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"Impact of NLAW on tactics." Topic

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612 hits since 18 May 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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UshCha18 May 2022 12:06 a.m. PST

We had anpother go at seeing what the inpact of NLAW was on infantry tactics. This was our second go. We ar not true axchedemics just interested parties who study and use our fun games to gain insight.

We set up a very simplified game of a defender with just a platoon of infantry and 2 NLAW per section. vs a composite company of Tanks and APC's

Second time with proper figting positions and troops shooting as per the manuals, across the front was interesting.

The increas in range (600m) versus typical Disposable LAW's types (250m) allows the defender to spread out. The Attacker then has two options to cencentrate even more combat power on a frontage of a conventionally deployed pltoon but leave flanks exposed or spread out themselves. The later has a significant effect on the use of artillerty.

The defending elements being spread wider means that unless the prcise positions have been identifired to guarantee suppression of the infantry, more rounds are needed, of the order of 50% more. The alternative is if precise positions can be identified then the Artillery needs very complex targeting infpormation as each gun has to be given a separate individula target(s). Proably possible with new very high teck targeting systems.

What are your thoughts on these findings?

Legion 418 May 2022 7:28 a.m. PST

Well for your TO&E – the US and others have at least one AT wpn per Squad. The increase in standoff range e.g. 600m makes a big different in not only the defense. But even offense, i.e. dismount AT ambushes and even direct attacks on Russian armor. Have done this in training a number of times. A dismounted night raid on enemy AFVs can be very effective. Using a number of types of manpack AT weapons. Even our Dragon had a min. rg. of like 65m, IIRC. LAWs were shorter, IIRC 25m. Plus even demo charges. Can be used on an "close assault" attack on AFVs.

So as I have said before a Squad would have one MAW, plus many LAWs were issued as well. So the NLAW is much more effective than our Dragon. Even if it's range is shorter.

Spreading your troops out is always a good idea. But generally Squads and their Fire Tms will be somewhere closer to each other for command & control. Plus mutual fire support. Dispersing based on terrain and situation.

From a Plt Ldr's or Co Cdrs standpoint. In the defense as usual set up your weapons including AT with interlocking sectors of fire. In your tactical area of responsibility[TOAR]/assigned sector. Trying to get flanking shots on enemy AFVs from your various AT positions/locations.

Also note, 600m or 1000m can be covered fairly quickly by advancing AFVs based on the terrain. So you generally have to try to engage your targets at longer range. Making every shot count. Is you take out a number of their advancing AFVs, they may just try to break contact. And maneuver out of your FOF/LOS.

And if possible call-in FA & CAS … Even the new AT weapons still have to be part of a combined arms team. With mutual support between all the arms/weapons in the team.

As I posted on another thread :

Well with the long range of the TOW, 3750m + then and now with powerful man-packed Infantry AT weapons, e.g. Javelin NLAW, etc.. Gives the Infantry some very effective AT weapons. And yes, as a Cold War Warrior, the new Infantry AT weapons are nothing short of Sci-fi…

We always organized Squad sized AT ambushes if the situation required it. And yes demo could be part of that Squad.

In the 101 we had an entire AT Co. with Jeep mounted TOWs. I AT Co. per Bn. And in Mech Cos. there was an organic M901 ITV Section of 2. Plus a Bn M901 ITV Co. Infantry squads each had a Dragon plus LAWs etc. if need be.

Gunships with AT weapons which started during Vietnam were designed to take on the USSR/WP hordes crossing the IGB. The USAF A-10 was specifically designed for tank killing these hordes. And even Joint Air Attack Teams[JAAT] using Gunships[AH-1s then later AH-64s] & A-10s together. Was a tactic specifically designed to decimate those USSR/WP armor/mech units.

Russian poor overall lack of tactical expertise makes Ukrainian AT weapons that much more effective.

Do you really think a U.S. or UK armored brigade would be having this much difficulty with infantry AT weapons? Between the battlefield intelligence net, drones, helicopter support, artillery missions
Unless the enemy is very well trained, armed, skilled and lead. The US/UK forces will always have an edge. That is why the local forces had to go guerilla to even survive.
But even the Iraqis and Taliban did KO some US/UK, etc., AFVs. But the numbers were small. The US M1 TUSK upgrade in urban or closed terrain made it that much harder for enemy man-packed AT weapons to be effective. There was a similar upgrade to the M2 Bradley IFV.

As always is comes down to the troops and crews behind those weapons. This again is made clear with the war in Ukrainian.

Legion 418 May 2022 7:33 a.m. PST

On the same thread –

I think using combined arms tactics and modifying some ops at the tactical level, etc. The MBT will still be part of the combined arms Tm. The poor Russian performance shouldn't be taken as the way to fight. Or reflect good field craft, SOPs, etc. As I have said so many times here. They don't fight combined arms, their troops are poorly trained, poorly motivated, poorly lead and supported.
However, IMO with the Javelin, you will still see the standard cycle – measure – countermeasure – counter/counter measure … repeat. However, the Javelin will still be an effective weapon with troops/crews that are well trained & lead. Just the opposite of the Russians.

the newer stuff really is like Sci-fi.
Our Dragons and LAWs lacked the range, and we planned on using demo charges too. With LAWs & Demo you are best to hit the tracks and get a mobility kill. Maybe the crew would panic and try to abandon it and/or surrender.

You could try to throw a satchel charge/demo on the rear deck of the tank or near the turret ring. But size of the charge may or may not do any damage. And larger demo charges are heavier. Making it even harder to get "up close & personal" with the AFV you want to take out.

We were just getting the AT-4 a little before I ETS'd.

The Dragon, you could get a kill from the flank or rear. But again it only had a 1000m range. Later version after I was gone it's range was 1500m. But nothing like the Javelin.

Legion 418 May 2022 7:34 a.m. PST

Yes as I have said, the Russians don't use Combined Arms very well … or if at all currently. Of course we learned this at both Infantry Officer Basic & Adv Courses, Combined Arms School, etc. As a Rifle Plt Ldr them later Mech Co. Cdr we trained to fight combined arms.

Use Cover & Concealment, terrain masking.

Supporting fires from organic & attached units as well as calling in mortars, FA, CAS[including Gunships] and even Naval Fire Support[if available].

Fire & maneuver …

Seems the Russians need to go back to school. Those that are not dead …☠

Legion 418 May 2022 7:36 a.m. PST

Ukraine – Supposedly, flat, open plains for a lot of it.
A lot of farmers' fields currently without crops.
When did the Improved Dragons with the longer range get introduced?
I ETS'd in '90 so it was sometime after that. The
link says –
Only the United States Marine Corps bought this variant, beginning in 1991,[21] while the Army opted to wait for Javelin to enter service.
Did not know that. Good move … in the long run.
From the link –

In service
1975–1990s (US Army)
1975–2001 (US Marine Corps)
1979–present (other countries)

And a lot of recon by fire…
As needed … unless as in Iraq & A'stan CD becomes a factor.

Arjuna18 May 2022 7:48 a.m. PST
Gwydion18 May 2022 8:14 a.m. PST

UshCha have you read Jim Storr's 'Battlegroup: The Lessons of the Unfought Battles of the Cold War'?

He considers the deployment of Dragon (in his case) at section level and the implications.

As you say you're attacker is going to need a lot of good recce plus lots of artillery.

A lot will depend on terrain and los as well.

Narrow or broad front?
Depends whether you can mask the flanks and neutralise the flanking defenders. If you can – narrow should (may?) overwhelm the frontal defenders. Rather you than me though!

(And in the bigger picture it depends what the defence has to hit your concentrated attack force with, as well as the atgws)

Legion 418 May 2022 8:41 a.m. PST

He considers the deployment of Dragon (in his case) at section level and the implications.
Yes as I said we had 1 Dragon per Sqd.

As you say you're attacker is going to need a lot of good recce plus lots of artillery.
Yes, should be SOP.

A lot will depend on terrain and los as well.
Again terrain and situation dictate pretty much everything.

Narrow or broad front?
Depends whether you can mask the flanks and neutralise the flanking defenders. If you can – narrow should (may?) overwhelm the frontal defenders. Rather you than me though!
As I have said. In many cases at Plt or Co. levels you don't always choose whether narrow or broad front. Higher HQ generally gives you your TOAR, etc. Also you generally have to tie in you flanks with other units. Coordinating down to who as responsibility of roads on sector flanks, patrolling, LP/OPs, etc.

Otherwise, e.g. on a key piece of terrain. You still have to coordinate fires in between units. As there may be open ground between units. And can't physically tie in your flanks with other units. But cover the gaps with fires. Organic and by supporting unit fires, e.g. FA.

Gwydion18 May 2022 3:14 p.m. PST

Yep, I was agreeing with you Legion!

Jim Storr was a Lt Col in the British Army and from a hands on and academic (PhD) point of view his writings are interesting and the unusual thing about the book I mentioned is that he marries this experience with a long (202) series of wargames against his brother to experiment in finding lessons from a war that (thank God) was never fought.

I'm not surprised that another infantry officer from the period sees the similarities.

I thought I'd suggest it for UshCha if he hadn't come across it as Jim played around with different tactical and operational set ups and it sounds the sort of thing UshCha might enjoy.

Legion 418 May 2022 4:36 p.m. PST

Yes, I understood that you were agreeing, etc. And your comments are valid. I was just adding some more content, etc. As an Infantry officer during the Cold War. Plus I was a grad of the Dragon Trainer Course[the only course I ever was an honor grad !]. Again both as Plt Ldr and Mech Co. at that time the Dragon was our best AT weapon for a longer range shot. In our Infantry weapons inventory. Save for the TOW of course. But those were usually mounted as I mentioned above already.

So yes, you were accurate in your post above. And we are in complete agreement. 👍👍👌

Gwydion19 May 2022 4:33 p.m. PST

Thanks Legion.
thumbs up

Legion 419 May 2022 4:35 p.m. PST

You are well read on this topic and others … That's a "GO" in IMO !

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