Armoured vehicle utilization

Armoured vehicle utilization

Armoured vehicles mentioned here are outlined in this link:

Heavy tanks’ primary purpose is to punch holes in enemy defences. Secondary role is that of a direct fire support for infantry. They are primarily intended for frontal attacks against defensive positions, urban combat and other situations where protection takes precendence over mobility. During defense, they are primarily deployed in mobile frontline groups, supporting fortified strongpoints and eliminating enemy combat units. Heavy tanks also lead any counterattack once the enemy has lost their momentum. Because of this, main targets for heavy tanks are enemy fortifications and armoured vehicles.

Medium tanks are maneuver units, carrying out flanking maneuvers against the enemy that has been tied up by heavy armour. If an opportunity presents itself, they will move along with light tanks past the enemy lines, attacking enemy support and logistics elements. Their primary purpose however is tactical as opposed to operational maneuver, due to their larger size and heavier weight. They also form armoured reserve when on the defense, ready to counter any enemy breakthrough. Unlike heavy tanks, which are primarily breakthrough tanks, medium tanks are expected to primarily act against the enemy armour in maneuver battle.

Light tanks are not supposed to engage enemy combat units at all. They are scouts and raiders, moving ahead of heavier units to warn them of potential ambushes. If opportunity presents, light tanks will slip past the enemy lines to wreak havoc with enemy support and logistics elements, robbing the enemy frontline units of their mobility. This same employment is also used in defensive operations. If necessary, light tanks may act as tank destroyers, using their superior mobility to outmaneuver and destroy enemy main battle tanks. This however is not their primary usage, and should be avoided. Light tanks may take on the role of heavy and medium tanks if terrain does not permit employment of heavier vehicles.

During march, light tanks would undertake scouting duties. Heavy tanks would bring up the front and the rear, and medium tanks would protect the flanks. In breakthroughts, heavy tanks would support the attack at breakthrough points. Once breakthrough has been achieved, medium tanks would roll up the flank of the enemy frontline units, while light tanks would pass into the enemy rear areas and neutralize enemy logistical and C4ISR support. In airborne assaults, light tanks would be dropped in with the infantry. Once air fields had been secured, medium and heavy tanks would be deployed.

Primary purpose of assault guns is direct fire support of infantry, as well as destruction of enemy defences, particularly those that survived indirect-fire bombardment. Because of this, they sacrifice mobility in favour of firepower and protection, mounting both more powerful gun and heavier armour than the tanks they are based on. Secondary role is that of tank destroyers in defensive employment. When utilized in armoured division, tank destroyer versions follow tanks and secure any gained territory from enemy armoured counterattack. Assault guns however keep with the tanks and help dispose of the static positions. A portion of assault guns may stay behind with tank destroyers, allowing their powerful high explosive projectiles to be utilized against enemy infantry units.

Tracked APCs are intended primarily for infantry transport, allowing infantry to follow tanks and deploy when necessary. For this reason, there are three weight classes of APCs, each based on the chassis of one tank type. Heavy APC variant is intended primarily for urban combat, having heavy protection as well as capability for both direct and indirect fire support of the troops it deployed. Medium and light APC variants are intended for maneuver warfare, following their respective tank types. IFV variants of APCs improve on their infantry support capabilities, allowing tanks to focus on tasks other than infantry fire support. Tank destroyer variants of APCs are expected to provide last-ditch protection from enemy armoured attacks. Wheeled APCs fulfill same tasks, but are intended for urban warfare.

Air defense vehicles are expected to provide layered air defense to divisions on the attack. For this reason there is a great variety of weapons employed, allowing effective engagement of aerial targets at all relevant ranges. Being based on a tank chassis allows it to follow armoured units through all types of terrain that are passable to tanks. Air defense tasks include engagement and destruction of enemy fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as destruction of munitions dropped by enemy aircraft.

Flamethrower tank is intended for destruction of enemy strongpoints and bunkers, primarily in close-range urban combat where liquid flamethrowers can be useful. If necessary, it can also be used for clearing away plant growth that impedes combat operations.

Mortar carriers are intended for indirect fire support of infantry engaged in combat. Compared to howitzers which fire heavy, relatively thick-skinned shell at comparatively shallow angle, mortar carriers fire high-content HE shell with thin walls at steep angle. This makes them an excellent choice for defense against massed infantry attacks, as well as destroying unprotected equipment, ammunition and fuel stashes etc. Relatively low recoil should allow even mortars based on tanks far higher elevation. Light mortar carrier in particular would be good indirect fire support weapon due to nearly unlimited elevation; this is paid for by its increased vulnerability to small arms fire and artillery bombardment.

Self-propelled howitzers are intended for indirect fire support. Unlike mortars, howitzers cannot be utilized when the enemy is very close – direct-fire role excepted – and are far less useful than mortars in difficult terrain. However, they have heavier and sturdier shell at higher velocities compared to mortars. This allows howitzers advantage in range as well as greater effectiveness against enemy fortified positions. Large-calibre artillery in particular would be effective against heavy fortifications, and thus concentrated under divisional command, while smaller-calibre artillery would be attacked to maneuver elements.

MLRS systems are intended primarily for area supression fire missions, when it is imperative to launch large number of rounds in short span of time. If combined with guided missile rounds, they could be utilized even for point destruction missions. Their advantage compared to conventional artillery is longer range, allowing them to remain safe from most enemy surface weapons. However, size of rockets means that far larger supply chain is required for the same number of projectiles to be transported. Larger-calibre MLRS should have the capability to fire rockets with armour-penetrating warheads, thus allowing for destruction of enemy fortifications.

Armoured car is intended primarily to provide infantry with a light armoured vehicle optimized for urban operations. Since such cars would be (comparatively) low-value targets, they can be used for scouting and screening of higher-value tragets in both urban and country environment.

Gun truck is intended to give infantry versatile fire support capable of engaging a wide variety of targets. Basic version mounting machine guns or anti-aircraft gun would allow for anti-aircraft defense, as well as direct fire against enemy infantry and soft-skinned vehicles. Relatively low price and good situational awareness would make it excellent for convoy protection.

Reconnaissance vehicle would act as a control center for a reconnaissance section. It would be equipped with UAVs, as well as working alongside foot-mobile and motor-bike scouts, in addition to its own extensive sensory systems. Datalink connections would allow transfer of information in close to real time. As a result, its presence would significantly improve situational awareness. Some vehicles should be assigned directly to command, with others operating independently and transferring data to all units in certain range. Such vehicles would move alongside light armoured formations in particular, allowing them to avoid enemy strongpoints and armoured units, as well as informing units behind of the enemy situation and movements.

Combat units will be supported by armoured logistical vehicles. This is especially important in counterinsurgency / guerilla warfare where there is no front line, making supply units vulnerable to attack. It would also be important in conventional warfare, particularly urban combat which presents similar problems to logistical units as counterinsurgency does, exposing them to direct attacks. Another utilization for such units would be escorting maneuver units in combat zone, allowing far better mobility and thus freedom of maneuver. Light tanks in particular would benefit from this due to their task of penetrating deep behind the enemy lines. Mobility-wise, armed combat engineering vehicle would be useful in destroying barricades in cases of urban combat, while bridge carrier and amphibious rig vehicles would allow crossing of obstacles such as rivers and (smaller) lakes. Combat engineering tractor would provide generalist support for light tank units deep behind enemy lines.

Some support vehicles, such as armoured ladder carrier and water cannon vehicle would be utilized almost exclusively for urban combat. Another such vehicle is ammunition trailer, which would likely limit mobility over the open country, but would prove invaluable in urban warfare for increasing tank’s supply of machine gun ammo. Armoured bulldozer would also be heavily utilized in urban warfare for removing barricades, and would see some utilization in open country for digging tank pits. It would be used for a wide variety of tasks in general, such as earthworks, digging moats (or filling them in), mounting digging sand barriers, building fortifications, rescuing stuck, damaged or overturned armoured vehicles, clearing landmines, IEDs and explosives, clearing terrain obstacles and demolishing structures. These tasks are also filled by combat engineering tractor, but at greater cost.

11 thoughts on “Armoured vehicle utilization

  1. Why would you want to use armoured cars for urban warfare ? Blacktail made a serie of videos explaining these issues way better than I can. What do you think ?


    1. Wheeled vehicles are IIRC easier to maintain, which would be important in a vehicle that is meant to be numerous. That being said, it is true that tracked vehicles are generally superior.


  2. Picard, what would the ratio of self-propelled vs towed artillery be?

    Similarly, what do you think would be the right ratio of light vs medium vs heavy tanks/APCs/assault guns?


    1. The issue I see is that a Blitzkrieg style advance can only be done with light to medium tanks.

      Heavy tanks for the initial breakthrough, then after that lighter tanks to advance deep into the enemy territory. Tactically it makes sense to have light forces that can keep up:

      Light tanks and APCs
      Maybe medum tanks, but they are more logistically demanding
      Artillery would have to be self-propelled, or be towed by other tracked vehicles
      Logistics, which makes this all happen
      Close air support would have to be near the front at all times
      Air superiority would have to punch a small salient as to allow CAS to operate

      It’s an interesting question.


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