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OPFOR discussion on possible Syrian tactics?


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How dependant will forward elements be on tankers right away. Unlike Iraq, petrol and diesel will be in plentiful supply.

having said that a smart Syrian will try to scorched earth, destroying fuel supplies ahead of the American advance, either by pre destruction or booby trap/ambush.

However any attempt at a coordinated defence will probably suffer from a lack of communications and the speed the US forces can move at, not to mention the ability of the US to level a city iif it needs too, so large forces are a no no.

In which case what about zonal defence. rather than have a plan to defeat the invasion and take the US on , divided the country up in to zones and sub zones and disperse the army with command dropped down almost to company level.

Those that meet the US head on do what they can, those that are by passed try to harass, those left out of it act as centres to organise the long term resistance and act as bases for those units that sirvive the conflict stage.

As in Iraq victory is prolonging the war, not beating the US Army.

Also at a tactical level if and when you can conceal them I'd like to make a mention of the good old D-30 122mm gun.

Sure it's old ( early 70's) and 3 ton, but it can rotate quickly through 360, and has a range of ammo including APDS, HEAT, as well as good old fashioned HE.

I think it's for the HEAT not the AP round but it's got an armour penetration at up to 1,000m of 460mm, more than enough to take out a striker.

A fair bit of effort to get one in a house, but because of the front tow system you probably don't need that big a hole, although you'll need a big room to get the legs out.

You'd be lucky to get more than a couple of rounds off, but I doubt many would get out of a Stryker if you got the first shot.

Figure I got was that Syria currently has about 600 or so, so they'll be in the game for sure.


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Michael Dorosh,

How is concealed movement not a tactical issue?

Here's an example for you: My country, Kenistan, is at war with Canada. You're the tactical leader. You move your forces to engage me. Of course, you use Canadian military vehicles in a convoy. You have outriders who attempt to stop all the traffic from being near you. My forces spot you and engage you. (Choose your remote, long-range, precision weapon of choice.) You suffer losses.

My forces now need to move to engage you. I use civilian vehicles and mix in with the existing highway traffic. You never spot my forces. They unload at various streetcorners and coffee shops. Using cell-phones I coordinate the attack from out of a near-normal civilian background. I gain the element of surprise.

CMx1 attempted the most primitive of this by allowing scenario designers to give more entrenchments than were needed. These were spotted before other units were. How many times did you stop you CMBO/CMBB/CMAK advance to fire some HE into a tree-line in which you'd spotted an entrenchment?

Contrary to your opinion, in a conflict with Syria, ALL of these matters would be possible and could be faced by a company commander. If they're not possible in the game, then it falls short of what it's simulating.

You seem well-read on HISTORICAL military matters. Apply that knowledge to HYPOTHETICAL military matters.

Of course some of the ideas discussed would fall short of their goals. But the others could work, and BF.C should incorporate some abstraction of them into the game.



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Well for me the obvious falw in your "Hypothetical" scenario is that Michaels Kanucks, would blow away all your forces in civilian vehicles, because they would be easy to spot, given that all the real civilian traffic would be getting the hell away from his guys as fast as they could while yours would be moving towards them.

And besides since when has a mechanised force moving to contact ever moved in convoy for gods sake.


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Oh my,

Michael, are you going to allow Peter Cairns to speak for you?

Peter, would you rather edit your post, or do you wish for me to list all the assumptions in your scenario?

Personally, I relish the opportunity to use weapons and personnel in a non-linear manner against any Western force (in a game!). I'd hate for CM:SF to be constructed with a number of pro-Western assumptions.

How has Syria modified the weapons it's purchased? How will they be used? Why should they use them the same way YOU would? What could they use as a weapon that YOU haven't considered?


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I am all for innovation and novel tactics but that doesn't mean I can't spot a flawed idea and point it out. Your scenario relied on unrealistic behaviour from both your Canadian opponent and your own civilian population.

He wouldn't just roll up in column, and your non combatants would just sit about eating ice cream to watch the battle or drive around as usual to get the shopping.

The tactics you are talking about have their place as we can see in Iraq today, but they wouldn't work during an invasion which is what we are talking about in CM:SF.

Hell if you want to have a pop at my suggestions so far be my guest, I am an easy target as I tend to give fairly strident, clear posts.


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Peter, for exercise purposes I will try to list all your assumptions. Below is your original post:

Originally posted by Peter Cairns:


Well for me the obvious falw in your "Hypothetical" scenario is that Michaels Kanucks, would blow away all your forces in civilian vehicles, because they would be easy to spot, given that all the real civilian traffic would be getting the hell away from his guys as fast as they could while yours would be moving towards them.

And besides since when has a mechanised force moving to contact ever moved in convoy for gods sake.


For starters:

...Michaels (sic) Kanucks,(sic) would blow away all your forces in civilian vehicles,...

Assumption: Michael's forces have the ability to "blow away all" my forces.

Assumption: Michael's forces are able to target all my forces.

Assumption: Michael's forces have been given the freedom to fire on all my forces.

Assumption: The permission to fire on all my forces has been communicated to all of Michael's forces.

Assumption: All of Michael's forces are willing to initiate fire on civilian vehicles.

Whew! Let's continue, shall we?

...because they would be easy to spot, given that all the real civilian traffic would be getting the hell away from his guys as fast as they could while yours would be moving towards them...

Assumption: the civilian traffic and my traffic are moving in different directions.

Assumption: the civilian traffic is moving away from his guys.

Assumption: the civilian traffic somehow knows where his guys are before they get there.

Assumption: the civilian traffic takes Michael's presence as a threat.

Assumption: the civilian traffic decides to move away from Michael.

Assumption: the civilian traffic is able to move away.

Assumption: my vehicles are moving directly towards Michael's forces in an obvious manner.

We'll wrap this up because I'm not used to typing "Assumption" so many times!

...And besides since when has a mechanised force moving to contact ever moved in convoy for gods (sic) sake....

Assumption: Michael has a mechanized force.

Assumption: Michael's forces and my forces are moving towards each other in a meeting engagement.

Assumption: Michael's forces are aware that an attack is imminent.

Assumption: The terrain allows for non-convoy movement of Michael's forces.

Assumption: The ROE allow for non-convoy movement of Michael's forces.

Assumption: The ops tempo allows for non-convoy movement of Michael's forces.

Now, I'm not saying that driving to battle in taxicabs is better than driving to battle in a Bradley! What I'm trying to do is get some intelligent thinking on how a battle in Syria could be shaped by the Syrians to their advantage. After all, that is what military professionals are paid to do. Isn't it?



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Well I was planning to go to bed but seeing as it's a challenge I'll have one more post.

Your Scenario Had Micheals Canadians Invading your country, and you engaging him as he advanced.

Now given the limited amount i know about the Canadian army I am assuming a Stryker type force with LAV's and Grizzly and the like.

So before I start on your list I'd like to remind you that I just refuse to accept that he'd be daft enough to move to contact in convoy using outriders to stop traffic. It's a war not a bloody cavalcade.

Lets deal with the first five.

Subject " Blowing away civilian vehicles".

Q1) Does he have the firepower,

A1) You can blow away a civilian vehicle right up to a semi or JCB with a .50 cal, of course he has the firepower, who do you think your fighting the boy scouts.

Q2) They can target.

A2) Moving Cars,SUV's and Buses etc, are a easy to spot and to target, not really an issue.

Q3) They are allowed to engage.

A3) You have already engaged him he is alert and cleared to fire unless his rules of engagement were written by the Pope.

Q4) All his forces have had this order to fire communicated.

A4) Thats what ROE's are for so that units know when and what they can fire at what without having to be told.

Q5) They'll fire on civilian vehicles.

A5) Once a potential target is spotted it will be assessed given the situation. Any potential enemy unit will be engaged if it is seen as a threat and as we have seen in Iraq if it is deemed so it's engaged and with force.

Okay lets go on to the next batch.

Q6) The traffic are moving in the same direction.

A6) Civilians universally move from danger particularly combat or go to ground, you stated that you were moving to contact after engageing with LR ATGM's that means you will almost certainly be moving in the opposite direction.

Q7) Civilians are moving away.

A7) Civilians do not move towards a battle or fighting, the run or hide.

Q8) The civilians know where he is.

A8) Given you've engaged him and caused casualties I think that would be pretty obvious even if your average citizean is no smarter than you.

Q9) The civilian traffic can move.

A9) Well given that your defence depends on moving amongst it, if it's a traffic jam your tactics just failed, so as you said you'd be moving amongst it them being able to move to seems reasonable.

Q10) Moving in an obvoius manner.

A10) What did you have in mind, revering so they think your going the other way, drive casually. A professional army ( and the Knucks are a very professional army), know how to protect themselves and don't make silly mistakes.

So we're on the home straight...

Q11) Mechael has a mech force.

A11) This is based on Syrian tactics used against Stryker and the Canadians have similiar medium weight forces, reasonable assumption I'd say, after all if it's not mechanised why are you using ATGM's on a mobile infantry force.

Hell I kind of assumed it wasn't being fought under water, was I wrong about that too.

Q12) It's a meeting engagement.

A12) you said you engaged his forces moving towards you and then you moved to engage him, thats not an assumption on my part it's your scenario.

Q13) Their aware an attack is imminent

A13) Again yu said you engaged them, and they've taken casualties, I'd hardly think thats something they fail to notice.

Q14) Non convoy movement is allowed.

A14) Well as you had the range to engage at distance with ATGM's and that you could mix with civilian traffic and that he could deploy outriders, and that their were coffeehouses etc.

So I kind of ruled out it being fought inside the Channel Tunnel, Like I said I never bought the column idea as realistic so if he couldn't deploy off road because of terrain then being Canadian he'd advance on foot, and your running about in civilain vehicles is nonsense.

Q14) ROE restrict him to convoy.

A14) Where on earth did you ever get the notion that anyone would produce ROE's that said when advancing towards the enemy you must remain in convoy, what just in case you run over any of those pretty flowers by the side of the road.

Q15) Tempo dictates Convoy movement.

A15) There is Tempo and there is Insanity, if the tactical situation means that you have to sacrifice speed for safety then you do it.

If you think that thats a realistic propect, and you are basing a defence around it then you are making one of the most basic mistakes.

Assuming your opponent is Stupid, and that assumption shows who the stupid one is.

And with that as it's Midnight in Scotland and my wife is away and I have three kids to get up dressed feed and out to school in seven hours I am calling it a night.

Oh and Dorosh,

Hows about fighting your own battles ( although as your post said maybe with your experience of posting her you spotted this as one to avoid and decided to leave it alone).


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Tactically, as the Syrian player I'd make every effort to close with the American troops. The closer the better. American forces can engage out to very distant ranges even with small arms. 800 meters even with an M4 is not unheard of. An AK probably isn't going to be useful beyond 200m.

Essentially, you're gonna wanna draw them into the city or mountain passes. RPGs from the tops of buildings or the flanks would be best. If you can isolate some troops in the city and then use long ranged fire (hidden AT-14 ATGMs) to prevent reinforcements from entering the city a good tactic might be to swarm the US troops. In close terrain they can't use their airpower or artillery effectively without risk to themselves.

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Originally posted by Peter Cairns:

Hows about fighting your own battles ( although as your post said maybe with your experience of posting her you spotted this as one to avoid and decided to leave it alone).


Anything I could possibly add would be redundant. I'm not about to get worked up over stuff that is never going to see the light of day in a tactical game anyway; how many times does Steve have to post that civilians will NOT be in the first game? *shrugs*

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I'd try to use explosives on their softies and stay away from a straight fight. Obviously any traditional combat situation will see the US on top. Guerilla tactics are the only way. Key use of ATGM's will be fairly large.

I think that skeleton defense's would be far more effective then any fake vehicles. Try to make the US player commit all his assets on destroying a portion of yours, while maneuvering to flank. Drawing infantry in and waiting until they dismount to engage them with HE from any armour you might have. Obviously if you can hit the Strykers while they are loaded with troops would be ideal but at range the US will have numerical advantage. It's only up close can you use mobility as a multiplier.

What about things like Blackhawk Down? Large fires at streetcorners to prevent the units from moving down. Seems effective against the Humvee's, would it work against Strykers? Funneling their units into your hit areas will be key.

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Ignoring VERY hypothetical scenarios based around features DEFINETLY not in the game *cough* civillian traffic *cough* I think the most important weapon for the Syrians will be the RPG-7.

I mean the ATGMs sound nice, but they don't have lots and lots. I imagine RPG supply will not be a problem. The RPG is also fairly versitile:

1) It'll punch right through US body armor. Not to be taken lightly when just a few KIAs are a pretty big deal.

2) If those pesky chechens can take out a reactive armored t-80 with 3 RPGs, I can't imagine the stryker's slat armor will stand up much longer to several hits in the same place.

The key to all this the "quantity has a quality all of its own" doctrine. A single RPG isn't likly to do much, 10 being fired at close range by semi-trained militiamen who have just popped out of cover are bound to do some damage. They arn't likly to survive to take a second shot, but there are enough RPGs and militamen so that it won't really matter.

[ December 08, 2005, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: Dillweed ]

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since every other idea has already been posted, i was thinking of setting up an ambush in a city ala Black Hawk Down, first you'd need to down a US chopper of course, the more crowded the better, then set up ambushes all around it, if your forces have good communications then you could have an ambush set before a rescue convoy arrives for the chopper crew, then, like in Mogadishu, get the US troops stuck in loody city fighting till they get sick and leave, once again, just like in Mogadishu, the only thing is that its very unlikely downing a chopper and setting up the ambush. and the Us didnt have the numbers or firepower in Mog, but they probably will in Syria.

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Somehow I missed this thread until now. Too late tonight to post much, but I'll comment in detail tomorrow. For starters, though, it would appear that VBIEDs (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) aren't a factor for an active military environment. It's when there is a general air of normality that they become a really big problem. As Peter stated, the SOP is to blow away any vehicle that comes near or even appears to be a threat during a military op. Having just finished Ambush Alley, I can say that even though that was a significant pitched battle, enemy "technicals" and potential VBIEDs were only a distraction for the gunners and sponges for ammo. They didn't acheive anything.

Dillweed's comment about quantity vs. quality is somewhat true. An insurgent might only have a 5% chance to hit (with a round that detonates!), which by Western standards is pathetically low. Especially because the chances of surviving the shot are also quite low. So being shot at by one guy with an RPG is probably not much of a threat. However, if you're shot at by 100 RPG rounds that means you'd see at least 5 solid hits. To put that into perspecitve, it only takes 1 to kill an Abrams.

I don't know what the shot to hit ratio will be for the averge engagement, but I suspect it will be down in the single digits when talking average, motivated but unskilled irregular forces. The Syrians will not be limited to this type of force either.


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There seems to be a double split here.

Some are talking tactical some strategic, I don't mind both because I think the strategic defence plan dictates a lot about the tactics you use.

The other is between those who are advocating a general strategy (fytinghellfish, Colin, Dillweed and I) and those who have an idea for a scenario and are trying to scale it up to fit a whole country (Iron_man , c3k).

It goes without saying that I don't think you can take a single situation like BHD and scale it up as a blueprint for fighting a war.


I have a problem with your comment on manouvering to the flanks. The key assets of a Stryker force are mobility and networked C3I. I this situation the Syrians would be at a huge disadvantage in terms of battlefield mobility and command.

I just can't see you being able to flank effectively and maintain the unit cohesion to be effective.

By all means suck them in and have if possible concealed units that can be activated to launch flank attacks, but trying to out manouver a US force with inferior troops and leadership, is just asking for trouble.


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Peter Cairns,

While I couldn't fit a D-30 in my bedroom, and your point about its ease of insertion given that the three trails all fold forward is well taken, the reality is that there are lots of buildings in which the gun would fit. I estimate the deployed dimension

as being ~11m in diameter (allowing for 360 degree traverse). No doubt about it, the D-30 would be a nasty weapon in DF vs. a Strkyer, and even a few with Copperheadskiys in indirect fire could cause all kinds of grief, even if only briefly in the face of U.S. counterbattery fire. OTOH, only moderate cleverness would be needed to devise a way to bang off a few rounds, get back into cover, and survive the most likely reply, DPICM. Even easier with, say, a 2S1 SP 122. A garage or small warehouse would work fine.


John Kettler

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syria's weapon systems on hand now

This page lists Syria with 500 D3's in the inventory (122mm gun)

it also breaks down the WHOLE inventory by weapon system, VERY interesting.

It looks like they have a a heck of a LOT of military hardware.

How good it is, who knows, but they sure have lots of it!

If they have learned anything from previous Middle East battles, and wars with Isreal any hypothetical US invasion should not be as easy as some here might think. (Although to be honest I too believe it will be a "turkey shoot" for the US forces, except for all the ATGM and other anti air missile systems and RPG's the Syrian's have on hand.)


From this web page you can compare any two Nation's military strength head to head. Sure the USA and Syria don't match up well, BUT for reference purposes you can match up Syria with any one of the other Nations in their list and see them side by side. (they have a LONG list but it does NOT include ALL nations). A side by side comparision with Isreal is interesting to say the least!

-tom w

[ December 09, 2005, 04:21 AM: Message edited by: aka_tom_w ]

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Thanks for the responses!

My post on civilian vehicles was merely to highlight a successful tactic of moving infantry without response. (No air interdiction, no long range fires. Very different situation than using them in a mounted assault role.)

Why would the Syrians be concerned about their weapons surviving return fire? Take Peter Cairn's D-30 idea: a cannon in a house. (Nice idea.) If all it does is get off one or two rounds, how many does it take to destroy a Stryker? How many U.S. casualties? Would the goal be to see a single dead U.S. soldier on CNN? How many Syrians would that be worth?


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Given some of the idea's posted in this thread I would expect the Sryian's to be very "sneaky" (or stealthy, in military terms) in defence indeed.

AND the their military hardware inventory indicates they have plenty of anti tank guns and ATGM systems on hand so they could hide them almost any where. (I am guessing)

-tom w

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John Kettler,

big problem with the Syrian player using the D-30 or anything else indirectly is communications and targeting.

I think that their ability to use it in open batteries would be excluded due to US airpower, and as to the odd, PG round anda designator on the ground, I doubt that would be the way to go, as they'd have to few designators and far too few with the skill to use them.

So I go for using it like avery big RPG. If the US as going to advance at you then get in their way and try to do some harm.

In a way it's wahat the Soviets did with a lot of field artillery at Kursk, used it for something it wasn't primarily designed for to good effect.


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Originally posted by Peter Cairns:

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.

US has been fooled again & again with very primitive use of decoys. perhaps some lessons have been learned, but i am skeptical (they weren't learned before, so why in 2007).

decoys aren't used to make the enemy run out of ammo (though this has actually happened, for example in the NATO war against Yugoslavia). decoys are used to mislead the enemy about your plans, and the location & strenght of your forces. they are a part of any given plan, and aim at ensuring the element of surprise and mislocation of enemy resources. deception works at least as much for offence as it does for defence. deception by nature is not passive but active.

this could mean endless number of scenarios favorable for the Syrian forces. as much offensive as defensive scenarios. the fact that the US forces would be in for a quick victory and heavily emphasis electronic intelligence (versus human intelligence) plays favourably for Syrian deceptions.

i am quite optimistic about the better trained Syrian forces being able to launch these kind of operations at least on battalion level.

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there appears to be quite an over estimation regarding the merits & capabilities of the air arm. in practice air arm is unable to destroy enemy ground forces that are not maneuvering on open en masse. the main merit of air arm is to prevent enemy from moving on open & thus prevent the enemy from reacting to advancing friendly forces. this belongs to the operational realm of affairs & to scenarios where the defender can not just sit and wait for the attacker to come in and get spanked. on tactical scale battles still have to be resolved on ground. i am not convinced that in the Syria 2007 scenario the Syrian forces could not just let the US forces come in & get spanked on favourable setting.

i don't see need for Syrians to use insurgent tactics. basic tactics are more than enough, especially if the main enemy forces consist of Stryker brigades. infantry & artillery alone are good for stopping a Stryker force. mechanized or armoured units are a bonus that just make the job less bloody for the defender.

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undead reindeer cavalry,

The type of decoys that have worked have been dispersed and static, so i don't buy the idea that you can effectively hide a battalion in a way that it could function as one in an open battle.

you could of course hide/disperse one in a town or less likely wooded hills. But as the US would almost vertainly approach any town or terrain large and dense enough to hid a battalion as if it did hide a battalion, I don't really see where it gets you.

It's sound for a hedgehog defence if you want to make every town a fortress and force the US to clear them or bypass.

The problem is that given US Mobility. Recon, C3I and the large size and low population density of Syrian, the US will have more bypass options than you can cover.

In talking about a zonal defence to company level I suppose I am talking about lots of little hedgehogs but It's to push up the cost and prolong the conflict, certainly not to go toe to toe with the US.

In this scenario, engaging as close as possible and in close terrain does to an extent negate US airpower. But as we saw first in the Falklands with harriers and much more recntly with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and the Kurds in Northern Iraq, small ground based designating teams can pick out individual buildings and vehicles for precision attack even with friendlies in pretty close proximity.

Even if you fortify a town with a bridge the US needs and lead them in, in a full war scenario like CM:SF, they still have the option to flatten everything but the bridge if needs be.

As to Syrian Artillery again I just don't see them having the command and control and responsiveness to us any volume of firepower for any length of time except in the most obvious places like the defence of Damascus, and even then as i've said most would be better deployed as AT than firing randomly and blindly at US Forces.


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