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Tank crews


Rick

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The ex-sailor in me believes that in this point in time all the major nations with tanks, all crews are trained in about the same way regarding crew functions and tactics and that each major nation's armor tactics are about the same. My analogy would be you buying a car from another car company and driving in another country. I believe after a short time -- a day or two or threee -- you would be doing as well as you could.

Of course, there is that ever so infinitesimal chance I could be mistaken :) 

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Crew procedures certainly vary with any given vehicle's technology/user interface.

Doctrinal use will have more similarities, but there still are notable differences. Israel does not seem to emphasize close infantry-tanks cooperation, not even in urban terrain. Traditionally, France and the UK seem to have overemphasized an infantry-centric operational use that would subordinate the tank to the infantry's direct fire support role - which probably is a simplification too; I think however the nuance comes when you look at "whet's the normal case and what's the 'also mentioned' role" where the US, Germany would emphasize tank formations' independent maneuver with, also, infantry support as another task to fulfil, and France and the UK having their priorities mirrored.

German AFV crews, a legacy of the Normandy '44 experience, are almost obsessed with vehicle camouflage. US troops don't seem to care much about camouflage at all. So, I think that these are examples of areas where you'd see most of the differences.

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1 hour ago, Ssnake said:

German AFV crews, a legacy of the Normandy '44 experience, are almost obsessed with vehicle camouflage. US troops don't seem to care much about camouflage at all. So, I think that these are examples of areas where you'd see most of the differences.

American crews seeming distain for camouflage might be a leftover remnant of the SOFA agreement with Germany that prohibited us from cutting trees for camouflage, something we did quite a lot of at Ft. Stewart.  I remember more than a few of us being miffed when we saw the rolling hedges that were Chieftains smothered in branches.

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3 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Doctrinal use will have more similarities, but there still are notable differences. Israel does not seem to emphasize close infantry-tanks cooperation, not even in urban terrain.

If you base this off IDF's releases or Hamas videos, then I recommend finding something a little more reliable than ultra narrow snapshots.

Plenty of active and reservist IDF personnel, including those currently in Gaza, that are available to answer such questions.

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3 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

If you base this off IDF's releases or Hamas videos, then I recommend finding something a little more reliable than ultra narrow snapshots.

Also from historical performance in 1967, 1973, not just current Hamas videos. I will readily acknowledge that things may have changed over the course of almost six decades.

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14 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Crew procedures certainly vary with any given vehicle's technology/user interface.

Doctrinal use will have more similarities, but there still are notable differences. Israel does not seem to emphasize close infantry-tanks cooperation, not even in urban terrain. Traditionally, France and the UK seem to have overemphasized an infantry-centric operational use that would subordinate the tank to the infantry's direct fire support role - which probably is a simplification too; I think however the nuance comes when you look at "whet's the normal case and what's the 'also mentioned' role" where the US, Germany would emphasize tank formations' independent maneuver with, also, infantry support as another task to fulfil, and France and the UK having their priorities mirrored.

German AFV crews, a legacy of the Normandy '44 experience, are almost obsessed with vehicle camouflage. US troops don't seem to care much about camouflage at all. So, I think that these are examples of areas where you'd see most of the differences.

Actually, I have seen vids of IDF tank infantry co-operation. Their TIC does not involve infantry spread out around tanks in an urban area to protect them from anti tank teams or anything like that. Rather, they have a Merk blast a hole in the wall of a building, then have a heavy APC like an Azcharit reverse close to the hole, open the doors and have armored infantry troops egress the APC directly into the building via the hole created by the Merk main gun. After that, the infantry clears the building.

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I'm not saying that they don't have any infantry/tank cooperation. But the idea of the tank as an infantry support vehicle in the direct fire role would probably be difficult to sell to Israeli tank officers. That may be a temporary task assignment, but wouldn't reflect the doctrinal role. I will also concede that the Israelis seem to be less rigid when it comes to "doctrine". Whether that's a reflection of pragmatism or a limit of the conscription system with limited amount of available training time I'll leave to others to answer.

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51 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

I will also concede that the Israelis seem to be less rigid when it comes to "doctrine".

Regardless of whether or not that's true, rigidity is a negative trait. If adversaries constantly change their tactics and technology, then our doctrine should be more flexible. A direction in which the IDF is going is putting officers from multiple branches in every independent command (usually battalion) to advise on usage of artillery, air power, engineering, and intel. So that in the end, the mid-level commanders see every asset as something that can shoot X amount and see Y amount. At least that's the goal. There's now a pilot program for embedding officers from Project Stormclouds (Orbiter drone swarms operated by the air force) in select ground units.

https://news.walla.co.il/item/3616242

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2 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

rigidity is a negative trait

I wouldn't get into an argument about that. A firm knowledge of doctrinal concepts is, however, desirable. We evidently don't have the mental capacity as humans to make everything up on the fly, under stressful conditions like combat.

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23 hours ago, Tim Sielbeck said:

American crews seeming distain for camouflage might be a leftover remnant of the SOFA agreement with Germany that prohibited us from cutting trees for camouflage, something we did quite a lot of at Ft. Stewart.  I remember more than a few of us being miffed when we saw the rolling hedges that were Chieftains smothered in branches.

I suspect the EPA or Health has much to do with it as well, and not only in Germany. Environmental regulations on training sites tend to mean "no destroying trees, no driving in these locations. You want to dig a fighting position?! You must be joking. Only on that designated digging range over there, and I don't care that it has no relationship to the mock battle you're about to fight. No, you can't have a slit trench latrine, you have to use the porta-potties"... And so on.

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Re health and safety, I remember seeing a Canadian Leopard 1 at Bovington about 20 years ago, and noticing a large brass plate on the exhaust saying (bilingual IIRC) something like 'Do not touch. Hot!' :D

The British had a strange attitude to West Germany, it was only in the 1980's they started to learn to behave. Up till then, I think there was a certain attitude, probably shared with the Soviets, 'We fought for it, so we can do what we like with it'. By the 1980's they were trying to be good boys, laying barmines made out of compost, not trying to dig up the entire German countryside, even ending some exercises when they did too much damage. But there were limits. I remember reading about a secret British unit that had a stay behind role to call for fire for the 175 and 203mm guns, who had the role of digging their own shelter. Which by and large went well, but on one occasion they rather upset West German forest rangers whom discovered them digging up a significant chunk of the forest to put in a covert observation post. Which doesnt sound so bad, but they had to do this on every exercise....

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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  • 1 month later...
On 11/6/2023 at 3:23 PM, Ssnake said:

Traditionally, France and the UK seem to have overemphasized an infantry-centric operational use that would subordinate the tank to the infantry's direct fire support role - which probably is a simplification too

it depend of the action, and if it's an Inf tactical group or a Cav tactical group.

In open area it 's generaly the second, and an inf section is deployed with a tank squadron, while in wooden or urban area it would be a tank platoon detached with an inf company 

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