *directly*

in each other's footsteps. But strictly speaking, column tactics are

column tactics and echelon tactics are echelon tactics, and they are

not the same.

 

A third form of loose usage speaks of 2 up, 1 back formations, which are

strictly inverted wedge formations, or the reverse, the true wedge

formation, as being "in echelon". Because the same principle of a

staggered supporting unit occurs with those formations, as with the first

and second elements of a true echelon formation. If a portion of a wedge

or inverted wedge is unengaged by the enemy, it can "act" as the third

echelon. The third echelon gets conflated with any reserve. But these

are loose adaptations that arise from some of the same principles of

echelon tactics, applying to those other common formations.

 

Defensively, an echelon formation is used to meet a threat to one of the

flanks of the unit, as a kind of refused flank, with elements of reserve

flexibility. Compared to a true refused flank, which might put 2/3rds

of the formation in line across the main expected axis of enemy advance, with

1/3rd angled back to defend a threatened flank, the echelon formation in

defense in less linear and puts less of its force right along the expected

front line. But it is reasonably close to putting 2/3rds in that formation

with a remaining third held farther back in reserve - the reserve is just

prepositioned opposite an expected threatened flank instead of in the

interior or rear of the formation.

 

I go through all of this at such length because I find the looser usages

maddening in the confusion they can cause, compared to the crystaline

geometric clarity of the original and underlying meaning. Which is brutely

simple. Nearly all the real effectiveness of the idea comes from the

brutally simple original version and not from the complications and

qualifications and adaptations of the looser meanings of the term.

 

Compared to first accurately knowing the enemy's flank and enveloping

it by maneuver alone in silence and with surprise, echelon attack is

potentially much more expensive, less artful, less clever, attritionist,

all the usual hate-words of the perfectionist maneuverist. But it is

incredibly robust to battlefield friction and confusion, while perfectionist

ideals cannot be expected to survive contact with a trap-laying enemy.

Especially in the hands of a perfectly average, merely professional commander.

The required roles can be reduced to a clear duty based on position in the

formation.

 

"I am in first echelon, therefore as soon as I find the enemy I must put my

forces on-line and attack him vigorously".

 

"I am in second echelon, therefore I must march to the sound of the guns,

extend existing friendly forces and envelope the enemy, attacking from the

moment of contact".

 

"I am in third echelon, therefore I must heed all reports of the preceeding

waves, avoid enemy strength, and drive hell for leather into his rear. Only

once across his main routes of withdrawal should I deploy, to block his

withdrawal."

 

These are maneuevers that can be accomplished knowing where friendly forces

are and how they are doing, almost exclusively. Perfectly accurate and

timely information about the dispositions of the *enemy*, are not strictly

required, though they can of course make each force's job easier.

 

No one trying to make Russian doctrine into a perfectionist formula to

meet each contingency with the perfect counter, understands that doctine.

Its guiding star is, instead, simplicity, clarity, and robustness to friction.

 

Echelon tactics now being understood, it is trivial to answer Adam's actual

question. Forward detachments do not use echelon tactics. They screen.

In some circumstances they might act as a first echelon or transition to that

role, by delivering a fixing attack as their supporting main formations

maneuver against an open enemy flank or deploy into a standard echelon attack.

But normally a forward detachment only seeks to fight enemies so small it

completely outmatches them, and even then only does so to gain information -

that is, to prevent an enemy screen from denying the forward detachment

the ability to see the bulk of the enemy force.

 

A forward detachment normally just wants to establish visually and by experience

of taking enemy fire, where the enemy positions are - and to deny to the enemy

any information about where its own covered main elements are. Its normal

tactical posture is defensive - or in CM terms "move to contact". Once in

contact it may snipe, it might look for an open flank to see more or lever

a small enemy force out of position, or it might try to bowl over a small

roadblock if the commander thinks it a bluff rather than a real position.

All recon tactics, flexible and up to the detachment CO.

 

A first echelon of a main formation, on the other hand, considers its tactical

stance not its own autonomous affair, but an integral part of a scheme

of maneuver of its larger parent. If it finds the enemy it is to attack

him outright, regardless of the chances of winning, simply to develop the

battle from the decisive remaining echelons. Not merely screen, and not

based on the COs assessment, nor based on his real time intel picture. He

is first echelon, so he attacks, because that is what his role is, that is

what will allow the remainder of the formation to do its own jobs, etc.

 

Maneuverists in the west fixate on forward detachment roles in Russian

doctrine as closer to their own flexible mindset with its recon pull and

close intel adaptation. The Russians only employ that for gathering info,

and do not rely on it for actual battle. Compared to western thinking, their

tactics are formulaic, brutal, direct, and apparently unadaptive. That they

are also reliable and highly dangerous to the enemy is occasionally admitted,

but usually this is put down to their alleged similarity to pet fetishes of

western thinking (breakthrough, flanking to avoid strength, flexibility and

recon pull, etc). This is projection, and not the internal logic of the system

itself, which is scarcely even noticed.

 

And from US Field Manual 100-2-1 The Soviet Army: Operations and Tactics.

Quote

5-24 Battalion Attack

A typical tank or motorized rifle company attack frontage is from 500 to 800 meters. Platoons normally attack on a frontage of 100 to 200 meters, with 50 to 100 meters between vehicles. The frontage of a 4-tank platoon attached to a motorized rifle company could extend to 400 meters.

There would probably be little maneuver evident in platoon and company tactics. These subunits normally attack on line, in unison. However, maneuver probably will be evident in the way a battalion commander moves his companies.

Normally, company and battalion commanders are located centrally and slightly to the rear of lead ele- ments in combat vehicles with extra antennas. If commanders are killed, the attack probably would not grind to a halt but would be carried forward on its own momentum. However, elimination of tactical com- manders would diminish coordination of the attack, especially fire coordination.

Conduct of the Attack

Mounted assault speed is approximately 12 kilo- meters per hour (200 meters per minute). This speed allows tanks to fire from a brief halt, allowing one aimed round to be fired from the main gun. There are indications that the Soviets are striving to increase mounted assault speed to 20 kilometers per hour to reduce vulnerability to antitank weapons. Dismounted assault speed is approximately 6 kilometers per hour.

Soviets prefer motorized rifle units to assault mounted.

If a dismounted attack is planned, a dismount line is designated, within about 400 meters from the FEBA. If possible, dismount is performed with the BMPs or

BTRs in defilade to protect riflemen from machine gun fire and vehicles from antitank fires. Factors favoring

dismounted assault are-

  • *  Strong enemy antitank capability.

  • *  Well-prepared enemy defenses.

  • *  Fords or bridges.

  • *  Obstacles or minefields.

  • *  Rough terrain: no high speed avenues of attack.

  • *  Maximum firepower needed.

    1. The most probable array is:

      * Line of tanks
      * Line of dismounted infantry * Line of BMPs or BTRs

    1. or

      * Line of tanks
      * Line of BMPs or BTRs

  1. Dismounted riflemen follow closely behind tanks. The BTRs or BMPs normally remain within 100 to 400 meters behind tanks and fire through gaps between tanks. If the terrain is rugged or heavily wooded, motorized rifle subunits might lead the assault.

The artillery preparation should end just before first echelon elements reach the FEBA. Fires are normally shifted on command of maneuver commanders within about 200 meters of lead elements, depending upon weapon caliber. There is no pause between the preparatory fires and the start of fires in support of the attack. While fighting through enemy defenses, maneuver elements will be preceded by a pattern of intense artillery and mortar fires. Fires like the rolling barrages of World War II are unlikely; however, fires on successive concentrations or lines will be provided.

Fixed-wing air strikes normally are used for targets beyond artillery range. Attack helicopters provide close air support on the FEBA in direct support of ground units.

Subunits go into the final assault moving at maximum possible speed.

Combined Armed Tactics

The essence of the attack and final assault is combined arms cooperation based on the close and uninterrupted interaction of all forces to best exploit their capabilities. Each arm provides strength and protection where another arm is weak or vulnerable.

The Soviets believe the tank is the major ground force weapon. The tank is the keystone of combined arms cooperation in the attack. Concern for the enemy antitank threat is the dominating factor in coordinating the combined arms effort. For this reason, Soviet tanks normally carry more high explosive (HE) rounds than antitank (AT) rounds.


Tank fires are directed by tank company commanders and platoon leaders. An entire tank company may engage an area target with salvo fire. Tank platoons engage area orpoint targets at the direction of platoon leaders. Platoon leaders direct fires by visual signals, radio, and designation with tracer rounds.

 

In summary, use the tactics developed for the equipment you have. By analogy, I often see players in CMFI complain about Italian forces. While there are obviously shortcomings with the equipment and organization of the Italian Army in the Second World War, many of the complaints stem from trying to accomplish missions using doctrine tailored for other forces.

Take for instance the Infantry Battalion: The Italians do not have MG focused squads like the Germans, and do not break down into small 4 man teams like the Germans and Western Allies. This breaks down the fire-and-movement tactics at the squad and platoon level players are used to. Instead, the Italian Army has an exception light mortar in large numbers that provides the base of fire for platoon attacks and medium mortars and heavy machine guns used to support the company and battalion attack.

The Syrian Army will always lose if using tactics developed for NATO forces. As demonstrated in the Golan, and even more-so by the Egyptians in crossing the Suez, Warsaw Pact equipped forces can beat Western forces if used with the appropriate tactics.

Edited by DougPhresh
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The smallest combat unit that carries out independent action is the Regiment. In the Combat Mission scale, I wouldn't use anything less than a Battalion for an attack.

Quote

A battalion normally attacks as part of its parent regiment. A battalion does not have the organic combat support or combat service support required for independent action. The exception to this is the employment of a battalion as a forward detachment to accomplish a deep, independent mission. In such a circumstance, the battalion would be reinforced to sustain itself for as long as possible.

A battalion attacking in the first echelon of a first echelon regiment would probably have a mission to

attack through strongpoints of defending enemy battalions and to continue the attack in an assigned direction. Soviet subunits normally do not stop on objec-tives and consolidate them, but continue the attack deeper into the enemy rear.

A motorized rifle battalion has three motorized rifle companies and normally has a tank company attached, as illustrated below. A tank battalion has three tank companies and may have either a motorized rifle platoon or company attached.

Now, if we take that into consideration and look back at the briefing for this scenario:

Quote

A NATO attack is in progress and they are making massive gains.  In an attempt to slow them down high command has decided that a spoiling attack is required.  We are the tip of that spear.  Our task is to Probe into the assigned sector on the flank of the NATO attack and determine the strength of the Canadian flank security force in front of us and if possible, destroy it or force it to withdraw.  Our force will not be reinforced unless successful, so if we fail, another unit will become the spearhead for the main attack.

And the fact that the scenario is a probe, we might re-evaluate the appropriate doctrine. I would suggest that we treat Mike's force as either an ad-hoc formation acting as the Regimental recon screen, or a first echelon force. In either case, there is doctrine for this kind of engagement with roughly the forces Mike has. 1427106908_ScreenShot2018-08-02at3_35_03PM.png.427becead5cd9711e1e288d6efb59bb7.png

Quote

The forward security element(called the"advance party" in some texts) is normally a motorized rifle company reinforced with tanks, artillery, mortars, engineers, and chemical defense. The mission of the FSE, moving up to 10 kilometers behind the CRP, is to advance at maximum speed and to engage lead enemy elements. Through use of its mobility and fire power, it seizes and holds a position advantageous for subsequent commitment of the advance guard main body.

The advance guard main body constitutes the bulk of the combat power of the advance guard.

The advance guard main body has the mission of either eliminating enemy opposition, permitting continuation of the march, or fixing the enemy force to permit a flank attack by the main force. Artillery and tanks are habitually placed forward in the column. If a threat comes from the flank, artillery and tanks may be placed in the middle of the column.

Typical Composition
of Advanced Guard Main Body

* Motorized rifle battalion commander, staff, artillery commander.

* Signal platoon. (Not in the scope of CMSF2)
* Antitank platoon.
* Antiaircraft section.
 * Artillery battalion (minus 1 battery with the
FSE).
* Tank company(minus1 platoon with the FSE).

* Two motorized rifle companies.
* Rear, including medical post.  (Not in CMSF2)

 

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The advance guard precedes the main force on the same route and provides movement security and warning. It normally consists of about one third of the total combat power of the main force.

The advance guard of a motorized rifle regiment is normally a motorized rifle battalion reinforced with tank, artillery, antitank, antiaircraft, engineer, and chemical elements.

The advance guard of a tank regiment is normally a similarly-reinforced tank battalion. In a division marching on multiple routes, the lead regiment on each route forms its own advance guard. There is no "divisional advance guard," as such.

The advance guard, in its turn, will dispatch to its front a forward security element (FSE) consisting of about one third of its combat power. A forward security element of a regiment's advance guard will normally be a reinforced company. (The FSE is known as an "advance party" in some texts.)

The FSE is preceded by a combat reconnaissance patrol (CRP). The CRP is normally a platoon rein- forced with engineer and NBC reconnaissance elements. It reports intelligence information and makes the initial contact with any enemy forces encountered.

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The Attack

The attack against a defending enemy is employed when the enemy is in a defensive position, and the Soviets know his location. It normally follows a plan, based on intelligence on enemy disposition and the factors of mission, terrain, troops, and time available.

The attack against a defending enemy is the tactic which has been incorrectly described as a "break- through" or "deliberate attack." These terms are incor- rect because they do not fully describe all options avail- able to the Soviet commander conducting what he calls attack against a defending enemy.

Principles of Attack Doctrine

* Conduct aggressive reconnaissance.
* Breach enemy defense at
weak points or gaps.

Maneuver against enemy flanks and rear.
* Bypass
strongpoints.
* Rapidly maneuver forces and fires in decisive direction.
* Mass fires.
* Give priority to destruction of enemy nuclear weapon systems.
*
Strike rapidly and deeply into enemy rear.
*
Maintain momentum under all conditions.
* Employ radioelectronic combat.

The two methods of conducting an attack against a defending enemy are to attack from the march and to attack from a position in direct contact.

An attackfrom the march,the preferred method of attack, is launched from march formation out of assembly areas in the rear. Subunits deploy laterally at designated control lines and assume attack formation within approximately 1,000 meters of enemy defenses.

The Soviets perceive the advantages of the attack from the march to be as follows: The unit is not committed before attack. The attack increases chance

of surprise, allows greater flexibility, decreases vulner- ability to enemy artillery, and enhances momentum. Preparation for combat is performed out of enemy contact.




 

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2 hours ago, DougPhresh said:

While I have always admired your ability to use western techniques like the recon pull, this illustrates issues that I see a lot of gamers facing when using Eastern Bloc forces.

Attack by echelon is brutal, simple, predictable and effective. I would suggest focusing on a command push, using the forces you have at hand, and using the appropriate doctrine for them. A T-72 is not a worse Leopard, it is a lethal weapons system when used in its intended role.

This post by JasonC in the CMBB forum fundamentally changed how I think about Soviet forces and has made me a much better player at not only CMRT and CMBS but any wargame that puts me in command of units that start with "T" instead of "M".

And from US Field Manual 100-2-1 The Soviet Army: Operations and Tactics.

- - -

In summary, use the tactics developed for the equipment you have. By analogy, I often see players in CMFI complain about Italian forces. While there are obviously shortcomings with the equipment and organization of the Italian Army in the Second World War, many of the complaints stem from trying to accomplish missions using doctrine tailored for other forces.

Take for instance the Infantry Battalion: The Italians do not have MG focused squads like the Germans, and do not break down into small 4 man teams like the Germans and Western Allies. This breaks down the fire-and-movement tactics at the squad and platoon level players are used to. Instead, the Italian Army has an exception light mortar in large numbers that provides the base of fire for platoon attacks and medium mortars and heavy machine guns used to support the company and battalion attack.

The Syrian Army will always lose if using tactics developed for NATO forces. As demonstrated in the Golan, and even more-so by the Egyptians in crossing the Suez, Warsaw Pact equipped forces can beat Western forces if used with the appropriate tactics.

Doug, thanks for the post, I always love talking tactics.  ;) 

I understand how the Russian system works, but I am not commanding a Regimental attack here, this is a Company (+) Probe.  Even they use Recon Pull (see the NTC OPFOR, Soviet Forward Detachments, Russian Reconnaissance, etc.)... I believe, regardless of the force commanded, that it is always a good idea to know your enemy's positions, strength, and intent prior to committing to any option for attack.  By the way Doug, I have conducted Command Push in a couple of my AARs, (see Wittmann's Demise and the CMRT BETA AAR for a couple examples).  In both of those actions though, I had good covered terrain within which to operate, in the terrain this fight is occurring on any avenue is potentially deadly to me from anywhere if I move out into unscouted terrain.  

Echelon tactics do not apply to this situation, I am facing a formation with a potentially similar sized force and far superior equipment... also I know the T-72 is capable, but is it comparable to a Western tank?  I think not, they need to be committed with care and at the right moment to be effective.

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Not trying to knock you, but I'm trying to puzzle my way through the situation as well. I'm obviously far more familiar with the Canadian side of this equation!

Without posting pages from the manual, since you are not conducting a battalion or regimental eschelon attack, would it make more sense to go "by the book" for carrying out the initial phase of a meeting engagement? Move to contact, and then "pile on" with the elements of your force, which is approximately a Forward Security Element and parts of an Advance Guard? 

If I'm reading the pam right, you would need about 3 vehicles to establish contact, and then can start an attack with 10 vehicles, 4 tanks, 6 mortars, 6 guns, all of which I think you have.

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