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Mein Panzer Cold War - The S2’s Demonstration


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#1 Begemot_

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Posted 17 October 2022 - 05:14 PM

Mein Panzer Cold War - The S2’s Demonstration

 

 

Introduction

 

Back in the day when I was a young lieutenant of infantry in Germany, the battalion S2 (the staff intelligence officer) set up a demonstration for the battalion’s officers. Summoned to the Battalion HQ we were presented with a sand table and an array of blue and red counters from the SPI game “Firefight” (this was a board game commissioned by the US Army to help teach its people about modern war) deployed in the sand. The topic was how a US mechanized infantry company (the blue force) could defend itself using its TOWs and Dragon ATGMs against the attack of a Soviet motor rifle regiment (the red force) mounted in BMPs. Neither force had any support, neither artillery or close air.

 

The S2 proceeded to explain his purpose and then advanced the rigidly arrayed Soviets towards the carefully deployed US force. The Soviet counters quickly disappeared from their formation as they moved forward, each a victim of a TOW or Dragon. The Soviets force was rapidly defeated and the US force suffered scarcely at all. This was very gratifying to the assembled officer group and I recall no questions concerning the validity of the demonstration. I considered privately that it would indeed be a wonderful thing if our enemy would be be so obliging as to carry on as demonstrated by the S2, but I suspected that reality would probably be somewhat different.

 

Since OGDW has yet to publish its Cold War rules and data for the Mein Panzer system, but has, teasingly, published some data for US and Soviet forces (published on this site as Chapter 58) and as time for all of us is running out, I decided to use what OGDW has provided and try some Cold War scenarios using what was at hand. Thus this AAR which uses the S2’s demonstration as a test bed for the Mein Panzer system in a Cold War setting circa 1976.

 

Situation

 

The US force is a standard mech infantry company of the time, which has taken losses in its infantry forces (each infantry platoon has lost a squad in a previous engagement), but with its mortars and TOW section intact. Three Dragons remain, apportioned one to each platoon of infantry.

 

The Soviets are a standard full strength motor rifle company of 10 BMPs with infantry and with a 4 tank platoon of T-62s attached.

 

Neither side has any artillery or air assets in support, with the exception of the US mortars.

 

Both forces are rated as Regulars for troop quality.

 

The US company has taken up a hasty position on a hill and has had time to dig in, but no more. The two TOWs are deployed on the flanks and are in Overwatch. The Soviets will attack across a kilometer of of open ground from a wooded area.

 

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The view of the field from the Soviet side. The Soviets will attack out of the woods. They must cross a kilometer of open ground.

 

 

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The US position from the Soviet perspective. TOWs are on either flank.

 

 

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The rear of the US position showing the mortars.

 

 

The Engagement

 

On Turn 1 the Soviets get the initiative and start their attack. The T-62’s lead, advancing at speed. The overwatching TOWs react: the first TOW misses because the target T-t2 spotted the incoming missile and reacted causing a miss; the second TOW kills its T-62. The TOWs are activated and get a second kill on a T-62. The BMP platoons follow their tanks and the US Dragons engage the tanks. The turn ends with the T-62 platoon destroyed.

 

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The end of Turn 1. The Soviet tanks are destroyed. The US has taken no casualties.

 

 

Turn 2 gives the initiative to the US. The TOWs fire and kill a BMP on the Soviet left. The BMP’s squad is able to escape from their vehicle. A Dragon kills another BMP on the Soviet left, its squad also escapes. The leftmost BMP platoon activates and fails its morale check and Breaks, turning tail and heading back to the woods. The center BMP platoon becomes Shaken and then takes a kill on a BMP from a Dragon. This platoon also turns about and heads to the woods. The right BMP platoon, seeing the attack falling apart joins in the retreat. In two short sharp turns the unsuppressed US ATGM defense destroys the Soviet attack.

 

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The field at the end of Turn 2.

 

 

The S2 smiles, satisfied his demo has gone so well. LT Begemot keeps his counsel.

 

The US wins with no losses. The Soviets have lost 50% of their vehicles.

 

The Soviet counter demonstration of this scenario will follow soon.

 

 

Notes

 

Mein Panzer works well for the Cold War period, unsurprisingly. Besides the increased lethality of weapons the greatest feature of the Cold War battlefield in its middle and late periods was ATGMs. This was the part of the system that I spent the most time with and here I found some issues.

 

How to understand the results of Missile Reaction was a bit of a puzzle in that the die roll results chart wasn’t clear. I finally decided that after applying all the listed modifiers to the troop quality level of the targeted vehicle and rolling the die that a Critical Success occurred if you rolled a 1; a Critical Failure occurred if you rolled a 20; a Success occurred if you rolled equal to or less than the modified TQ number. A Failure was any other roll. If this interpretation is wrong, please let me know.

 

ATGM range effects were an area that I modified. Using the current modifiers a TOW (OM1 = 2), fired by a Regular US gunner (TQ = 12), against a normally moving target (-1), target defensive modifier = 0, at range of 36” (-5) produces a To Hit probability of 20% (To Hit = 4). Pretty low. If the target is moving evasively then this To Hit probability goes to 0%. All the data I’ve seen relative to ATGMs is that their hit probability improves with increasing range as the gunner refines his aim. The Mein Panzer range modifiers assume the longer the range the less likely one is to hit. Reasonable for guns and rifles, but not so for ATGMs.

 

This is an anecdotal statement from a US Marine TOW gunner on his experience with the TOW that was posted on a game site that had just published a Cold War computer game. He thought that the game misrepresented the accurracy of the TOW:

 

First of all, after working with the TOW missile system for 8 years in the USMC, it don’t make me a TOW missile expert, BUT ...

 

We had issues with the regular TOW, then the ITOW, then finally the TOW 2 came out and we had big issues with the TOW 2. Shooting just the regular TOW missile 10 times, we would get a failure rate of approximately 3-4 missile failures. Most of those issues being a broken wire from the gun platform to the missile itself. We also had 2 missiles that blew up only 20-30 yards, which was an issue by itself because the TOW missile wasn’t supposed to arm its warhead until it went over 50 yards … When you fired your TOW missile after the missile leaves the launch tube the gunner is trying to acquire its target, then while that’s going on, the flight motors kick in and you can’t see ****!!!!! Around after 10-15 seconds now you can finally make sense out of everything, you can now see the target, see the IR light on the missile and now your heart is pumping hard now because in another 6-10 seconds, your target is getting ready to be obliterated, and they don’t even know it!!!!

 

So if [you] can start making the TOWs less accurate at shorter ranges that would be a start, say from 50 yards to 1,000 yards the hit rate should only be around 60 to 65 percent, from 1,000 – 2,000 yards the hit accuracy will now be getting better so I would say 70-90 percent, then from 2,000- just over 3,000 yards my percentage would go from 80-95 percent.”

 

With this as a guide I created the following Range to Target modifiers for wire guided ATGMs using a Regular US TQ of 12 to work to the hit percentages indicated in the TOW gunners recollections:

 

Up to 2” – not allowed (within arming range)

Up to 6” - +0

Up to 12” - +2

Up to 24” - +3

Up to 36” - +4

Up to 48” - +5

Up to 60” - +7

Up to 72” - +9

 

Also, for wire guided ATGMs I disallowed the Evasive Movement modifier.

 

BMPs were not listed in the Chapter 58 tables so I used the PT-76 numbers for the BMP.

 

Hopefully, my efforts here will encourage and spur on the completion the Mein Panzer Cold War product.

 

 

--- Begemot


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#2 healey36

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Posted 18 October 2022 - 07:19 AM

We played numerous sessions of Firefight as produced by SPI back in the mid-1970s and it seemed a decent effort at simulating some of the tactical circumstances of a "modern" war in Central Europe. I expect the boardgame version was somewhat simplified from the version you experienced back in the day, still, there were many lessons learned. Chief among them was the rarity of a 2000-3000 yard clear line-of-site for shots at the outer range bands. There's just a tremendous amount of intervening terrain (trees, low hills, buildings, tall hedges, industrial sites, etc.) in most areas of Central and Southern Germany (it might have been better up north where the BAOR operated). Take the clear LOS down to something around 1000-1500 yards and things tended to get quite a bit more constricted, at least on the game table.

 

I got some "first-hand" simulator experience with TOW back in the day when I worked for Hughes (the original developer and manufacturer). The physics of it was nothing short of amazing, and the notion that wire-guided ATGM combat was "easy" was fantastically demonstrated to not be the case. Considerable training and skill was required. The big take-away, at least for me, was the criticality of the missile's acceleration, i.e. it had to reach a critical down-range speed to be effective. Anything short of that greatly diminished the chance for an effective hit on a well-armored target, sort of the opposite of the don't-shoot-until-you-see-the-whites-of-their-eyes logic. My hat's off to the folks in the field that actually used these things, typically to great effect.

 

Thanks for the AAR and commentary re: an update of MP for the Cold War era. I too am hopeful that ODGW's expansion is not too far off.

 

BTW, your game table and models are sharp. My terrain squares are getting pretty beat-up; some clean-up and re-flocking is overdue. Here's a shot from the Boardgamegeeks site of a few folks playing a Firefight game with miniatures quite a few years ago:

 

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Given my memory of the rules and the time scale of 40 seconds per impulse, this must have taken days to play given the amount of gear on the table (or soon to be on the table).


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#3 W. Clark

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Posted 18 October 2022 - 10:24 PM

I was primarily an Armored Cavalry Scout (1969-1980) when I wasn't playing tank crewman or mortar jockey. By the mid 70s the typical Scout Section consisted of 4 vehicles and if tracked was in M113s. The section was broken down into 2 squads; each of 2 M113s with the squad/section leader's track having a dragon and the second track having a Tow. These were the original Tows and the Tow track had a ballistic blanket you could erect to in an attempt to keep out the cold (Soviet arty shrapnel). They called that version the M150 as I recall.  I was in 3/35th Armor in Germany (77-80) in 1st AD and our brigade commander was a particular enthusiast about the Tow. The Colonel wanted all his Tows in the brigade to be actively used in the Anti-tank mode at all times. This included when scouts were trying to sneak and peek to fulfil a recon mission. 

 

This particular day, I was running the Recon platoon (instead of just 1st section as normal) when the Colonel happened onto one of my young sergeants deployed in a screen that covered about 8 kilometers. The sergeant did not have his Tow up as he was trying to see and not be detected in return. The Colonel was not happy. He wanted the Tow up and he thought my trooper should have also deployed limit lines so he would know when a target was in his firing arc. My young sergeant reluctantly complied with the Colonel's wishes and the Colonel went on his way as Colonels do.

 

Apparently he made mention of the incident to our battalion commander because he brought it up the next time I was at the battalion TOC. I agreed that we (the recon platoon) probably needed to contribute more to the Brigade's desire to kill tanks, but I demurred over the concept of it being a good idea to have a 3,000 yard Vee of white engineer tape pointing directly at the Tow. My LTC agreed and we dropped the matter.

 

The reality is that Soviet arty was going to be omnipresent and the biggest problem in deploying Tows was to find a spot where they were not likely to be blanketed by Soviet arty and still have some kind of LOS. The best location to get the best LOS was a predictable place for the Soviet arty to prep fire and needed to be avoided at all costs. Now, things hopefully improved with the ITV and then the Bradley but I got out at the end of November 1980 and did not see that equipment in operation.

 

WMC


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#4 Kenny Noe

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Posted 19 October 2022 - 12:11 PM

Begemot,

 

First I'd like to say Thank you.  Thanks for the keeping the faith and embers burning for a Mein Panzer Modern data book.  You, Healy, W.Clark and others are the folks I write for.

 

Update on the Mein Panzer Core Rules

 

Bob, myself and others have gone thru the entire rule book and made changes.  The updated book is available to purchase now both in digital and printed formats.  All who have previously purchased and registered either the Digital or printed copy of MPC can access an DL the new version.  This is now in the Private Access Library as Mein Panzer Core Rules Total Download 2.1b.

 

What's New:

    08/28/2022 MP Core 2.1b

    1. Cleaned up some formatting and spelling errors

    2. Updated some formatting

    3. Updates and clarifications made to various parts of the chapter rules.

    4. Added more play examples.

    5. Updated the Reference Cards

    6. Updated the Game Templates

    7. Updated the Mid Cold War and Late Cold War Chapters

 

This included 18+ months of writing, researching, and playtesting.  The playtesting part was mainly focused on Post WWII (i.e. Modern) items.   Items like Missiles (guidance, range, hit probabilities, attack profiles, etc.), variety of vehicle fire control systems, and the influence of 45 years of tech (up till the fall of Soviet Union 1990) on all parts of weapon systems and military tactics.  Post 1990 systems will come but I had to draw a line somewhere.

 

All this with the aim of moving forward with more Post WWII data books.  To this end the old Chapters 58 Cold War and Chapter 64 Ultra-Modern were renamed Chapter 58 Mid Cold War and Chapter 64 Late Cold War.  Weapon platforms in these chapters were all updated with more solid stats and play tested.

 

While Troop Quality (How well trained are your grunts?) will always be the first consideration in MPC play, items like evolution of Fire Control systems, Ammo Quality, Armor Protection, and tactics used in battle all are important aspects of the game.

 

Speaking of "game".  That is what MPC is, a game.  A simulation of warfare on a table top.  Playability is the number one item when ODGW writes the games we sell.  Realism and other aspects are important and hold a high spot in the hierarchy.  However, if something doesn’t play well in the game then no one will use it.  In Post WWII tech there are many, many options to use in your game.

 

OK, back to the regularly scheduled program….



#5 Kenny Noe

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Posted 19 October 2022 - 12:21 PM

S2’s Demonstration

Begemot, I said all the above to provide some insight and hope that a modern data book will soon be a reality.  I really enjoyed the “briefing” you put together.  It was a well done example of ATGM tactics against an OPFOR force.

 

I will try an answer your questions regarding the use of missiles from a MPC Rules point of view.  However, I will say that we (ODGW) encourages house rules!!  If something we have publish doesn’t sit well with you or your group then modify as you see fit.  While most of the ODGW cadre have some military background, we will be first to say we don’t know everything.  Please let us know and if it makes better sense we can incorporate the change into the rules.

 

Not giving the Soviets an artillery option really left their “fly open” in achieving the objective.  <grin>  The TOWS on over watch and then immediately activated giving them a 2 shot advantage on the OPFOR was another nail in the coffin.  But this is war…..

 

“In two short sharp turns the unsuppressed US ATGM defense destroys the Soviet attack.”  Yep, this will happen 90% of the time, esp. when you have 6 ATGM Teams (2x TOWS and 4x Dragons) firing at will.

 

 

How to understand the results of Missile Reaction

 

Let me say this about Missile Reaction (MR), this was put in as a modifier to the To-Hit roll for an Attacking Unit.  This was modeled to represent the Target Unit doing “something” (either firing or moving – both figuratively) to the Attacker to disrupt his aim or ability to hit the Target Unit.

 

This was one part of the game where I supported and loved (realism in the game) however, I also despised and hated (playability, took forever to go through the modifiers).  Another part was the players not utilizing their time.  The Attacking player would inevitably wait for the Target play to resolve their MR before starting their Direct Fire resolution.  This SLOWED the game down a bunch!!  Now I can’t tell players how to play the game but, I do encourage them to work together esp. if one action has little to no impact on the others.  I’ll explain this below.

 

So we took a hard look at this in the latest update.  Specifically the MR modifiers.   We were able to take the original 17 modifiers and reduce them to 11.  Moreover, we made it easier to pick Missile Approach and Missile Flight Distance on the card.  This play tested extremely well and made the Target player MR task faster.

 

 

How to resolve a Missile Attack

 

The Attacking Unit declares a missile attack on a Target Unit.  The Attacking player goes through the Direct Fire sequence to determine their To-Hit number.  At the same time the Target player goes through the Missile Reaction sequence to determine if the Target Unit “reacts” (see above) to the incoming missile.

 

Missile Reaction Target player

  1. Notes missile approach
  2. Measures the distance from the Attacking Unit to Target Unit
  3. Notes any volley missile fire
  4. Notes the missile reaction modifier
  5. Notes the Aircraft EM modifier (only used if Target is an Aircraft)

So this is an improvement of 5 options vs the previous version which had 9 options to consider.

 

Target player

Starts with TQ number, adds / subtracts the modifiers from the MR Table for a final number and rolls a d20.  Under the modified number a success, while over is a failure.

 

Roll Results

Critical Success (minus) -10 To-Hit (rolled a “1”).  The target really has done well to avoid the hit!
Success (minus) -5 To-Hit.  The Target did what is could to make the missile miss
Failure No Effect  The Target never saw anything nor did a threat receiver go off
Critical Failure (plus) +5 To-Hit (rolled a “20”).  The target screwed the pooch and drove into the missile path!

 

Attacking player

Meanwhile the Attacking player has determined the TO-HIT number and awaits the Target player MR results to either add or subtract or stand pat on the TO-HIT.  A d20 is rolled for the hit.

 

 

Attacks using Missiles (notably the ATGM weapon system)

 

I concur that the odds for ATGM attack success were not on par with documented Hit Probabilities.  Just be glad you didn’t fire the AT-3 Sagger!!  It was totally useless trying to hit anything at range.

 

So in addition to “fixing” the MR table, we also modified the algorithm that make MP missile stats.  This included a place to add Hit Probability (when found).  I have gone through all missiles to date and re-generated the stats.  I will say finding data for post WWII systems is tedious and highly frustrating.  There is such a variety of resources that either give values or estimations.  There are references that have been outed as known misinformation sources.  Last there are sources that are OPSEC shrouded.  I have spent the last 10yrs trying to compile Weapon system data from as many sources as possible and deriving working stats.  But I digress….  (putting soapbox away, apologies)

 

I will post a thread in the MP Forums when the newly updated Cold War chapters (with updated stats) will be individually uploaded to the Private Access Library.  Should be NLT this weekend.

 

 

Try your ATGM attacks again with the new numbers.  Couple point to remember

  • Missile attacks ignore the Range Modifier on the Direct Fire Table.  This is not a new rule but been in the rules since the beginning.  Missiles have a sustain form of propulsion downrange whereas cannon and rifle rounds do not.  So you were right, used for guns and rifles but not for missiles.

                   The only time range is used for any missile is during Missile Reaction sequence.

  • All missiles have a MIN / MAX range in their notes.  As you noted, there is a dead zone immediately after launch where the warhead has to arm (usually by the spin of the missile)
  • Disallowing the Target Movement (regular or evasive) on the Direct Fire Modifier table is a good idea.  Will discuss and playtest.

 

 

Final thoughts

 

I hope I have clarified the issues you had with the battle.  You brought the issue to light magnificently one that we were aware and trying to fix.  I hope with the latest printing these issues will be improved.  Would be interested in a “rematch” AAR, giving the Sovs a snowballs chance with maybe a little suppression arty?  Of maybe make the US infantry have to “setup” the ATGM on the first activation.  OPFire, Activation and winning Turn2 initiative (three ATGM shots) is brutal!!!   (US Commander: “So?!?”)  HAHAHA

 

All this said, should you still not like how missiles are resolved, house rules “rule”!!

 

Anecdotally, back in the 2000s we had a similar issue with infantry combat.  They were dying way too easily / fast.  A group out in California contacted ODGW with their house rules and after much discussion and playtesting we adopted (with their blessing) about half of their house rules and developed the FirePower stat for use against infantry.

 

You are allowed to change anything you want in this game.

 

OK, OK I’ve chewed enough oxygen.  If you lasted this long w/o going to sleep, I thank you.

 

---Kenny



#6 Peter M. Skaar

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Posted 19 October 2022 - 01:30 PM

Thank you very much, Begemot, for the Tutorial AAR using the Cold War scenario you demonstrated.  It was great to get your insights into the Cold War rules and how they work in this short demo.  The pictures were great as well!

Thanks again for the update, Kenny!



#7 Begemot_

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Posted 20 October 2022 - 02:54 PM

Gentlemen -Thank you for your comments and interest in this little scenario.
 
Healey - We never used nor saw the "Firefight" game when I was in the Army back in the late '70s. I recognized the "Firefight" counters the S2 laid out on the sand table because I had received a personal copy that I had ordered from SPI. The presence of these counters indicated that a copy of the game had been sent down to the battalion but I have no idea if it was played by anyone outside the S2 shop, if even then. My understanding is that the commercial copies of "Firefight" were identical to those the Army got.
 
W. Clark - Interesting story about your sergeant's encounter with the colonel. Sometimes strange things happen when you run into the big brass. Question: when you speak of the vee of white engineer tape pointing back at your TOW were you speaking metaphorically or literally?
 
As for the threat of Soviet artillery, I agree. I will be posting another AAR where the Soviets use their guns. It will be a different story.
 
Kenny Noe - I'm very pleased and excited to hear about the posting of the updated Core Rules. Thank you for you and ODGW's efforts. It is very much appreciated. I very much appreciated your detailed discussion on ATGM and missile reaction rules.
 
As I mentioned above, I will be posting an AAR using the same scenario, but with artillery in play. As you would expect, the results are a bit different.
 
Pete Skaar - Glad you enjoyed the AAR. More to come.
 
---- Begemot
 


#8 W. Clark

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Posted 21 October 2022 - 05:16 PM

If Little Moore (the sergeant) told it straight; the colonel  demanded that he mark his sector of fire with engineer tape to show the limits. Now the sector as I understood it would stretch out 3,000 meters in a vee from Little Moore's track. I told him to make it quick and just hang a "Kill Me" sign around his neck instead. I told him it was his fault in the first place because he let the Colonel see him to start with. My advice was to hide better in the future. Colonels can not chew you out or make outlandish demands if they can not find you.

 

I had some small experience with the Anti-tank roll when I was in the ground troop of 8th/1st Cavalry (air). We had 106mm reckless rifles mounted on jeeps. We didn't have any Eleven Hotels to man them; just the jeeps. Of course at that time in the Army (71-72) a lot of stateside units were undermanned. The platoon was supposed to have a Scout Section, Rifle Squad, Mortar Section and AT Section. What we had was the Scout Section who had to perform as needed as the mortar, rifle and AT elements. I was running the Scout Section as an E-4 (I made sergeant that Nov) and other than the E-7 platoon sergeant there were no NCOs and no LT.  This only worked because the 16th Cavalry had trained me well as a scout and as a mortar man (although with 4.2", no the 81mm we had) for 18 months. As for the reckless rifles, I read the book and went by it for lack of any practical experience. The maximum effective range of the 106mm was 1,000 meters because that was the tracer burn out for the .50 cal. spotter rifle. So the Tow with its 3,000 meter range looked pretty good to me even if I figured we were going to have to avoid all hill tops (property of Soviet arty) and other obvious positions that would favor the Tow.

 

At least in Germany (12 hours road march from 41 Soviet divisions) we had the equipment needed to make our weapons function. The troop of 1st Cavalry I was in at Knox had the weapons but not what ever auxiliary equipment was needed to fire them. We had an 81mm mortar without any stakes or firing table. I was tasked with putting on a fire power demo for the Armor School at Fort Knox (a put on just about covers it). I took my scout section (along with the mortar, bipod and sight) to the range without any idea how I was going to hit anywhere near what they wanted me to shoot at. But, I lucked out and the Range officer sighted us on a forward slope where we could see the target. Probably because that would allow the students to see us fire and observe the effect on the target at the same time.

 

So I set the 81mm up (the first time I had ever done so, I read the manual the night before) and looked through the sight at the target. I estimated the range and cut an appropriate charge. I had one of my troops drop the round while I reverted to armor crewman and looked through the sight. I saw where the round landed and moved that spot in the reticule to the target applying BOT (burst on target) and hit the truck wreck we were shooting at with the second round. We then proceeded to walk a one tube barrage back and forth  across the target to the Range Officer's delight and hopefully the edification of the students. to the uniformed it probably looked great, but it had nothing to do with firing a mortar indirectly. If we had had to deploy it would have been me, the SFC and 6 two man MG teams (using all the platoon's M60s). As for anti-tank, it would have been an M72 and hoping to find an enemy tanker singing "I fought the LAW and the LAW won".

 

WMC



#9 Begemot_

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Posted 23 October 2022 - 05:13 PM

W. Clark - Thanks for responding. Very interesting stories. It's hard to believe that colonel in a combat unit would want engineer tape to mark out a field of fire. But, sadly, there are people like that. For some the higher the rank, the lower the apparent IQ. Of course, that's why terms like SNAFU and FUBAR were invented.



#10 W. Clark

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 03:44 AM

I was exceptionally fortunate in the leadership I served under as a whole. I was in 8 different units between June 1969 and December1980, 4 Cav, 3 Armor and 1 Mech Inf. The Mech Inf. and the Tank battalion it morphed into were the only real bad units I was in. But that could change in an instant. I loved my second battalion commander in 35th armor, but about 5 minutes after my first run in with his successor I knew I was not going to reenlist for a third time. I had a fair amount of interaction with battalion and squadron commanders and normally found them to be good or better. I can not say honestly that my much less frequent interaction with full colonels and above left me favorable impressed. 

 

I remember that particular full colonel as having provided a series of what he called trap plays in our GDP near Hof in the summer of 79. LTC Schroder happened to ask me what I thought as I was extremely familiar with the ground we intended to maneuver over (as the line companies maneuvered in front of us). I told him that I was happy with my roll as I would up on solid ground per the plan, But the tank companies were going to be screwed. He queried why I felt that way. I replied that those fields were dry and firm in July and August (when we were practicing the trap plays), but they are turret deep mud in October and I had experienced great difficulty in just trying to cross them on foot in that condition. I went on to say that the Soviets understood their need to get in close and they would come with the ground fog in October. To my surprise he agreed and unofficially modified the so called traps to avoid the worst pit falls that the Fall wet would bring. This was typical of the disconnect I saw between LTC and higher rank when it appeared that they held my life and others in their hands. Now, keep in mind that I was a staff sergeant and only knew what I had been told. There might have been some unknown redeeming feature about the trap plays that I was unaware of. 

 

In my experience the side who won the recon battle, won period and Schroder demonstrated to my complete satisfaction that he held with that view also. But Schroder was also friends with the colonel so there must have been redeeming qualities I never saw. After I left Germany I went back to the 1st ID and Schroder was then the Division G1. He found out that I was not re-enlisting and tried to talk me into staying in, but I was already decided. Schroder did not stop there; the colonel was now an IG and came out to Reilly on an inspection. Schroder told him that I was getting out and colonel chased me down across post (I was getting training aids for class I was putting on), took me to lunch and gave me the same sales talk with the same result. The conversations did not keep me in, but they flattered my ego and validated to me that I was a pretty good scout. Which, when it came down to it was all I ever really wanted.

 

There really is not a job like being a scout section leader. You are too far away (often kilometers) from anyone above to be closely supervised. So, once you demonstrate that you know what you are doing they stop telling you how and just tell you what they need. On the other hand there is no way to disguise if you don't what you are doing. 

 

WMC






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