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"Team Yankee: Using Dragons on M113 in Mech platoons" Topic


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1,136 hits since 26 Dec 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0126 Dec 2017 1:04 p.m. PST

DELETED

Tgunner26 Dec 2017 1:05 p.m. PST

How do you use them? Do you use them?

I just built my last 3 M113s and tossed Dragon ATGMS on to them. It was a spur of the moment thought and now I'm thinking about how to use them. I feel like my M113s are very underutilized. Their Ma-duce is great for infantry bashing and laying down suppressive fire to support assaults and occasionally I use them to move my grunts. However they generally spend the game hiding out-of-sight and try to avoid become targets for bored tanks and BMPs.

My gut is to mass them as a single platoon. That gives me a cheap tank destroyer platoon that comes complete with its own short platoon of rifle grunts for guard duty (three teams of four guys). This gives me a resource that addresses a big weakness the Dragon has in Team Yankee: mobility. I can rarely ever get my Dragons into a position where they can be useful. Generally they sit there all game and watch the action because of their low mobility and their short range. However putting them on a M113 massively increases their mobility and that can help cover their range weakness. Plus there are three of the Bleeped texts. That is a pretty fair anti-tank platoon and a real threat if they can find a tank company's flank. I wonder what would happen if I put Dragons on ALL of my tracks…

The other is to scatter them, one per platoon in my mech company. I'm pretty "meh" on that idea. To me that reduces my rifle platoons to three Dragon stands with the lone Dragon playing guard duty for the hiding M113s (I always hide them until something interesting comes up). This seems like a waste to me.

So how about you? How do you use them, or do you even bother with them?

Dennis030226 Dec 2017 1:15 p.m. PST

In the real world about 1985 the Army came out with the M132 Dragon mount so the Dragon could be mounted along side the .50 cal. Take a good look at this FM 7-7.I'm pretty sure it will answer all your questions and give you some ideas as well.

Tgunner26 Dec 2017 1:24 p.m. PST

Here is FM 7-7

PDF link

Looks like the same organization use by Team Yankee. Off to check it out.

28mm Fanatik26 Dec 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

I only include one in each M113 platoon due to the additional points they add. It has more to do with my doctrine, which is specialization.

Giving all my M113's integral Dragon launchers seems too "gamey" to me. I rather get dedicated M901's if I need more anti-tank firepower. YMMV.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Dec 2017 3:24 p.m. PST

Mostly to have some AT capability and not have to dismount.

Dynaman878926 Dec 2017 6:00 p.m. PST

Any vehicle worth using a Dragon on would shred an M113 with whatever weapon it carried long before the Dragon hit said vehicle. Maybe if the M113 were under a hill and only the Dragon launcher was visible to the target…

cosmicbank26 Dec 2017 7:42 p.m. PST

Maybe a little gamey but still cool

lincolnlog Inactive Member26 Dec 2017 11:40 p.m. PST

Actually these mounts were on my M113A1 in West Germany in 1979, so was before mid-80's. We had lots of options in the mech units. The Dragon could remain mounted to support the vehicle element, or they could be dismounted with the squad. By the way a Mech platoon had 4 Dragons the Platoon HQ vehicle had one as well.

In some cases the engineers would provide hull down positions for the M113s and the decision to leave them mounted versus dismounted always came down to expected OPFOR and suspected employment, how long we expected to hold, and how quickly the need for withdraw. But the dragon was always in the cradle during tactical moves. That way during movement the TC could get off a shot without undue setup time.

All of that said, the Dragon was terrible Medium AT weapon. By 1979 it didn't have the punch to penetrate many Soviet tanks frontal armor. And you had to let them get within 1000 meters.

Tgunner27 Dec 2017 6:33 a.m. PST

My three vehicle platoon is understrength because I'm short on M113s. So it is a HQ team and two squads.

The Flames Dragon is pretty crummy really. It is short ranged and has a pretty low anti-tank rating. It is a hard weapon to bring to bear because of its limited range and slow-firing characteristic.

picture

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18 AT vs. 16 Front Armor is pretty crummy odds. A 1 penetrates, a 2 glances, and 3+ bounces. The side is where you want to hit this thing as the BDD armor is a 13. Now you have a 1-4 penetrates, a 5 glances, and only a 6 glances. Much better odds especially with a 3+ firepower.


The M113 it has the chance to move in for flank shots especially when working in conjunction with my tank platoon. The Soviets have to keep their front armor towards the M1 because of its M68 105mm main gun. That opens a chance for maneuver with the M113 to get flank shots in and the M113 gives the Dragon a chance to displace quickly to respond to changes on the battlefield. Plus the M2HB and rifle teams are there to keep the enemy infantry honest.

lincolnlog Inactive Member27 Dec 2017 6:53 a.m. PST

The M113 didn't have thermal imaging. The Dragon did eventually, but can't tell you when exactly. You wouldn't be able to TC an M113 with you eye glued to a Dragon Tracker.

The M113 driver had an IR periscope and squads were equipped with AN/PVS-5 night vision goggles. The driver had to be buttoned up to use the IR periscope, we never used them due to safety considerations.

Dynaman878927 Dec 2017 6:56 a.m. PST

> The Flames Dragon is pretty crummy really. It is short ranged and has a pretty low anti-tank rating.

They got it correct then. Looking at the stats for the thing it appears to be a deathtrap for the operator.

Legion 427 Dec 2017 8:12 a.m. PST

We '79-'90, had a Mount for the Dragon on our M113s as Lincolnlog and others here have noted. Probably a more stable firing platform than on the ground. And gives you better FOF. Of course you are higher and a bigger target. Unless you are behind cover, i.e. "turret" down. With the only thing exposed is the TC, Gunner, etc.

Note the max range of the M47 Dragon is @ 1000m. We felt they were better than not having a MAW and/or just LAWs.

They got it correct then. Looking at the stats for the thing it appears to be a deathtrap for the operator.
We also believed the entire M113 was a "death trap". The best armor is in the front because that is where the engine is !
The sides are flat and the armor is thin.

We understood this was an APC not an IFV. It had better mobility being tracked, than a wheeled vehicle generally, like a truck [this is before the Stryker]. We would usually dismount on a halt if at all tactically feasible and the situation deemed it.

We had the ACAV turret on our M113s in the ROK. Our M113s stateside did not have them. As were told they'd be issued if we deployed for war. Pretty sure you couldn't fire the Dragon with the ACAV turret on ? old fart

Each Squad had an M47 Dragon, and each Mech Inf Co. had an organic Section of 2 M901 ITVs. Plus each Mech Bn had an AT Co. with 3-4 Plts of ITVs, by @ '85. Even in the 101 we had an AT Co with 3 Plts of TOWs mounted on M151s, by @ '82.
The US ARMY was geared to be able to fight the massive amounts of WP armor. That we were told would flood across the IGB, etc.

Eumerin27 Dec 2017 10:42 p.m. PST

The M113 gets the Thermal Imaging rule because of the Dragon's targeting system. BF has stated this on their forums.

As for uses in game…

It's generally understood to not really be worth the trouble. Since it's a guided missile weapon, you can't move and shoot it on the same turn. So good luck trying to flank an enemy tank with it (and you're probably not going to penetrate the tank's front armor). You could theoretically put your M113 platoon with mounted Dragons in ambush, and use them for a surprise attack on an enemy that had left an exposed flank to a potential ambush point. But you've probably got units that would make a lot more sense to have in ambush (like your M1 platoon, or one of your ITV sections). So you're probably not going to be doing that.

Finally, sticking the Dragons on the M113s means that for each Dragon you mount on an APC, you have one less infantry team to absorb hits with when the Warsaw Pact hordes start shooting up your defensive position. With the Dragons dismounted, you have eight targe… I mean teams. With the Dragons mounted, you only have four.


As for the M113 without the Dragon…

Players being players, M113s are often used quite aggressively. After all, they do mount .50 cals, which are capable of hurting the Soviet infantry hordes. And it's not like there's anything *else* to do with them in a defensive scenario. In fact, I've even seen Soviet players (who, of course, are driving BMPs mounting pretty decent auto-cannons and ATGMs) whining on the forums about losses inflicted on their BMPs when the .50s on aggressive M113s punch through the thin armor on the BMPs. I even had one Soviet player tell me that complaining about the missing Bradley was stupid because there was functionally no difference between an APC and an IFV – because of the losses inflicted by those .50 cals.

No, I'm not making that up.

lincolnlog Inactive Member28 Dec 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

Dragon gunner still dismounted with squad when the Dragon remained on vehicle as a rifleman. So, number of teams shouldn't change, but also should not be greater than 6.

I agree with Legion4, we always viewed the M113 as a death trap. It was supposed to be a battlefield taxi, period. Unfortunately, that's not how they were always used in training.

Tgunner28 Dec 2017 4:45 a.m. PST

Finally, sticking the Dragons on the M113s means that for each Dragon you mount on an APC, you have one less infantry team to absorb hits with when the Warsaw Pact hordes start shooting up your defensive position. With the Dragons dismounted, you have eight targe… I mean teams. With the Dragons mounted, you only have four

Not a loss for me yet as I'm short ATGMs for my third platoon. Going with the Dragon mounts was a way to make up for the loss. Three of my Dragon teams went MIA over the last couple of months (I probably accidently left them at the game store) so the M113s was a cheap way to make up for the loss.

I figure the mobility *might* make a difference. The M113 is an expensive target. Not points wise, $$ wise. A pack of 4 costs around $32 USD and you have to field them. Offensively I've had some uses for them. Oddly enough I was actually doing instinctively what FM 7-7 was suggesting: maneuver with the infantry and use the carriers to lay down suppression fires. The couple of assaults I've launched were greatly aided by the MaDeuces the carriers had.

Defensively, it's been a different story. I generally find a quiet place and hide the things. Otherwise some Bleeped text BMP jock or hyper motor rifles will use them for target practice. Yes, those .50s can pack a little punch on the BMP- 1 kills, 2 glances, 3+ bounces and a platoon of 4 can kick out 8-12 dice up to 20". Nothing major to me though. I have used them in a counter attack role with mixed results. Generally the BMP-2 gets the better of them, but it's the Soviet grunts who do most of the killing close in.

But otherwise M113s are just so many targets you have to hide. Adding a Dragon gives them some use other than what was mentioned above.

I'm with you on the goofy Soviet player. The M113 is NO replacement for the M2. Now if you put a LAV 25mm autocannon and a TOW on the M113… However the .50 is no replacement for a Bushmaster!

25mm 24", rof 3/3, at 8, fp 5+

vs.

.50 20", rof 3/2, at 4, fp 5+

I would also guess that the Brad has advanced stabilizers and laser range finders too.

Yeah, not much of a contest!

That Soviet player would be crying if he went up against a Bradley.

Legion 428 Dec 2017 7:42 a.m. PST

The M113 gets the Thermal Imaging rule because of the Dragon's targeting system.
We had a night sight for the Dragon, so yes … Before the intro of that sight, for night engagements we were trained to call in Illum rounds, etc. From our mortars, FA, etc., to see and ID the target in the dark. And again the Dragon only had a range of 1000m.

losses inflicted on their BMPs when the .50s on aggressive M113s punch through the thin armor on the BMPs.
Yes we were trained to engage BMPs with our .50s. on the range. Firing at the outline of BMPs made of plywood. Of course as we noted, many weapons could punch a hole in an M113. E.g. DShK, RPG, etc., etc. frown Also note the M203 GL HEDP round could penetrate 2 ins. of armor. But only had a point target range of @ 250m IIRC. old fart

You could theoretically put your M113 platoon with mounted Dragons in ambush, and use them for a surprise attack on an enemy that had left an exposed flank to a potential ambush point
That was one way to do it. We trained mining a road/trail along a likely enemy avenue of approach, etc.. The MBT, etc. would hit the mine, broke a track, etc. Then we'd engage with Dragon(s). Call-in FA, Gunships, CAS. And hopefully given the order to withdraw.

Again all the Infantry AT weapons at that time were there to give the Grunt the some capabilities to take on the flood of WP armor, etc. The M72 and M47 were not the best choice but the only choice we had. If the WP AFVs got close enough and to "hopefully" stop us from being overrun, etc. You had some AT weapons at the very least could blow a track or road wheel off. Then [hopefully] as the crew attempts to bail out you engage them.

E.g. We sat in a concrete foxhole, with an expended LAW and let the MBT[in this case one of our own M60s] run over your position. Then pop-up and blast'm in the rear with your LAW.
This technique also required you to remove/suppress any dismounted Infantry support around/near the AFV(s). Which could be done easily with organic weapons, or FA, etc.

We were also trained to use demolitions, of various types, e.g. to throw on the rear deck, etc. to KO/disable the AFV.

Also we were trained to use the terrain to our advantage. In urban terrain, heavy thick woods/jungles, mountainous, etc. in many cases the dismounted Infantry can be deadly to AFVs, etc. And at those closer ranges, your LAWs, Dragons etc. can be very effective.

Plus we were taught to fight combined arms, use all weapons you had to engage the enemy, etc. As I said, the M72, and M203 GL can disable or KO a lighter AFV. Or blow off a track on a heavier AFV, i.e. an MBT. And again a .50 cal will "do a job" on a light AFV. And again call in, FA, Gunships, CAS[A-10s +], etc.

Again a Dragon has a longer range. Of course the Dragon was controlled/guided by wire. So you had to take that into consideration. And choose good FOF, etc.

I even had one Soviet player tell me that complaining about the missing Bradley was stupid because there was functionally no difference between an APC and an IFV because of the losses inflicted by those .50 cals.
Someone needs to "school" that poor guy. wink

Eumerin28 Dec 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

Keep in mind that in the Team Yankee game, LAWs are completely ineffective against the Soviet tanks currently in the game. Even flank/rear shots don't have a high enough anti-tank value to work against the vehicles (due to the BDD Armor key word on the tanks). And unfortunately, the game doesn't allow you to attempt to detrack the enemy tank.

Tgunner28 Dec 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

I get the feel that a "bail out" result includes knocking off a track. The game has no time scale so that is a possibility. The M72 can't even force a bail out on either the T64 or T72 though. However it can shred any other Soviet vehicle so they aren't worthless.

nickinsomerset28 Dec 2017 1:40 p.m. PST

Surely it is abstract and represents the Dragon system, not necessarily firing from the vehicle, in the same way as the ridiculous firing the blowpipe from the rear hatches of a spartan represents a Blowpipe team deployed,

Tally Ho!

Legion 428 Dec 2017 1:42 p.m. PST

I've never played Team Yankee so I'm just relating from my own "experiences". Of my long passed youth. old fart But it does sound like a pretty good game.

Eumerin28 Dec 2017 5:46 p.m. PST

Surely it is abstract and represents the Dragon system, not necessarily firing from the vehicle,

Actually, it is firing from the vehicle. The M113 had a special mount made specifically to allow the Dragon to be fired from it. In the game, you have the option to either mount your Dragons on your M113, or dismount them as an infantry base.

Tgunner28 Dec 2017 9:18 p.m. PST

picture

picture

picture

picture

It looks like a pain to operate plus it turns the TC into a gunner.

Legion 429 Dec 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

Yep that's it ! Looks like you'd have to remove the ACAV turret to fire the M47 Dragon from the track mount. I couldn't remember old fart … Also note, there is a back blast area, like with the M72 LAW, RPG, etc. Don't be in it !

Actually, it is firing from the vehicle. The M113 had a special mount made specifically to allow the Dragon to be fired from it. In the game, you have the option to either mount your Dragons on your M113, or dismount them as an infantry base.
As I said, we '79-'90, had a Mount for the Dragon on our M113s as Lincolnlog and others here have noted. Probably a more stable firing platform than on the ground. And gives you better FOF. Of course you are higher and a bigger target. Unless you are behind cover, i.e. "turret" down. With the only thing exposed is the TC, Gunner, etc.

But again I never played Tm Yankee … evil grin We "played" a 1 to 1 scale wargame … Company Tm Warhawk[my Mech Co call sign! wink ] …

nickinsomerset29 Dec 2017 8:43 a.m. PST

Interesting, I have a photo of the Irish Guards, early 80s, firing a Milan from a 432 on what appears to be a fixed mount,

Tally Ho!

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2017 2:10 p.m. PST

Of course you are higher and a bigger target. Unless you are behind cover, i.e. "turret" down. With the only thing exposed is the TC, Gunner, etc.

Was there any training about restrictions on how you arranged a turret down position (how you used terrain masking)?

My understanding of the way the M47 worked is:
- Several banks of rocket motors offset from straight back at a slight angle.
- The missile rotated in flight
- The banks of rockets would fire at different points in the rotation depending on the guidance commands, thus providing both motive force and directional adjustments (semi-automatic -- the gunner just kept his site on target, the system automatically sent the commands of when to fire the rocket banks)

The result was a missile that did not fly in anything like a ballistic path. Rather, it sort of "bounded" towards the target emitting puffs of smoke and flame along the way. Hence the name "Dragon".

Here is a video of a range shot, which gives at least a bit of a view of the peculiar flight of the Dragon missile:

YouTube link

I mention this because I have the impression that one of the criticisms of the whole Dragon system was the seated position of the gunner -- with a Milan, for example, the gunner is prone for the shot. With a Dragon it was thought this would put the missile too close to the terrain, risking a ground strike as the missile did it sort of bounding gallop downrange.

Wouldn't a "turret down" position also increase the risk of a ground-strike? I would expect, if they put the poor dismounts into such an exposed posture to fire, that there might have been some training about height over any intervening terrain for a mounted shot.

Just wondering …

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 429 Dec 2017 2:57 p.m. PST

Was there any training about restrictions on how you arranged a turret down position (how you used terrain masking)?
Yes, you had to have a clear back blast area and remember it flies by wire. You have to keep the sight "cross hairs" on target. Flinching/quick movements by the gunner could cause a miss.
Wouldn't a "turret down" position also increase the risk of a ground-strike?

We'd usually would fire the M47 from a dismounted position, so if you are concerned about the wire or missile hitting the ground before it reaches the target. We take all that into consideration when choosing a position for the M47. Whether mounted or dismounted. And again as with many, many things tactically, it depends or the terrain and situation.

My understanding of the way the M47 worked is:
You are basically correct … I've supervised Dragon live fires with Training/Practice missiles. I.e. does not have an actual explosive warhead. But the rest of the system works as it is a "live round". I also graduated from the 101's Dragon Trainers Course in'81(?). old fart

I have the impression that one of the criticisms of the whole Dragon system was the seated position of the gunner
Yes, when dismounted it could only be fired in a "Seated" type position on the ground. So it could make you a bigger target. Of course in a Deliberate Defense you would dig in it, etc. Again terrain & situation … E.g. you have to have some sort of clear LOS/FOF. So you may not want to fired it at a target[like an MBT] in the middle of a cornfield, etc. [an MBT is generally taller than the corn, etc.]. But sometimes you may not have a choice based on a number of things.

Tgunner29 Dec 2017 3:59 p.m. PST

Yep that's it ! Looks like you'd have to remove the ACAV turret to fire the M47 Dragon from the track mount. I couldn't remember old fart … Also note, there is a back blast area, like with the M72 LAW, RPG, etc. Don't be in it !

YIKES!!

And FM 7-7 advises that the cargo hatch should be open with guys watching different sectors. The TC/Dragon gunner better remember to give the boys in the back a heads up or he'll fry most of the squad!

picture

Tgunner29 Dec 2017 5:12 p.m. PST

I've never played Team Yankee so I'm just relating from my own "experiences". Of my long passed youth. old fart But it does sound like a pretty good game.

It's actually really good IMO.

It's a game, of course, but it gets a lot of stuff right, or at least right enough to be fun. I've stayed away from games like this because of GW, but Team Yankee was too much for me to resist. Me and my younger boy have had a blast with it.

Here's a great battle report from the All Miniatures boys that gives you a good feel for the game.


YouTube link

And here is one of mine from the big campaign this past Fall.
link

picture

Eumerin29 Dec 2017 11:02 p.m. PST

That can't be Team Yankee! I don't see a Soviet parking lot anywhere on the table!

:P

(on a more serious note, everything looks quite nice)

RudyNelson30 Dec 2017 7:07 a.m. PST

As an Armored Cavalry platoon leader, I had two M113 with Dragons and with mounts in the scouts and one in the infantry section. I never had one on the Command track. We had multiple LAWs on all tracks.

A lot about the effectiveness of the Dragon was based on deployment. Tactically we used them to cover river crossings at bridges and bottleneck fords. Some ambushes on wooded, limited visibility, roads or even an open pasture. Another setting was in urban combat. They were very effective against tanks and buildings.

Interesting for us was that LAWs were a key weapon for E and E actions. We did a lot more of those exercises than the guys liked but it was the high casualty rate expected among vehicles and crew. One advantage for Armored Cavalry was the high NCO ratio among the troops. It especially made E and E easier.one E7, 6 E6 and 7 E5 for a 41 man platoon.

Legion 430 Dec 2017 9:18 a.m. PST

YIKES!!
Yeah, those guys would duck inside and hopefully close the hatch. When that M47 fires. That diagram is for when the M113 is moving, etc. … not when firing. I'm pretty sure all the Grunts would know that. huh?

And one of the first things you learned was check your back blast area with the M72, M47, etc.


Tm Yankee does look like a pretty good & fairly accurate game ! thumbs up

@ Rudy … Yes we did about the same as you said in your post. But we were Infantry not Cav. The Mech Inf Plt had 3 Squads with one M113 each. And each Squad has one M47. The Cmd Section/Track did not had an M47. But yes, all had the .50 cal. And LAWs could be issued "generously". Like grenades, etc.

And the M47 and M72 could do some real damage to many structures and bunkers. If need be … And a .50 cal could chew thru cinder block brick like it was peanut brittle ! evil grin

And as you noted the employment of the Dragon, is based on terrain & situation. Like in an Ambush in Closed[ e.g. wooded & urban] or Mixed [e.g. pastures in between villages, etc.] terrain.

As far as NCOs, each Mech Plt had 1 E7 Plt Sgt …

Each 11 man Sqd 1 E6 SL & 2 E5s TLs = 3 E6s & 6 E5s

However in most cases we were short NCOs. Was not rare some Sqds had an E5 SL and E4 TLs … But as always we made do with what we had. Like everyone did in the Army … wink

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