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  #1  
Old June 14th, 2018, 01:05 PM
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Default Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Check this out as for reference, but I am warning you... this is not looking good for the Brits XD

BAOR - how bad was it:
http://tanks.mod16.org/2016/09/26/th...ow-bad-was-it/

Strv 103 vs. the Brits:
http://tanks.mod16.org/2015/04/02/re...the-baor-1973/
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Old June 14th, 2018, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Yes, I've seen this document in another forum. IIRC, British servicemembers said that the early 70ies weren't a particularly good period for the British armed forces in general.
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Old June 21st, 2018, 05:42 AM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

I read the reports.
Interesting.
First I want to ask something about Swedish tactics and the 103. It says more than once that Swedish tank tactics were of a very aggressive moves, especially to isolate smaller/weaker units, etc. Was that something that they came up with before or after the 103 entered their army? I am finding it difficult to comprehend, how that tactic would work with a tank/tank destroyer, without a turret. As far as I know the tank was created/designed to use hull down positions, shoot/ambush the incoming Soviet forces and retreat when necessary. How did they hope to use it so aggressively I can't understand.

As for what it says about the British forces. Considering the very different terrain that the British forces would fight on, than the Swedish, it kinda makes sense. While the forests and hilly terrain of Sweden would be appropriate for tanks to be relatively close to each other, having to face the onslaught of Soviet artillery in open fields, it makes far more sense to have your tanks spread out.
I won't go into more things.

Accuracy of the gunners and all that, I don't know.
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Old June 21st, 2018, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wdll View Post
First I want to ask something about Swedish tactics and the 103. It says more than once that Swedish tank tactics were of a very aggressive moves, especially to isolate smaller/weaker units, etc. Was that something that they came up with before or after the 103 entered their army? I am finding it difficult to comprehend, how that tactic would work with a tank/tank destroyer, without a turret. As far as I know the tank was created/designed to use hull down positions, shoot/ambush the incoming Soviet forces and retreat when necessary. How did they hope to use it so aggressively I can't understand.

This is my own opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

In general, Swedes seem to emphasize combined arms at all levels (even in the game, they are one of the few armies that has integrated infantry at company level without any cross attachment) of units. That means infantry is probably well trained in fighting together with the tanks and can be used when the situation demands it. When attacking a tank platoon in a restricted area, it will be the infantry that will be more dangerous to enemy tanks, since it is hard to spot, and a well-placed LAW side hit will be sufficient to deal with them. 103s will not attack the enemy directly, but will try to find the best terrain in which they can engage the armor as it withdraws, or deal with any potential counterattacks.


In addition to that, it says in the article that Swedes emphasized getting local odds and defeating the enemy quickly. That means that probably they were routinely able to quickly mass a company against a single defending platoon (or even less), attack from unexpected directions and overwhelm them. Rinse and repeat as needed. This was made easier by the fact that the British spread their platoons far more than the terrain demanded. Also, emphasis on the quickly assemble part; if they took too long in this step, they would be spotted and get their teeth knocked off by artillery.


So the (ideal) attack would go on like this: A British tank platoon with an infantry section attached would suddenly come under mortar barrage with HE and smoke rounds. Very soon, an infantry force at least 3 times their size supported by armor from good positions would attack from unexpected directions. Due to casualties and being completely surprised, the surviving British forces would withdraw...only to get whacked by 103s that were on this ridgeline to their flank. The whole thing will be over very fast. The attackers dig in and get ready to repel any counterattacks.


Here's what the source itself claims:

"These passages (particularly 1:28) should be enough to give at least an overview of the Swedish doctrine: focusing fire (both tank gun and artillery fire) from good positions and concentrating forces in small areas were seen as crucial components of success. Contrary to what you might think, Swedish armor officers were doctrinally very aggressive and taught to attack in almost every situation to gain and retain initiative. Concentration of force and especially of fire was seen as absolutely essential on all levels, and the observers complain a lot about how the Brits don’t do this, or don’t do it enough (the wide deployments usually prevent focusing fire within the platoon)."
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Old June 21st, 2018, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeraaa View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wdll View Post
First I want to ask something about Swedish tactics and the 103. It says more than once that Swedish tank tactics were of a very aggressive moves, especially to isolate smaller/weaker units, etc. Was that something that they came up with before or after the 103 entered their army? I am finding it difficult to comprehend, how that tactic would work with a tank/tank destroyer, without a turret. As far as I know the tank was created/designed to use hull down positions, shoot/ambush the incoming Soviet forces and retreat when necessary. How did they hope to use it so aggressively I can't understand.

This is my own opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

In general, Swedes seem to emphasize combined arms at all levels (even in the game, they are one of the few armies that has integrated infantry at company level without any cross attachment) of units. That means infantry is probably well trained in fighting together with the tanks and can be used when the situation demands it. When attacking a tank platoon in a restricted area, it will be the infantry that will be more dangerous to enemy tanks, since it is hard to spot, and a well-placed LAW side hit will be sufficient to deal with them. 103s will not attack the enemy directly, but will try to find the best terrain in which they can engage the armor as it withdraws, or deal with any potential counterattacks.


In addition to that, it says in the article that Swedes emphasized getting local odds and defeating the enemy quickly. That means that probably they were routinely able to quickly mass a company against a single defending platoon (or even less), attack from unexpected directions and overwhelm them. Rinse and repeat as needed. This was made easier by the fact that the British spread their platoons far more than the terrain demanded. Also, emphasis on the quickly assemble part; if they took too long in this step, they would be spotted and get their teeth knocked off by artillery.


So the (ideal) attack would go on like this: A British tank platoon with an infantry section attached would suddenly come under mortar barrage with HE and smoke rounds. Very soon, an infantry force at least 3 times their size supported by armor from good positions would attack from unexpected directions. Due to casualties and being completely surprised, the surviving British forces would withdraw...only to get whacked by 103s that were on this ridgeline to their flank. The whole thing will be over very fast. The attackers dig in and get ready to repel any counterattacks.


Here's what the source itself claims:

"These passages (particularly 1:28) should be enough to give at least an overview of the Swedish doctrine: focusing fire (both tank gun and artillery fire) from good positions and concentrating forces in small areas were seen as crucial components of success. Contrary to what you might think, Swedish armor officers were doctrinally very aggressive and taught to attack in almost every situation to gain and retain initiative. Concentration of force and especially of fire was seen as absolutely essential on all levels, and the observers complain a lot about how the Brits don’t do this, or don’t do it enough (the wide deployments usually prevent focusing fire within the platoon)."
This could potentially work against the British forces which were trained to fight against the Soviets. That's my point. The British continued (in the exercise) to use tactics that they would use against the Soviets in central Europe.
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Old June 23rd, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wdll View Post
First I want to ask something about Swedish tactics and the 103. It says more than once that Swedish tank tactics were of a very aggressive moves, especially to isolate smaller/weaker units, etc. Was that something that they came up with before or after the 103 entered their army?
The Swedish Army expected the armoured brigade(s) to deliver the counterattack against an invasion force that had established a foothold - especially in the south where most of the armour was initially concentrated (more open terrain in Skåne).

In the late 1950s an armoured brigade organisation was established with mixed battalions (with only one tank company per battalion) where basically tanks were reduced to supporting the infantry elements and sort of fighting the battle at infantry pace. The tankers hated it. It was soon replaced with the type 63 tank brigade organisation that lasted for the rest of the cold war.

The Armoured Brigade Type 63 had:

*HQ
*Armoued Recon Company (Two platoons with APCs, two platoons with soft skins)

*Three Armoured Battalions

*Two Anti-Tank Companies
*Armoured Artillery Battalion (with towed 155mm guns)
*Armoured AA Company
*Armoured Engineer Battalion (mostly un-armoured)
*Armoured Support Battalions

The tank battalions were organised as a sort of standing battlegroup, with:

HQ
Three motorised scout platoons
Two tank companies (each 12 tanks, and three APCs for the infantry platoon)
Two armoured infantry companies (each 11 APCs and 3 jeep-like cars in the AT-platoon)
Artillery Company (with 4 towed 105mm guns)
Supply Company (including a motorised pioneer platoon)

Armour in the Swedish Defence, mid-late cold war

The Swedish defence in the south of the country relied heavily on the Air Force to break the invasion cake at sea. The attack air was pooled into a formation known as E1 which was to attack in a ruthless fashion during the initial stages. If successful enough of the WP shipping would be sunk making an invasion impossible or very weak. If unsuccessful it would have meant the end of the Swedish Air Force. The next line of defence would have been the navy in the coastal band, followed by the Coastal Artillery with its fixed and mobile units. If the invasion cake made it through all these barriers a mobilised Swedish defence would have had infantry brigades deployed on the coast along with non-brigade local defence units of battalion and company size (most in fortified positions) around harbours and other important sites. These units were only allowed to place mines between the beach and the road closest to the beach – as to not interfere with the armoured counterattack meant to obliterate a WP beach-head.

There were a number of alternative scenarios in how to use the army formations but one of them envisionaged a major counterattack against an enemy that had made it ashore where the bulk of the armoured resources were given to the division size formation 13. fördelningen. This counterattack was pre-planned in such a way that it was meant to happen basically even if battalions lost contact with the higher HQ levels.

For most of the Cold War the AA company lacked adequate capabilities with its towed 20mm "grasshoppers", until the mid 1980s when it was given APC mounted RBS-70 SAMs. (Lack of funds, note that the Armoued Brigades were meant to operate in areas with a stronger concentration of non-brigade AA assets.)

The artillery likewise was towed and for much of the cold war had the 155mm "French Lady" with less range than the artillery of the infantry brigades. SPA had been better but again, no funds. Most other battalion artillery were 120mm mortars, but the armoured battalions had 105mm guns, towed. There is some question if these would have been able to keep up with the tanks and if there effectiveness was somewhat wasted being given to the battalions.

In the north the story was different. More difficult terrain, less roads, less population. Units there had a more defensive posture and it was thought possible to hold and move tanks north if that was where the invasion came.

(Sweden expected to face a portion of the WP strength – and that their amphibious capabilities in the Baltic were fairly weak).

Some brigades had the Strv 103, some had the Centurion versions. There have been many debates about the abilities of the Strv 103 since it was introduced. It was however meant to fight like a tank.
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Old June 23rd, 2018, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Here's a text by a user from a Swedish language forum on the Strv 103:

Quote:
Stridsvagn 103 in service
As demonstrated above, the strv 103 was developed with the same kind of requirements as a turreted tank. It should hopefully not come as a surprise that when it was taken into service in the armored brigades, it filled the exact same role as a turreted tank. In the 1970's, the Swedish army's modern tanks (the strv 103 and the Centurion) were organized in seven armored brigades, plus a few independent mechanized battalions. The armored brigades was the army's spearhead - there were dozens of infantry brigades, but the few armored ones were the ones that could really conduct an offensive operation in depth against a mechanized enemy. If you take a look at a map, you might be wondering where the Swedish army imagined it was going to conduct a mechanized offensive - while most of the country was east of the Iron Curtain, it was entirely surrounded by water and friendly countries, and the army had no landing craft capable of crossing the Baltic sea. Of course, the answer is the one that was hinted at above: the armored brigades were for counter-attacking beachheads, airborne landings or even an enemy that had established a foothold in the country. The infantry brigades were well suited to defending and delaying, but were only really capable of attacking in what was termed "covered terrain" (i.e. mostly forests and urban areas). Open country was tank country, and consequently the armored brigades had their initial positions in strategically important open areas. Three of the seven armored brigades had their initial positions in the provinces of Skåne and Blekinge, at the very southern tip of the country - mostly flat and open terrain, and only a few hours from East Germany and Poland by ship. One was stationed on the island of Gotland (also flat and open terrain, and not a big island at all), two in the densely populated and strategically important Stockholm and lake Mälaren area (one in Strängnäs, south of the lake, and one in Enköping, north of the lake) and finally one in Skövde on the big plains in the southwestern part of the country where a lot of important air force bases were located, and where it could easily reach the important harbor in Gothenburg. (5)

In the 1970's, two of the brigades in Skåne and the one in Skövde were equipped with strv 103's; the rest had Centurions. Strategically, it didn't matter which tank the brigade had - it was expected to fill the same role and had almost exactly the same organization and equipment (other than the tanks themselves). Tactically, there were a few differences, but they weren't huge. The same field manuals were used for both Centurion and strv 103 formations down to platoon level (one platoon was three tanks) - only the field manual intended for individual tank crews differed. The tank gunnery field manual from 1974 (which was also the same for both Centurions and strv 103's), only a few very specific points called attention to the difference in tactical usage between the two. More specifically: the manual stated that firing on the move was to be avoided, even in a tank with gun stabilization like the Centurion. In a Centurion, firing on the move was permitted at distances up to 800 meters, and it was only to be done if there was a very good reason for doing it - one example given was to attempt to suppress an ATGM crew that had just fired before it could reload. In the strv 103, firing on the move was only permitted at distances up to 200 meters, which is basically knife fighting range in a tank. Instead, the field manual heavily emphasized the need to get the first hit in. Firing first and hitting with the first round fired was an enormous advantage, and in big bold letters the manual stated that in tank duels, the tank that got the first hit was four times more likely to win than the tank that didn't. Furthermore, the manual went on to say that the enemy was expected to have many more AFV's than the Swedish side could expect to have, and wasting ammunition was not acceptable. In other words, the gunnery doctrine was firmly centered on well-aimed fire and hitting with the first round. The strv 103's inability to fire on the move was no big disadvantage in light of this. (6)


Conclusion
The stridsvagn 103 was conceived as a tank, developed in response to a demand for a tank, and used as a tank. It was not a tank destroyer or a "defensive" vehicle. Repeated trials both in Sweden and abroad showed that in most cases it was insignificantly slower to react to a target appearing on its side than a turreted tank was. In fact, due to its duplicated controls (the commander could override the gunner/driver's controls and, for example, point the tank at a target that he could see through his rotating cupola but the gunner/driver hadn't spotted) it could even be faster to react than a turreted tank without similar functionality - the turreted tank's commander would have to talk the gunner into finding the target. The inability to fire on the move was not considered a significant disadvantage considering the Swedish gunnery doctrine at the time.

The strv 103 proved to be an evolutionary dead end, however. Stabilization technology improved rapidly during the 1970's, especially with the introduction of gun-follows-sight technology, and the next generation of Western MBT's that appeared around 1980 were only slightly less accurate on the move than they were at a standstill. The 103's heavily sloped - but not all that thick - front armor which offered good protection against 1960's armor-piercing rounds was completely insufficient against newer 1970's "long rod" penetrators. It was a very innovative and very Swedish think-outside-the-box solution in 1960, but it should have been replaced around 1980-1985 - the original requirements called for a technical lifetime of 15 years.
The full thing (in English) can be found here (with references):

http://forum.skalman.nu/viewtopic.php?t=46219
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