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Military

CHAPTER XII

HEAVY/LIGHT CONSIDERATIONS


TOPIC: Use of Tanks in Peace Enforcement Operations

DISCUSSION: While infantry forces are best suited for peace enforcement operations, armor forces can make significant contributions to the operations. Tanks are potent weapons systems when performing traditional functions, but they also make excellent infantry support weapons. Some of their capabilities are:

  • Antitank and antiarmor.
  • Intimidation of belligerent forces.
  • Heavy weapons support to infantry fighting vehicles.
  • Target acquisition, especially at night using thermal sights.
  • Survivable to mines and light AT weapons.
  • Provide advanced guard support to convoys.
  • Provide support during search and attack operations.
  • Protect infantry against automatic weapons fire.

Some advantages to using tanks during peace enforcement operations are:

  • Armor/Mech can be rapidly emplaced at decisive points throughout sector to support threatened UN forces.

  • Heavy forces have extremely high visibility and can deter aggression by belligerent forces (consider firepower demonstrations as a show of force).

Some disadvantages of using armor during peace enforcement operations are:

  • The enemy can focus on, isolate, and destroy armor forces in a piecemeal fashion.

  • Tanks have limited bunker and building destruction capability.

  • Tanks and other armored vehicles destroy the secondary roads and MSRs.

  • The size of armored vehicles often block narrow country roads and can destroy private property during movement (may offset attempts to gain support of local civilians).

LESSON(S):

  • There is no pure "heavy" or "light" scenario in peace enforcement operations. The best way to achieve success is to balance the array of tactical capabilities in accordance with METT-T.

  • The combined arms concept requires teamwork, mutual understanding, and the recognition by everyone involved with the critical roles performed by other arms.

  • There is no place for parochialism or ignorance; the success of the mission and the lives of soldiers will depend on the ability to understand and synchronize the complexities of the light/heavy force.

TOPIC: Armor Considerations for Built-up Areas

DISCUSSION: There are several difficulties in using tanks in built-up areas. Tanks can provide effective support to infantry operations in built-up areas, but infantry teams must be assigned to protect each tank from short-range antitank weapons.

LESSON(S):

  • Mobility is restricted because tanks are confined to roads or streets that often require clearance of debris, and possibly mines.

  • Where possible, tanks should take advantage of parks and gardens which offer the best fields of fire.

  • Buildings will restrict the full traverse of the turret, and the elevation of the main armament may be insufficient to reach top floors and rooftops. However, the commander's machine gun is not so restricted.

  • Tanks are particularly vulnerable to short-range antitank weapons. Their crews, if exposed, may become casualties from snipers. Tanks must, therefore, move through built-up areas buttoned up. They must move in short bounds using suppressive fire and be supported by other tanks.


Chapter XI: Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT)
Chapter XIII: Combat Service Support (CSS)



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