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1980's Tactics Question?


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4 minutes ago, Suzuya said:

The spotting ability in CMSF should be substantially more capable than the vehicles present in CW, many of the Thermal equipped vehicles in SF such as the Leopard 2 and M1A2 have both higher quality thermal imagers multiple generations ahead and independant thermal sights for the commander to use independent of the gun sight greatly increasing the tanks awareness. With that said the vehicles here equipped with thermals should have a massive advantage over any armour that lacks them, thermal sights made target acquisition in most terrain and weather conditions far easier than most day or night scopes that came prior. It’s also purely anecdotal but i read that the ANVGS-2 sight on the M60 was considered very high quality for the time period.

Sadly not real images but Steel Beasts does do a fairly good job of showing off a theoretical comparison between thermal imaging (daytime, no night shots sadly) and the nightsight present on the M60.

If you have access (or somebody who has) to steel beasts, could you make some comparison images of different generations of thermal imagers? I would presume the generational improvements are modeled.

Also comparisons of different generations of IR or image intensifiers would be interesting.

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9 minutes ago, The_MonkeyKing said:

If you have access (or somebody who has) to steel beasts, could you make some comparison images of different generations of thermal imagers? I would presume the generational improvements are modeled.

Also comparisons of different generations of IR or image intensifiers would be interesting.

It’s been quite a while since I've been subscribed to SB but different thermal sights do have multiple magnifications, colours and resolutions how accurate those are to RL though i can't say. One of my friends fairly recently found his licence Codemeter in a drawer after misplacing it. I can ask if he doesn't mind taking a few screenshots of different tanks to showcase some comparisons.

Theres also a few youtube videos up that give a decent idea of some of the differences sadly not helped by the video compression.

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 10:41 PM, weapon2010 said:

 We're the same tactical basics stressed in this era as WW2? such as Hull Down, Recon, Base of Fire? Does Infantry carry less of an importance?

Nah, for the Soviet side of the time the idea was to get as fast as possible to the ports to deny the US the ability to reinforce/resupply NATO forces in Europe. So as such:

  1. Attacking force is not expected to face a defence not thouroughly softened by conventional artillery or tactical nukes. Heavy fire support would be used against probable enemy positions BEFORE the attack. Not a concept of a move to contact, relay enemy coordinates and lay in wait to see them destroyed. However attacking units would expect a SWIFT fire support should they run into troubles. I'd say in 80s Soviet fire support would be WAAAAY quicker then US's. And even in CMBS Russian fire support is unrealistically retarded as compared to US IMO. At the beginning of the UKR hostilities UKR Army basically didn't exist yet today UKR fire support is world class.
  2. Attacking units would need to absorb whatever casualties happen in the process. If a unit is thouroughly degraded then it will be replaced by a reserve one yet the tempo of operations needs to be maintained.
  3. Nobody cares to cleanse fortified areas, rather you avoid a head-on fight, go around and leave the mopping task to rear echelons.
  4. No one's stopping for a "smart" tactical fight - keeping the movement tempo is uber alles.
  5. As such the TACTICAL direction of attack may be changed at the discretion of lower-level commanders. It's up to the rear echelons to keep up. Again tempo is uber alles.
  6. You achieve "overmatch" on the battlefield first and foremost not by putting up an overwhelming force to fight in direct contact but rather by avoiding the costly head-on confrontation, maneuvering around the enemy and degrading it by fires. Then annihilating the weaked enemy if it's required for keeping your logistics lines. If it's not - then leave it behind and move on.

So:

  1. No sure if CMCW will show it this way - it's totally different from previous CM titles IMO.
  2. Hope it may expain many things about Russian side in other CM titles.
  3. To understand the origins of the concept it's worth reading about the political/economy side of the equation for both the West and the East.
Edited by IMHO
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One tactical oddity of Cold war timeframe is the need to balance concentrated forces to achieve a breakthrough with the need for dispersed forces to avoid being a target for WMD. The Russians achieved record-breaking force concentrations for the Vistula-Oder offensive (Jan '45 - See CMRT Fire and Rubble module) but significantly cut those numbers in it Cold War planning. Both sides hoped WMD attacks on defending/attacking opponents would be devastating enough that a dispersed force would then be able to overcome the remaining survivors.  It was an odd balancing act that both sides were playing.

Edited by MikeyD
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On 2/19/2021 at 5:11 PM, Chibot Mk IX said:

Yes, but I think IR blocking smoke is not available back in 80s 

WP is the most efficient smoke agent and it was used since after WWI. Non-WP smoke agents came en masse AFTER collateral effects of WP were considered.

Edited by IMHO
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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

One tactical oddity of Cold war timeframe is the need to balance concentrated forces to achieve a breakthrough with the need for dispersed forces to avoid being a target for WMD

Well it's not exactly so. Both sides expend their strategic nuclear deterrents much before the land combat happens. It's impossbile to hide preparations for a nuclear strike or conventional preparations of such a magnutude that they may warrant a pre-emptive nuclear strike. By the time the tanks have their say they basically fight for nuclear rubble on both sides. Tactical nukes however having long lasting negative environmental consequences have no more (or rather less) minute tactical effect than a heavy conventional artillery strike. E.g. if my memory does not fail me - T-64 survives if it's 500-1000m from an epicentre of the explosion and it would allow its crew to spend up to 12hrs at said distance from an epicentre.

It's more like as a tactical commander one may fight if one desires. The question is rather what one fights for. And one cannot fight indefinitely - one has so much supplies in supply train and no more are coming ever since industrial production is destroyed. But within the scope of CM nothing prevents one from fighting.

Edited by IMHO
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@MikeyD, in reality it's a doctrine that existed in the Soviet Union of 80s but it was outdated by that time. Both OVD (Soviet Union) and NATO had enough nuclear weapons to make land warfare irrelevant in 80s. Yet Soviet doctrine carried on from 60s when the US could nuke the Soviet Union into oblivion yet all the Soviet Union could do is to bring wrath to the Western Europe. Military commanders stayed on from after WWII so their thinking hadnt's changed.

Edited by IMHO
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During this timeframe there were battles within the Pentagon about what our NATO warfighting strategy should be. They had abandoned the 'tripwire' nuclear defense several years previously. The Current doctrine involved a succession of static defenses-in-depth to absorb the Russian blow. Mavericks within the Pentagon preferred an aggressive defense with no real front line, just stabbing assaults into the Russian lines that they'd be compelled to respond to, blunting their own forward momentum. I read somewhere the standing doctrine was snidely referred to as 'don't lose' as opposed to actively trying to win. It wasn't until a couple years after this timeframe that new weapons systems were in place to implement the 'airland battle' concept. This involved aggressively attacking follow-on forces before they got into position so the Russians would be unable to follow-up on any breakthroughs. US warplanner struggled with how to deal with fresh follow-on forces after the defenders were exhausted and attrited by the initial engagement.

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No more fire and forget magic Javelins to reach out and touch MBTs with for the infantry. Dragons and LAW's anyone? From what I gathered the Dragon didn't have that great of a reputation and don'thow effective LAW's would have been against Soviet MBT's of the time.

What other AT weapons can we expect to see the infantry lugging around?

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The version of M-72 LAW (the A3, I think) in the game had 300mm penetration, significantly higher than current U.S. LAWs which have been optimized as urban anti-infantry weapons. If enemy T64s are close enough to use LAWs on them they're probably close enough to get some decent side and rear shots. Russian infantry are carrying the 'usual suspects', RPG-7, RPG-18, AT-3, AT-4, AT-7.

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In the WW2 titles if tanks get too close infantry can immobilize or destroy tanks with grenades.

I can't say I've seen that in Black Sea or Shock Force 2 so don't know if possible. Will that be possible in this title?

At some point in the future will the 73-Yom Kippur War be covered?

Edited by db_zero
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3 hours ago, db_zero said:

No more fire and forget magic Javelins to reach out and touch MBTs with for the infantry. Dragons and LAW's anyone? From what I gathered the Dragon didn't have that great of a reputation and don'thow effective LAW's would have been against Soviet MBT's of the time.

What other AT weapons can we expect to see the infantry lugging around?

Carl Gustav but the US didn't use them, I think. Effective range of 500 meters. 

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4 hours ago, db_zero said:

At some point in the future will the 73-Yom Kippur War be covered?

Steve has always maintained that they had no interest in Arab-Israeli wars, but he also said they had no interest in Fulda Gap, so you never know.

Modders will certainly be able to take CW and give us a taste of the Middle East.

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9 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Cold War kind'a stole a possible 73 war's thunder by providing the necessary vehicles and including an entire desert region to play in! ^_^ Though admittedly it the Mojave, not the Sinai.

... another difference is that the ammunition available to Soviet T-55s and T-62s in CM:CW is way better than the ammo available to Arab tanks during the October War, especially in the kinetic penetrators department.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/27/2021 at 1:33 PM, MikeyD said:

During this timeframe there were battles within the Pentagon about what our NATO warfighting strategy should be. They had abandoned the 'tripwire' nuclear defense several years previously. The Current doctrine involved a succession of static defenses-in-depth to absorb the Russian blow. Mavericks within the Pentagon preferred an aggressive defense with no real front line, just stabbing assaults into the Russian lines that they'd be compelled to respond to, blunting their own forward momentum. I read somewhere the standing doctrine was snidely referred to as 'don't lose' as opposed to actively trying to win. It wasn't until a couple years after this timeframe that new weapons systems were in place to implement the 'airland battle' concept. This involved aggressively attacking follow-on forces before they got into position so the Russians would be unable to follow-up on any breakthroughs. US warplanner struggled with how to deal with fresh follow-on forces after the defenders were exhausted and attrited by the initial engagement.

In '74, I recall this as the doctrine of "Active Defense" championed by Donn Starry.  It was a first stab at re-shaping post-Vietnam US war-fighting doctrine based on lessons learned outcomes of Israel's 1973 Yom Kippur war.

Edited by Badger73
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The name Donn Starry looked familiar so I looked him up. It turned out he was the author of a book I owned 'Mounted Combat in Vietnam' from  1978. I didn't realize it was the same guy who had  created 'Airland Battle' doctrine.

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On 2/23/2021 at 8:35 PM, IMHO said:

Well it's not exactly so. Both sides expend their strategic nuclear deterrents much before the land combat happens.

That's only one scenario, in which case the land war probably wouldn't even happen. I mean, who cares at that point? What is there to fight over?

What MikeyD describes is exactly the tactics and mindset that was in place. Dispersal to avoid WMD attacks, whether thy be nuclear, chemical or biological(less likely), versus maintaining close enough distance to quickly concentrate at a point of attack or defense. That's what we practiced all the time. The tactics of the day assumed that if there were release of WMD, particularly nuclear, it would be at the local, tactical level, and not a full nuclear exchange, meaning there would still be a land war to fight. That being said, the prevailing opinion was that once nuclear weapons were used, there would be no way to stop it from fairly quickly escalating to a full nuclear exchange. 

We all expected to never see our 30th birthday, one way or the other. I've said this in another thread, but being FA primary specialty and Nuclear Weapons secondary specialty, one of the most important things we learned was how to safely blow the nuclear artillery shells into little bitty pieces so they wouldn't fall into Russian hands if (when) we were overrun. No one thought we would ever use them. 

There was more worry of an accidental nuclear war, and the more information that comes out the more we realize how lucky we were to avoid it.

Dave

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2 hours ago, Ultradave said:

The tactics of the day assumed that if there were release of WMD, particularly nuclear, it would be at the local, tactical level, and not a full nuclear exchange, meaning there would still be a land war to fight.

Having discussed this with that Foreign Intelligence Analytics guy it was the crux of the problem. Just like Kennedy-Lemay exchange at the time of Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK asked what Soviet Union would do should its forces on Cuba be bombed out and overrun and Lemay said they would do nothing because responding would mean the end of the world. The view that "they will never escalate to strategic" was promoted by the military but only because if we assume "they will" it automatically kills the need for huge armies, takes away generals' jobs and MIC's budgets. So on the Soviet side generals were allowed to say there's a room for avoiding going strategic yet it was done just not to alienate very influential armed forces. On the political level the untold understanding was it would escalate pretty quickly. And not because Soviets would have set the precedent by using tactical nukes first but just because Soviet Union had a massive superiority in conventional forces in Europe and loosing any sizeable part of Western Europe was unacceptable for NATO. So NATO would be pushed to strategic to avoid this unacceptable outcome.

Another thing was Soviet's "rush to the Channel" strategy was driven not only by the desire to avoid American reinforcements reaching the other side of the Pond but also by the calculation that the Soviet Union cannot afford a long and protracted war. Economically OVD was no match to NATO. And by the second half of 70s - first half of 80s the Soviet Union critically depended on the West - oil and gas sales to the Western Europe, grain purchases from Canada and the US etc. Even limiting Soviet access to grain market would have meant severe rationing of calorie intake if not an outright hunger. Soviet Union imported 47 mln tons of grains in 1985 (45.6 by other estimations), 40% of all bread was made from imported wheat (36% if we count in imported rye). Locally produced wheat in Soviet Union was mostly feed grade not suitable for bakeries. Also Soviet cattle and poultry production very much depended on imported corn. So NATO had an option of not winning militarily yet stalling and waiting for the Soviet economy to implode into itself. Thus the only option the Soviet Union had was to get a quick decisive victory that would have secured a favorable negotiation position. Even a limited scale conventional war would have meant automatic trade sanctions and the end of Soviet Union's economy. But to get this quick and decisive victory the Soviet army should have brought to NATO a total military disaster on the fronts. And such a disaster would mean NATO had no other option but to go strategic pretty quickly.

So in reality there was no solution to this problem.

Edited by IMHO
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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe not really a tactical question but what exactly was the role of Cavalry Units during that time? It is supposed to be lighter, more mobile then other armoured formations? So a kind of recon force? Yet still some Cav. Divisions also fielded MBT's. 

Edited by Hacketäuer
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1 hour ago, Hacketäuer said:

Maybe not really a tactical question but what exactly was the role of Cavalry Units during that time? It is supposed to be lighter, more mobile then other armoured formations? So a kind of recon force? Yet still some Cav. Divisions also fielded MBT's. 

For the US, they were essentially strategic screening forces. They were meant to absorb the initial Soviet attack (even if it was a complete surprise attack) and buy enough time (slow down the Soviet advance) for other units in country to get assembled and move into defensive positions. They were a tripwire. 

Because of their precarious position, they tended to get all the best equipment right away. They had mostly Abrams and Bradleys once those vehicles came into Germany, as opposed to a lot of the other US units in theater, which were still largely equipped with Patton tanks well into the mid 80s. 

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