Every member of this unit is required to attend the 3rd Armored Division Tank School. You will be taught the essentials of World War II armored warfare using excerpts from actual War Department training manuals and courses of instruction.
ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL - TANK PLATOON CHAPTER 1 GENERAL
1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This manual Is written as a guide for the tactical training and combat procedure for the individual tank, the tank section, and the tank platoon, both light and medium. The tactical procedures and methods set forth herein are not to be followed as inflexible rules, as such practice would stifle individual initiative. The methods of procedure given must be varied to meet the particular situation at hand.
The tank platoon, both light and medium, consists of five tanks. The platoon is divided into a platoon headquarters consisting of the platoon leader and the crew of his tank, and two sections of two tanks each.
a. The tank is characterized by great mobility, fire power, armor protection, and shock action. These characteristics are possessed in varying degree by different types of tanks. The characteristics dictate the manner of employment. All types of tanks are limited by their restricting vision devices.
b. Light tanks, as compared to medium tanks, have less fire power, lighter armor and armament, greater speed, and better maneuverability. They are particularly fitted for:
c. Medium tanks, because of their greater fire power, guns of heavier caliber, increased armor protection, and shocking power are used to:
d. It is essential that tank crew members know the strength and weaknesses of their tank and its weapons. Furthermore, they must know the strength of their weapons as compared to enemy weapons likely to be encountered.
The tank platoon is the smallest tank battle unit. It normally operates as part of the tank company. However, it may operate as an independent unit as advance, flank, or rear guard or on similar missions.
a. Methods.- Tanks operate by surprise, fire and maneuver, and in mass. The violation of these fundamentals will lead to ineffectual effort and perhaps disaster.
b. Coordination - Coordination of effort, that is, timing of all elements, is essential. An uncoordinated effort violates the fundamental of the use of mass. -Coordination of effort, that is, timing of all elements, is essential. An uncoordinated effort violates the fundamental of the use of mass. Therefore, in attack, time the movement of the tanks and the opening of fire by supporting weapons or supporting tanks so that maximum effect is obtained. Teamwork is essential.
c. Initiative and aggressiveness - In order to obtain success in battle, leaders must exercise initiative and act aggressively. A small force acting under direction of an aggressive, alert, leader can overcome a much larger force whose leader is slow and not aggressive. Do not let the enemy have time to get set. Conversely, do not rush headlong into battle with no plan of action. Think clearly, give clear orders, then act fast.
d. Striking weakness - Seek to strike the enemy where he is weak in antitank defense. Do not drive headlong against strong antitank defense. Bypass it or call for assistance to reduce it.
e. Missions and echelons of attack:
1. The mission of tanks in the armored division is to attack and destroy vital hostile installations such as command posts, communication centers, supply installations, reserves, and artillery.
2. The mission of tanks in the separate tank battalions is to assist infantry, cavalry, or motorized divisions to advance by destroying hostile machine guns, personnel, and vital installations.
A tank attack will usually be launched in three echelons, each echelon in a series of waves: