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Employing the BRDM


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I'd like to think I'm fairly knowledgable about Soviet doctrine (especially operationally) but there's one thing that really hasn't clicked for me yet: What's the deal with BRDMs?

Does anyone have some pointers in how to effectively use the "Razvedka" part of BRDM and scout with them, especially without turning into scrap metal?

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(This is referring to the BRDM-1 and -2, not the ATGM versions, which are hell on wheels and a very different animal).

Like other light reconnaissance vehicles, they roam ahead or to the flanks of a formation, scouting the enemy, enemy communication lines and the terrain. They are sometimes also used as transport for engineers, especially if they need to survey terrain - whether a river is fordable, or so forth. They're quick, armoured and amphibious, with really good vision (the hatches open when unbuttoned for a large windscreen).

In that sense, they're not a fighting vehicle, and the armour and armament are really there to win a recon fight - consider if the BRDM came across something like a humvee or a Jeep, and how much advantage the armoured vehicle would have in a clash of those elements. That means that the BRDM can "fight for information" to an extent, or fight for control of observation points, or to deny them to the enemy.

That also means that sometimes using them as transport and scouting on foot is appropriate, depending on terrain or conditions.

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You need to imagine vast stretches of open country and a hunt to locate the enemy forces. Something you don't really need to concern yourself with in CM titles because we kind'a know already the enemy is 'over there' (points to the far side of the game map). If you're dealing with enemy infantry you'd be able to stand off beyond weapons range, observe and report. That's more problematic when the enemy has tank guns.

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Posted (edited)

Pretty much like you would use an HMG armed HMMWV in CMSF or CMBS. They can mess up soft skinned vehicles and leg infantry (out of the range of their AT weapons) but are very vulnerable to heavy caliber fire and any AT assets. 

I'm pretty sure it's 14.5mm HMG can punch through most aspects of the M113's armor.

Edited by ng cavscout
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Try Red Army by Ralph Peters.  Lt Plinnikov is commanding a BRDM platoon.  He doesn't last long in the story, but it is a good description of how the asset is used in the larger picture.

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Posted (edited)

If you're a plain-Jane American infantry squad waiting by the roadside to ambush some passing supply trucks the appearance of BRDM2 on the  road can complicate your life greatly.

Edited by MikeyD
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I guess my real problem is that I ran into Bradleys!  I guess this kind of advance-to-contact might be best done zipping from cover to cover and dismounting to observe the area before remounting and zipping along again?

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That, or more passively, using the speed and protection to advance to a flanking observation point.

This kind of thing is true for recon vehicles in all periods - mobility is the main point, and the armnament is typically there either for protection, or because there are only so many good observation points, and you'll inevitably run into enemy reconnaissance elements.

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