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-   -   Which vehicles lead a Cav push? (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=52001)

Spledge July 26th, 2018 07:23 PM

Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
We've all probably wrestled with the scenario of being tight on time in order to secure some victory hexes during a game. My question pertaining to this dilemma is what was done back in WWII in reality when one has some vehicles to push down a road to look ahead excluding infantry units or soft-bodied transports.

Anyone have a sense for what order vehicles would take in a line of mixed vehicles of tanks and halftracks exclusively? Would a commander in the RL order an expensive tank to lead the column with its beefier armor or would a commander lead with a less expensive though thinner skinned halftrack? Also assume that the area has not been reconnoitered, maybe there's varying degrees of AT units in the enemies arsenal, big bore, small bore, shouldered weapons, etc.

1. I'm interested in containing the question to the RL during WWII for that combination in of vehicles; tanks and halftracks, no soft-bodied vehicles; jeeps, horses, etc, nor infantry.

2. Then for 'fun', what would our gamers do given that choice in a SPWW2 game?


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jp10 July 26th, 2018 09:55 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
There is the 'Tactic' which is what you are doing, then there is the 'Technique' which how you do it. The 'tactic' is hard-fast and absolute. The 'Technique' is what is debated.

From WW2 FM-2-20 Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized (1944)

33. RECONNAISSANCE OF ROADS.
(skip part a.)

b. A road is observed by leading elements from successive observation points off the road. Detailed investigation of the roadway is accomplished by rear elements, or by leading elements when they have determined that the road is clear of enemy. Elements advancing on the road adopt formations which provide security, and offer poor targets to hostile fire.Dismounted patrolling may be employed to supplement observation from vehicles. Careful examination is made of areas in and adjacent to the roadway favorable for the use of mines.

That is the tactic, as far as technique, smoke is your friend. Smoke road parts to eliminate long range AT fire down sections. Leapfrog units down the road, move two hexes and pull off to the side, fire MG or HE into any cover as you move. You have stated a "Take this objective by 'X' time so a recon by fire would be a necessity, to quote "Elements advancing on the road adopt formations which provide security, and offer poor targets to hostile fire." Which is fancy speak for, "In a hurry, blast everything as you go." That is how you provide security and offer a poor target in a time constrained advance. You want formations that will be able to bring so much hurt on any opposing force that they might even decide to give up this position and pull back to a better one. In RL you can scare the enemy more than they scare you. That is a big part of training and experience.
You wanted to rule out supporting infantry but if a vehicle advancing is really worried about mines or enemy, dismounting a crew member to sneak ahead is a RL technique. In the game it would have to be the entire crew but a half-track crew moving ahead of a tank for spotting or mine purposes would be better than nothing.

If you want historical reading here is a link to a lot of US Army WW2 Field manuals. not all are downloadable but FM 17-20 Employment of Armored Units, Reconnaissance Platoon and Company is not only a fun read but really interesting illustrations. :
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/index.html

jivemi July 26th, 2018 10:13 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
Dunno about 1 but for 2 HTs seem the best. They're cheap so you don't risk a tank, plus they're usually faster and smaller than tanks so even if an ATG or tank fires at it they might miss. Just my 2 centavos.

Mobhack July 27th, 2018 07:21 AM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
In the game?

a) If you are a cruel overlord type, that likes to pet your Persian cat and wear a monocle:
- send cavalry down the road (the clip-clop type)
- or send a motorcyclist (either the type that carries passengers or without)

The AI will reaction fre with MGs etc, or riflemen if closer.

It's hard on these, but you are an evil overlord so it does not matter:D

b) Load a halftrack or APC with some infantry, or put some scouts on a light tank. Go slowly down the road and hopefully you will spot something before you get shot up.
- vehicles with loaded grunts spot better than empty ones
- moving slowly is better for spotting. going 3-4 hexes a turn is better than charging 15-20 hexes.

c) The real-world tactic as described to me by a friend at University OTC 50 odds years ago (The OTC operated as a recce platoon with obsolescent kit) was a thing called the "snake patrol".

Recce troop is 2 ferrets and 2 Saladin armoured car, with optional attached Saracen (with a small team) and (not held by OTC) - a ferret with ATGM.

1 ferret leads the string, backed up by a Saladin. The lead ferret tries to keep where it is under the gun of the armoured car for immediate fire support.

Second ferret hangs further back and observes the first pair, again with its armoured car supporter nearby.
the assault section in the Saracen hangs behind these, and is brought forwards if a dismounted recce is required (say you are about to enter a village) or an assault on an outpost is needed.

The ATGM ferret hangs about where it has an overwatch of everything, and looks for tank threat revealed by the actions of the patrols

When the lead ferret comes to a place where it is about to leave the overwatch of the covering Saracen armoured car, it halts and the armoured car comes up to its position, the following section of 1 ferret and 1 Saladin moves up to the first section's position. Once the lead Saladin can cover the point ferret's next bound, and the others are in place then the lead ferret cautiously advances. Rinse and repeat till "something happens".

It was also described as "caterpillar" or "inchworm" tactic as that described the Troop/platoon's progress going forwards.

Key points (game related)
- The slower you move, the better your spotting. Halted (overwatching) units spot better than the movers do.
- A vehicle with infantry on board will spot enemy (especially infantry) better.
- Cavalry or motorcycles spot as infantry, but are vulnerable to any fire. Tin cans at least keep rifle fire out.
- Having a second (or more) spotting unit overwatching the area helps spot firers if the lead unit is fired upon or killed by the fire.

zovs66 July 27th, 2018 07:40 AM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
When I was in the 3rd ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment), we had (IIRC) two platoons of tanks and two of scouts. We used to say scouts out, they were supposed to be out front of us and we used to joke with them when their tracks are smoking burning wrecks we be right behind to find the enemy and return the favor for their sacrifice, oh and tanks a lot, scouts out! lol

RetLT July 31st, 2018 10:58 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 842909)
In the game?

a) If you are a cruel overlord type, that likes to pet your Persian cat and wear a monocle:

Hey! I resemble that remark! :D

I like to use cheap units at mine trippers and air strike decoys too. A few trucks moving in the open might suck up an airstrike that could have damaged a valuable tank!

RetLT July 31st, 2018 11:01 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zovs66 (Post 842910)
When I was in the 3rd ACR (Armored Cavalry Regiment), we had (IIRC) two platoons of tanks and two of scouts. We used to say scouts out, they were supposed to be out front of us and we used to joke with them when their tracks are smoking burning wrecks we be right behind to find the enemy and return the favor for their sacrifice, oh and tanks a lot, scouts out! lol

My step father was a scout in the 11th ACR in Vietnam.

He said his mission orders were to go out front, get shot at, count muzzle flashes, and call in artillery.

He said it was OK when they were in M113s but got a bit hairy when they went to using jeeps.

Spledge August 2nd, 2018 04:27 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
Thank you for the informative responses.

I particularly enjoyed and valued how RL and approaches to be employed in SPWWII were offered and intertwined. Glad to learn that by and large most suggestions for use in SPWWII weren't overly gamey too.

Thanks again.

Spledge August 2nd, 2018 06:09 PM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 842909)
...Recce troop is 2 ferrets and 2 Saladin armored cars, with optional attached Saracen (with a small team) and (not held by OTC) - a ferret with ATGM...

An aside, in my mind, I can value those Ferrets from back in the day, a small (easy to conceal unit with only 4 troops; 2 as crew, 2 as observers) lightly armored vehicle that has high mobility and is less expensive that a larger halftrack or APC. Seems like some top tier militaries now a days favor larger more costly APCs. Yes I appreciate the concerns from IEDs for scout vehicles, but a modern small-ish vehicle with better protection that is cheaper, easy to conceal and simple seems to have a role. At least I think so. Something along the lines of the German Fennek or the French Panhard VBL with attention given to maintaining a low silhouette like the Ferret and dare I say it, slightly stylish looking. The larger and supposedly low price point Oshkosh MRAP our US troops will employ appears to have a high silhouette and looks absolutely awful.

Anyway, just reflecting on the ol' Ferret.

Mobhack August 3rd, 2018 04:15 AM

Re: Which vehicles lead a Cav push?
 
2 crew, squeezed (or rather folded) in. One was attached to our company for a day, I was allocated as "liaison" and rode on the engine decking (nice and warm in the pre-dawn, not so much later that summer's day!).

When I was waiting for it to arrive at 0'dark thirty, was standing alongside a pine wood somewhere near Vogelsang Barracks. Was startled when it appeared suddenly as if by magic about 20 yards off, as he had been creeping along the forest track on tick-over - very quiet when doing so!


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