Join our Gaming Community and Experience the life of a WWII U.S. Tanker!

Join our Gaming Community and Experience the life of a WWII U.S. Tanker!

Join our Gaming Community and Experience the life of a WWII U.S. Tanker!Join our Gaming Community and Experience the life of a WWII U.S. Tanker!

3rd Armored Division Tank School

Training Requirements

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.


2. ORGANIZATION


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. 


3. CHARACTERISTICS.


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:


  • Feeling out and developing weak spots in the enemy position through which medium tanks may attack. 
  • Screening the advance against light enemy resistance. 
  • Leading an attack against an unarmored enemy weak In antitank defense, when speed is essential. 
  • A fast maneuvering force to exploit the success of other tanks. 
  • Maneuver to flank or rear to strike the enemy command posts, communication centers, reserves, and vital installations.
  •  Pursuing a defeated enemy. 


c. Medium tanks, because of their  greater fire power, guns of heavier caliber, increased armor protection, and shocking power are used to:


  • Lead an attack against an enemy whose position and strength are known. 
  • Support by fire the attack of either light or medium tanks 


 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. 


4. OPINION.


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. 


  • Surprise - Surprise is gained by striking the enemy at an unexpected time, from an unexpected direction, with all strength possible. Speed of movement, use of covered approaches, and coordination of fires assist in gaining surprise. Seek to surprise the enemy but do not let yourself be surprised. Give the enemy credit for being as capable as yourself. Do not underestimate his ability. Do not become careless. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. 
  • Fire and maneuver -  An advancing unit is covered by the fire of weapons in stationary position. This is important as the tank in the open is not only extremely vulnerable but movement, dust, and restricted vision make the locating of new targets extremely difficult. Tanks in a defiladed position can quickly locate and promptly bring fire upon hostile weapons that fire upon the advancing tanks. This procedure of fire and movement may be by section, platoon, or company. 
  • Do not waste strength on numerous unimportant targets. Strike on a key position with all power that can be mustered. If this falls, others may then be taken. If effort is made on several positions, the enemy may easily destroy you by concentrating successively on each attacking element. 


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:


  • The first echelon of attack, preceded by neutralization by combat aviation and artillery, if available, is directed against the antitank defenses, artillery, command posts, and other rear installations. Tank platoons of this echelon destroy first the enemy antitank defenses and second, enemy artillery. They attack enemy infantry only when hindered by it in fulfilling their primary missions 
  •  The platoons of the second echelon will follow the first echelon at such distance that the enemy will not have time to re-form his antitank defenses. These platoons destroy hostile automatic guns and personnel and clear the way for the advance of infantry. Antitank guns passed over by the first echelon must be silenced by the leading waves of the second echelon.
  •  The tank platoons of the third echelon advance with the infantry, destroy hostile machine guns passed over by the second echelon, and hostile personnel. The mission of this echelon is to assist the advance of the infantry. They may lead the infantry attack if resistance is still heavy. If resistance has been broken by the first two echelons, tanks of the third echelon will follow the infantry, prepared to attack isolated resistance as necessary. These tanks also protect the infantry from counterattack, particularly of mechanized forces. 



The Importance of Terrain





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