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OPFOR discussion on possible Syrian tactics?


c3k
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Gents,

I'd like to start a discussion on what an intelligent Syrian commander would do to negate the U.S. advantages in a conventional battle.

Okay, I'll go first... smile.gif

Massive use of decoy positions and equipment: Using older/unusable tanks, set them up in ambush positions. This would trigger the US units to use a lot of high precision weaponry on useless targets. If the US spearhead uses its allotment of precision weaponry, when it hits the REAL defense the US spearhead will have a disadvantage.

In game, this could be simulated by giving a Syrian defender multiple inop vehicles to set up. The US player wouldn't know about that.

Anyone else have any ideas and how they could apply to a better game?

Thanks,

Ken

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I think concealment might well in some form or other be the key tactic,

As Dorosh points out the US is ahrdly going to start a war and then run short of Ammo. Cruise missiles maybe but not 155mm.

The Chinese and the Vietnamese both used to use the adage, "When fighting a Giant, hold on to his belt" or if you are a Starwars fan " We'll last longer against those Stardestroyers than the Deathstar".

Stay concealed as long as possible then engage the Strykers at as close a range as possible so that they can't deploy their fire support effectively against you.

Hold back any ATGM's till the US infantry is in close combat with your own men and then use them as quickly and as close in as you can on the Strykers.

If you can anticipate where the firefight will be try to have your hidden ATGM positions their minimum firing distance from their.

The Stryker forces used Speed, Mobility and Intelegence. So compress the battlefield and mix it up.

Stand back or off and they'll pulverise you before they enen leave the backs of their vehicles.

Peter.

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Originally posted by c3k:

Gents,

How many reloads of ATGM do the vehicles carry? How long to reload?

I don't care what's back at the logistics base.

I don't care what's in a convoy slated to meet up with me at 0800 tomorrow.

How many ready rounds do I have left?

Ken

And how many "derelict tanks" do you think the Syrians have?

And how would you simulate them in CM?

I don't think it's a worthwhile suggestion, either in real life or in CM.

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Michael,

How many "derelict tanks" do the Syrian have? I have NO idea. I'm sure a Syrian OOB grog can post a detailed list of all vehicles.

How would I simulate them in CM? For the Sryian, as pre-game forces that can be positioned just like regular vehicles. However, once positioned, they are unusable. The U.S. player wouldn't know that. He would see/find an AFV, subject to normal fog-of-war rules.

I don't care that YOU don't think it's a worthwhile suggestion. Apparently, with nearly 12 years to prepare for a war with America, the Iraqi's thought it was a good idea.

Excellent nit-picking with no analysis. If you were a Syrian commander, how would you try to equalize the battle?

Regards,

Ken

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Originally posted by c3k:

Excellent nit-picking with no analysis. If you were a Syrian commander, how would you try to equalize the battle?

I'd surrender on day one before my troops got slaughtered.

If I was smart, I wouldn't get into a war in the first place.

If I really had to fight, I'd use urban and mountainous terrain to advantage and make the enemy fight in small numbers and unsupported. Civilians as a shield would be a start. That won't be in CM either.

Making the US shoot all their ammunition at dummy positions wouldn't be high up on my list of priorities. You say the Iraqis did it, as if that's proof of concept or something. Did it really turn the tide of any tactical engagements?

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Syrian tactics:

First, I'd say have a firm plan - any plan - in place beforehand. The first few hours of confusion are going to make all the difference. Evacuate downtown Damascus and proclaim it an open city. That'll take away any U.S. propaganda value to entering it and will place the U.S. in a bad light if the town is bombed needlessly. About dummy emplacements, they'd be good to buy some time initially. Any F18F dropping its load of GPS bombs on dummy troops concentrations won't be dropping bombs on real troops. But the ruse won't work for long.

How was the German Bulge advance stopped? I'd say let them (us) advance as deep as they can until they become exhausted (36 hours?) then close the door behind them. If the big fuel tanker trucks can't make the journey up the Euphrates valley attacking U.S., armor is going to start hurting pretty quick. Realise I'm not talking those Iraqi irregular assaults along the the supply route during the Iraq invasion but properly coordinated combined arms tactics. Artillery pieces zeroed in on intersections months in advance, buried communitcations networks, that kinda stuff.

This tactic is rather assuming that the U.S. route of advance is going to be predictable. In from the east using its Iraqi theater assets and a long drive straight towards Damascus. If instead the Marines land on the shores of Tripoli (as the old song goes) and push over the mountains from the west that'll be another matter. The U.S. supply line will be shorter but that route will be more conjested and urban.

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Originally posted by MikeyD:

Syrian tactics:

First, I'd say have a firm plan - any plan - in place beforehand. The first few hours of confusion are going to make all the difference. Evacuate downtown Damascus and proclaim it an open city. That'll take away any U.S. propaganda value to entering it and will place the U.S. in a bad light if the town is bombed needlessly. About dummy emplacements, they'd be good to buy some time initially. Any F18F dropping its load of GPS bombs on dummy troops concentrations won't be dropping bombs on real troops. But the ruse won't work for long.

How was the German Bulge advance stopped? I'd say let them (us) advance as deep as they can until they become exhausted (36 hours?) then close the door behind them. If the big fuel tanker trucks can't make the journey up the Euphrates valley attacking U.S., armor is going to start hurting pretty quick. Realise I'm not talking those Iraqi irregular assaults along the the supply route during the Iraq invasion but properly coordinated combined arms tactics. Artillery pieces zeroed in on intersections months in advance, buried communitcations networks, that kinda stuff.

This tactic is rather assuming that the U.S. route of advance is going to be predictable. In from the east using its Iraqi theater assets and a long drive straight towards Damascus. If instead the Marines land on the shores of Tripoli (as the old song goes) and push over the mountains from the west that'll be another matter. The U.S. supply line will be shorter but that route will be more conjested and urban.

None of that has anthing to do with tactics, though, you're talking operations and strategy.
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Originally posted by MikeyD:

If instead the Marines land on the shores of Tripoli (as the old song goes) and push over the mountains from the west that'll be another matter. The U.S. supply line will be shorter but that route will be more conjested and urban.

I'm pretty sure the Tripoli from the song is in Libya, which would make for quite a hike and definitely not a shorter supply route (not to mention the objections from several sovereign countries).

There is a Tripoli in Lebanon, which is what you may have been referring to, but it is not the one mentioned in the Marine's Hymn.

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The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derna, after a remarkably daring overland attack on the Tripolitan city of Derna by a combined force of American marines and Arab, Greek and Berber mercenaries, under the command of ex-consul William Eaton and Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon. This action, memorialized in the Marine Hymn—"to the shores of Tripoli"—gave the American forces a significant advantage.
Quite right, the Tripoli referred to in the Marine Corps Hymn is now in modern day Libya. This was during the war against the Barbary Pirates who were a loose confederation of North African states.
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Mikey,

As Dorosh says your not talking tactics but as a strategy I'd say it stinks.

First given that we are talking about some kind of crisis in Iraq your plan idea is a non starter and even if it was, "Plans are useless planning is everything".

The Soviets used rigid plans and they worked in an age of poor battlefield communications and when they were on the offensive, so could set the tempo and timeimg. When it stalled or went wrong they got it back on track by sacrificing numbers, and a look at their casualty figures shows the real cost of that.

Evacuating Damacsius even if you could would make New Orleans look like a breeze, and a smart US opponent (well it could happen Bush could resign or something before 2007) would portray you as a POl Pot forcing civilians in to the desert, hardly a propaganda coup.

As to dummy enplacements J-STARs plus sat recon will be using real time and speeded Video to analyse movements well in advance. Over a 72hr period you can tell a phony from real by tracking vehicle activity, heat emission and radio. So that won't work on any scale worth the effort.

As to closing the door behind them, well that really relies on reactive mobile forces and with US airpower if it moves it's dead,

Also the US will only move with flanking ARH's on both sides plus wide UAV coverage so your zeroed artillery idea wouldn't work because one they would find it before it shot ( Hell they'd probably find it before the invasion). and two, with counter battery fire they would probably annialate it before half a dozen reloads.

So operationally I doubt you'd last a day or more trying to fight them like that.

Michael,

Assuming the scenario is one of a crisis that you as the Syrian have no real control over, the smart option of not fighting isn't one you have, so The question is still valid.

Okay he's talking strategic not tactical but I hardly think it's off topic to discuss the overall structure that you are going to fit your tactical units in to. Afterall if you go for mobile combined arms forces that pretty much determins what and how you would be set up for a CM battle.

c3k,

Whats the issue with the number of ATGM's, the airpower in advance of the Stryker force would mess any concentrated armour, derelict or otherwise, and a Stryker company isn't going to run out of Javelin rounds against anything that you could realistically expect to put up against it.

undead reindeer cavalry,

" Other that I'd guess I'd destroy the enemy force", well thats a great contribution,

Q. "What would you have done if you had been Custer at the Little Big Horn"

A. " Killed all the Indians".

Hell mate your not even trying.

Peter.

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Peter,

there is more to dummy targets than you seem to be aware of, it's certainly not just making T-72s out of cardboard. telling between a real unit and a fake one is pretty damned hard and practically impossible if the defender knows what he is doing. you also seem to have a bit unrealistic hopes for the merits of current intelligence gathering & sharing capabilities.

in relation to what a Syrian commander should do, i don't see what's the special magic in here. is there a reason why normal tactics suddenly stop working? perhaps you should describe a battle setting which you find impossible for the Syrians to deal with? preferably one that doesn't take place on open flat desert.

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undead reindeer cavalry,

I am not nieve about either decoys or the limitations of modern particularly electronic recon, but the tactic of playing a shell game with multiple inert tanks to deplete US ammo stocks would entail an effort and style of deployment that would certainly not fool the US.

Pre- the Iraq war Saddam tried to set up layer AD systems to challenge the No Fly zone, and these were easily analysed and neutraliesed, the Serbs were far more successful in terms of decoys but these were dispersed and on a far smaller scale.

My issue isn't with deception as such but like Michael, I just don't believe that you could get away with it on any meaningful scale.

For me the best example of large scale deception in modern times was the Chinese in Korea, but I just don't believe you could pull off something like that today.

Peter.

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The Iraqis managed to hide an entire tank battalion ourside of Baghdad from the US in OIF without any special attempts at camouflage and concealment. They just got overlooked. Reference the battle of Objective Peach, I think it was.

The Iraqis ambushed the Americans but none of their shots landed within 100m of the Americans, who promptly located and killed the Iraqis with direct fire.

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Yeh yeh, I was just being cute about Tripoli. I of course meant the one up the road from Beirut (involved in some pretty fierce fighting during the civil war I seem to recall).

About evacuating Damamscus, I didn't mean the whole population. I meant get out of those pre-targeted government buildings and relocate the seat of government in the suburbs/countryside. Make the city itself of reduced strategic value.

You want tactics? Long range ATGM hits on fuel tanker trucks 45 minutes after the main force has raced by. After the lead tanks stop to let their supply train catch up start dropping a "little" nerve agent and a "lot" of smoke on top of them - just enough so that from that day on any smoke shell that falls will be associated with a gas attack and help to sow confusion. No need to worry about warcrimes trials after the war, Bush was going to round up you and your whole extended family regardless.

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Something to remember is this is not WW2. The syrians don't have to "beat" the US to win tacticly. You just have to make them look bad on CNN.

1) Kill anything with a serious look antenna a quickly as you can. This includes: ATGMing what appear to be command stykers. Sniping/RPGing radiomen. As an added bonus radiomen are most likely to be around the officers/senior NCOs. This hinders calling in support.

2) Hole up in buildings (preferably schools/mosques and other building the US will be slightly more hesitant to just rubblize) and make dismounts come to you. Engage at very close range. Is not likely that this will very sucessful, but it will be messy.

3) If you must attack attack with RPG squads firing in volleys at close range. Fedayeem (sp?) Sadam used this tactic against the marines in Nasaria. Once again, this really isn't going to be sucessful in a "rout the enamy and take the ground" kinda way. The FS did manage to inflict some serious causualties and have it look pretty bad. IIRC 1/2 of all the USMC KIAs happened in 36 hours of fighting in "ambush alley"

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Gents,

Other facts: in OIF, spearhead forces were confused by Iraqi forces in civilian clothes. U.S. forces were confused by Iraqis waving white flags in VERY close proximity to Iraqis firing upon the U.S. forces. Iraqis successfully coordinated attacks using cellphone communications. Iraqis successfully employed civilian transportation (taxis, POV's, ambulances) to transfer tactical units across battlefields.

These are just a few examples of intelligent Iraqi leaders thinking "outside the box" in an attempt to inflict losses on U.S. forces. I do not think a single one of the above examples were foreseen by U.S. mission planners. What surprises would the Syrians have in store?

How about parking fuel trucks at major intersections. Something to slow down the ops tempo.

Why not issue U.N. armbands to elite forces? What would a Stryker company commander do when a U.N. roadblock tells him to stop?

To make this game more interesting, these ideas should be discussed and a way of porting them into the game should be included.

Ken

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Originally posted by c3k:

Gents,

Other facts: in OIF, spearhead forces were confused by Iraqi forces in civilian clothes. U.S. forces were confused by Iraqis waving white flags in VERY close proximity to Iraqis firing upon the U.S. forces. Iraqis successfully coordinated attacks using cellphone communications. Iraqis successfully employed civilian transportation (taxis, POV's, ambulances) to transfer tactical units across battlefields.

These are just a few examples of intelligent Iraqi leaders thinking "outside the box" in an attempt to inflict losses on U.S. forces. I do not think a single one of the above examples were foreseen by U.S. mission planners. What surprises would the Syrians have in store?

How about parking fuel trucks at major intersections. Something to slow down the ops tempo.

Why not issue U.N. armbands to elite forces? What would a Stryker company commander do when a U.N. roadblock tells him to stop?

To make this game more interesting, these ideas should be discussed and a way of porting them into the game should be included.

Ken

It's not a "sneaky tricks" sim, it's a tactical combat game. You can't simulate most of that in CM, even if civilians and non-combatants (UN) were being modelled - which they're not.

Might work in Operation Flashpoint or a FPS; has no place in a tactical game at the company level IMO.

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Originally posted by MikeyD:

"ATGMing what appear to be command stykers."

I was thinking about that back when the UAV thread was going on. If you K.O. the command vehicle does the link to Predator drones get cut? That would make command vehicles a pretty high priority.

Dunno, I expect the company commander would be riding in them either way.
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