Tactics & military craft

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Lalmohan
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 17 Mar 2018 03:48

akshay-ji
I am not a soldier, not had any military training. therefore i cannot comment on sub unit tactics
my simple thinking is how can you manoeuvre whilst staying concealed and concentrating your firepower against the enemy's weak points?
that really depends on the terrain you are in and the climatic conditions, therefore it would really depend on what is available to screen you? where can you be so that the enemy cannot see you and you know where they are and how you can strike them when they are least expecting it whilst maximising the technology at your disposal.
I don't know. I have never done it.
I expect it to be quite difficult.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 18 Mar 2018 15:57

Your post was well thought out and made good points so I thought you might know more about armour sub unit tactics. Good lesson to all on BR - just applying logic with diligence, visualising and spending effort leads to good insights even if you have no military training or experience.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 18 Mar 2018 16:01

Lalmohan wrote:akshay-ji
I am not a soldier, not had any military training. therefore i cannot comment on sub unit tactics
my simple thinking is how can you manoeuvre whilst staying concealed and concentrating your firepower against the enemy's weak points?
that really depends on the terrain you are in and the climatic conditions, therefore it would really depend on what is available to screen you? where can you be so that the enemy cannot see you and you know where they are and how you can strike them when they are least expecting it whilst maximising the technology at your disposal.
I don't know. I have never done it.
I expect it to be quite difficult.


You have have listed important elements of tactics. Now lets try to visualise each of the issues you raise and see where that leads us.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 19 Mar 2018 01:25

start with terrain - use of masking features, avoidance of difficult ground, avoidance of places where the enemy can lay an ambush, or detect you easily
your technology, your enemies technology? - can you move at night? can you move in smoke/fog? conversely can the enemy see you? detect you?
situational awareness - do you know where you are? do you know where your friends are? do you know where your enemies are? and their backup? and your logistics? is your fuel and ammo going to catch up with you? if so where? and how will you communicate with them? if you manage to hit the enemy and break through - where will you go? where will you create a defensive position? should you at all? should your support troops catch up with you? how long do you have?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 19 Mar 2018 09:12

To me, the key aspects of employing armor are:

1. They always have to be a part (naybe vanguard, maybe not) of combined arms. Particularly, significant engineer assets for clearing ninefields, creating bridges and being able to do field repair of damaged tanks. In addition, SP Arty, UAV and ground recce and mechanized infantry must keep pace in support.

2. The second is the ability to disperse and concentrate at will. The idea being that smaller units seek out gaps in enemy defences and also keep the enemy guessing about the main axis of atrack. Once gaps are identified, supporting units concentrate to deliver maximum impact. The idea of force concentration of armor is different from infantry or artillery, simply because of the room required for tank movement and the dangers of being caught in a funnel.

3. The most important aspect is to be able to fight at night. Crews need significant training time on TI and NVD assisted gunnery as well as GPS assisted movement and secure communication.

4. Armor action is more fluid and fast paced compared to infantry action, so higher level command and control must keep pace with that. This is particularly so because eneny armor also has the advantage of changing battle outcomes within hours instead of days, so the situation in the morning can be very different than in the evening.

5. Protecting supply lines of FOL and ammo is critical to maintaining momentum. Armor units must be prepared to lose infantry and enginner assets as the thrust deepens, to protect the lengthening shaft of the spear.

Comments and critiques are welxome.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 19 Mar 2018 21:50

logistics is key

I would have thought that without excellent communications (and network centric capabilities) disperse and regroup is very difficult if significant supplies have to be brought to you (the supply lines are highly vulnerable to defence or counter attack)

the only force that I know of who did that well were the Mongols - particularly on their great recon raid to the west (to Europe). they were of course master foragers and could live off the land better than most and their communications were good enough to allow dispersal and regrouping and concentration to be decisive, whilst at the same time creating a sense of vast numbers of raiders scouring the land and razing it - and spreading terror as they went

germans in early stages of ww2 found themselves getting ahead of their comms and logistics all the time. Rommel whilst leading an attack into france found himself so far ahead that he ended up in his staff car in the midst of a French armoured column still forming up to fight the german force that had long since moved on

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 00:40

Good points gents. Anoop good to see you back.

Commenting via a mobile so please excuse my errors. Let’s take a squadron and apply the points you gents have made to it.

Offensive task - in overall offensive task yes combined arms is necessary mostly front two aspects - logistics catching up with armour and AD cover. Logistics is crucial because the tank needs fuel , shells , lubricants , tank treads etc etc. Point made about ENGR support is also important because Pakis have been known to lay very deep mimedields. Arty is perhaps less imp as yanks have gone or own firepower.

The main issue is that armour moving sigmifnqtly ahead of the logistics and AD can make not only armour vulnerable but also the logistics and support echelons as the enemy can outflank and attack. Infact that’s why as a senior commander you don’t want one thrust getting too far ahead of the others as it can be cut off.

But as sqdn commander I don’t worry too much about these issues. I can have 2 offensive roles. As part of the bigger armour attack and in support of infantry brigade.

Let’s take the first. I have been allocated a certain objective and I will have to move my 13 tanks to take it within the allotted time. As you gents point out the following come into play

1. Field craft. Knowing the terrain and using it. In offensive role of armour once the die is cast and track is joined basically I have to find the quickest way to objective. Before that as per Regt plans all concealment efforts etc would have been done as you gents point out.

2. So if I attack what’s my formation. Is it trishul, lime abreast , square etc. Depends upon terrain and the enemy dispositions. In deserts it will generally be a wide front. The biggest danger of line abreast in infantry tactics is you expose yourself to enfilade fire. In armour it’s less of an issue as tanks armour prevents multiple tanks getting hit. Secondly because of the range of my primary weapon (1-2 km) I can spread my tanks out a lot and still support each other and maintain formation. My turrets can also pivot to fight of threats on flanks. Very different from the infantry attacks we have discussed till now.

3. Again as you gents point out position keeping situation awareness is essential. For that communications are crucial. So a lot of emphasis is placed on radio drills. Watch mission army Natgeo armoured episode and first task when entering tank is getting the radio working. Best way to get situations awareness is to poke your head out. So our officers will close hatches only at the very very last moment. Many of of our casualties happened this way. Read Major Anil Kauls citation. Hand signals are also used.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 01:27

Now how do I position my troops (3/4 tanks each) ? I must give them clear objectives and separate objectives. Its quite important that during battle my tanks are moving with purpose and with clear objectives. This is to avoid a meele and to avoid friendly fire. And I must know how they are getting on and relay a composite picture of my sqdn to regimental HQ. Crisp, short communication with practiced codes and try not to information overload.

The first shot is important. Each of my tanks must shoot first and keep shooting first and accurately. Thats a big advantage. If I am engaging another arnoured force then its crucial to hit first because regardless of what anyone says and how good enemy armour is if I hit an enemy tank with my shell it will create some damage even if its just pshycological.

Targets - hit tanks with antennas to take out officers. Same will happen to my tanks. So its important that chain of command is clear and even a Havildar knows the task and can take initiative if all officers are down. Thats why in Armoured Corps the style of command is a little different - a lot of focus on training and drills but after that a lot of initiative. Initiative and independent thinking and action is inculcated in troops and officers from the very start. As Anoop mentions it is a very fluid battle. It is very loud and scary too. So the ethos is a little different from infantry. More independent minded. Senior armour officers usually have less concern in saying whats on their minds than other arms.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 01:29

Anoop wrote:To me, the key aspects of employing armor are:

1. They always have to be a part (naybe vanguard, maybe not) of combined arms. Particularly, significant engineer assets for clearing ninefields, creating bridges and being able to do field repair of damaged tanks. In addition, SP Arty, UAV and ground recce and mechanized infantry must keep pace in support.

2. The second is the ability to disperse and concentrate at will. The idea being that smaller units seek out gaps in enemy defences and also keep the enemy guessing about the main axis of atrack. Once gaps are identified, supporting units concentrate to deliver maximum impact. The idea of force concentration of armor is different from infantry or artillery, simply because of the room required for tank movement and the dangers of being caught in a funnel.

3. The most important aspect is to be able to fight at night. Crews need significant training time on TI and NVD assisted gunnery as well as GPS assisted movement and secure communication.

4. Armor action is more fluid and fast paced compared to infantry action, so higher level command and control must keep pace with that. This is particularly so because eneny armor also has the advantage of changing battle outcomes within hours instead of days, so the situation in the morning can be very different than in the evening.

5. Protecting supply lines of FOL and ammo is critical to maintaining momentum. Armor units must be prepared to lose infantry and enginner assets as the thrust deepens, to protect the lengthening shaft of the spear.

Comments and critiques are welxome.


Strongly disagree with above bolded part. Read the link I posted above on the Armour Doctrine of the 70s. Adresses exactly this mindset -that was a big mistake. On the contrary armour must be prepared to take casulaties and press on. Our problems in battle have been armour has not been always been bold enough and we were too scared of loosing tanks in many instances.

What did you mean by 'as thrust deepens to proetct the lenghening shaft of the spear' ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 01:36

Jumping up levels of command to regt and brigade - armour must appear on enemy flanks and turn them. That was the old cavalry did. Second the sheer shock effect of armour and the news 'tanks are here' when not expected raises alarm and fear. Thats why armour must press on....always.

Lalmohan ji logistics are crucial and infact thats why our finest arour commander and infact one the top 3 Gens we have ever produced Gen Hanut Singh had a serious disagreement with Gen Vaidya I think or was it Gen Sundarji. He apparently disagreed with paper plans for long thrusts which had not factored in logstics. He said it cannot be done unless you supply me by air. Cost him the next promotion.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 20 Mar 2018 08:00

Sir,

Thank you for the reality check and the details of employing small units. It's far more useful (and more difficult) for us civilians to understand from the ground up, rather than from the top down.

Re. the statement "protecting the shaft", what I meant is that as the tank thrusts go deeper into enemy territory, their supply lines become longer and that needs protection. I thought that the logistic nodes at least could be protected by minefields against enemy armor which would need Engrs, SP Arty to protect against armor or enemy Arty and perhaps most importantly, AD against enemy air.

In terms of an India-Pak war, it seems that the E-W distance from the border is not as critical as reaching a certain area e.g. RYK or Mirpur Khas and then expanding along the N-S axis to separate the Pak defences. Would this be an example of a short distance "against the grain of the country" to RYK and then "along the grain of the country"?

Lalmohan, another example of dispersal and concentration is by Napoleon. He could move entire Corps without the enemy knowing where the main thrust was coming from.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 11:34

Anoop wrote:Sir,

Thank you for the reality check and the details of employing small units. It's far more useful (and more difficult) for us civilians to understand from the ground up, rather than from the top down.

Re. the statement "protecting the shaft", what I meant is that as the tank thrusts go deeper into enemy territory, their supply lines become longer and that needs protection. I thought that the logistic nodes at least could be protected by minefields against enemy armor which would need Engrs, SP Arty to protect against armor or enemy Arty and perhaps most importantly, AD against enemy air.

In terms of an India-Pak war, it seems that the E-W distance from the border is not as critical as reaching a certain area e.g. RYK or Mirpur Khas and then expanding along the N-S axis to separate the Pak defences. Would this be an example of a short distance "against the grain of the country" to RYK and then "along the grain of the country"?

Lalmohan, another example of dispersal and concentration is by Napoleon. He could move entire Corps without the enemy knowing where the main thrust was coming from.


Not at all Anoop. You have done a fantastic job of bringing up all the important issues. That's why I keep saying on BRF - the combination of real interest, research effort and visualisation are enough to analyse most issues. And you can see it here - a very high quality effort.

Okay I understand what you meant re the 'shaft'. Interesting thought. Could be done perhaps if my logistics nodes are static but I don't think they will be. Logistics nodes will be sighted using the usual principles of flank proetction etc and by logistics troops. For example an POL dump is protected close in by ASC not by infantry. Its situated deep within your territory so you dont expect enemy to come in.But thats exactly the point about the long lines of communication. If armour races up too much and lines get extended they can e cut. But cutting is not that easy - needs the enemy to also have the guts to do it and be in a position to do it. Fully agree on your point about AD support for logistics nodes in modern battle.

ENGRS will be right in the front with the armour to clear mines and make bridges. They are usually FILO - First in Last Out.

Btw do read the link I posted above about the thoughts of Generals MM Bakshi and Inder Gill about the armoured doctrine of the 70s.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 20 Mar 2018 11:35

Anoop wrote:Sir,


In terms of an India-Pak war, it seems that the E-W distance from the border is not as critical as reaching a certain area e.g. RYK or Mirpur Khas and then expanding along the N-S axis to separate the Pak defences. Would this be an example of a short distance "against the grain of the country" to RYK and then "along the grain of the country"?

.


Absolutely !!

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 20 Mar 2018 16:26

anoop - agreed about napoleon, and I believe that the role of the hussars (light horse) was refined to fulfil the comms and recon role, which to me sounds a lot like foraging Mongolian riders

so in the Napoleonic model: hussars - recon and comms
heavy cavalry/curaissiers - make the big decisive smash through the enemy lines
lancers (light cav) - rapid pursuit and kill

mongols used light archers for recon/probe and feint attacks to draw out the main enemy force and get them to pursue (and break ranks) - and typically lead them into a kill zone where the heavy cavalry would be hiding (behind a hill say) and then smash into the disarrayed ranks of the pursuers. the light horse could then pursue any remnants as they fled

Zulus were also able to move large infantry forces across big terrain rapidly and then concentrate, although I believe they relied more on pre-set plans than communications, although they used runners between regiments

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 05 Apr 2018 05:05

Lalmohan, interesting to hear about the Mongols and Napoleon's tactics. Thank you.

I re-read the articles on the 1965 armor deployments that Ramana linked in the 1965 Indo-Pak War thread. What struck me was that the killing zone of the Pattons was developed over 2-3 days and it made very little use of minefields. Rather, the Pattons were shepherded into the killing zone by means of IA artillery that blocked off one flank, infantry lines that held the center supported by light armor (PT, AMX) and by flooding of the plains, which left only the northern flank on which the horse-shoe trap was sprung by the Centurions. If Pak armor had not been separated from its mechanized infantry in almost all its engagements, they may have broken the IA's defensive lines and the trap may not have shut.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Singha » 06 Jul 2018 08:18

the coastal plains of equatorial west africa and the zulu region in the south seems to be the root node of most of the worlds sprint talent - senegal, nigeria, congo, ghana, cote de ivorie just looking at their athletes and footballers phenomenal height, build, pace and strength. via immigration many EU teams have absorbed this talent. a good example would be romelu lukaku of belgium - 6'3" and 94kg of brawn, skills and speed. people kidnapped by white slavers from the west coast and interior areas like congo were taken to brazil, west indies, murica. pele, usain bolt, lebron, carl lewis , ambrose, holding all can probably be genetically traced back to this region.

the top SA zulu athletes complete the hilly 88km comrades ultra in hot conditions in 6 hours. the spirit of the Impi's live on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impi

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 06 Jul 2018 20:32

also, because of the slave trade and 'selective breeding' done by slave owners in the colonies (including the American south) - only the strongest survivors and hardiest workers could and would be allowed to reproduce so that they produced hardier and stronger off spring. there is a reason why American and European black people are physically stronger than the average. the whites saw it a bit as raising work horses.

Zulus in their heyday were average 6'2" (compared to british soldier average 5'3"), but post colonialism, the reduced nutrition in the Zulu diet reduced their average height to 5'6"

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2018 01:51

GD, you please take Zulu duscussion elsewhere.

Thanks,.
Ramana

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 07 Jul 2018 16:15

the shallow water trap is also deadly. (I will not digress about the Boer-Zulu battle of the blood river!) but during the first indian war of independence, a column of revolutionary forces was moving across waterlogged fields during the monsoon along a bund (doab region) and the smaller british and aligned forces managed to catch them by luck in the wrong place and wrong time. unable to get off the bund into the muddy waterlogged fields with their artillery and baggage train the revolutionary army was effectively caught in a trap and took heavy casualties from grapeshot that was fired at head height into the column. this caused significant problems (loss of men and artillery, plus damage to morale) for the revolutionary forces


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