Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict had pointed up a number of weaknesses in the actual tactics on the use of armor on the battlefield.
Increasingly, tank’s crew are faced with a threat “Jihad cars”, anti-tank guided missile systems and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). In this regard, the Russian military officials have made a change in the tactics of using tanks on the battlefield.
About the new change of Russian thinking on the use of armor wrote Andrei Stanavov, journalist of Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Andrei Stanavov visited the Pogonovo test range in Russia’s Voronezh Region to observe tactical exercises by the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army and looked at how modern warfare has changed Russian battlefield tactics of using tanks.
First of all, he noted the introduction of three new elements of tank combat, which appeared on the basis of the experience of the war in Syria:
- tank carousel;
- tank trousers;
- syrian shaft.
Each of the new elements has its own characteristics, which take into account the technical and moral backlog of Russian tanks such as T-72. For example, a “tank carousel” it is Non-stop shooting, when three, six, nine or more tanks move uninterrupted in a circular motion, one pummeling the enemy, the other moving to the rear and reloading, the third preparing to enter firing position, and so on. According to Stanavov, the “tank carousel” can be used when it is unknown what kind of armament the enemy has at his disposal – tanks, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) or grenade launchers.
Another element is “tank trousers” which involves tanks alternating fire between two trenches, without staying in one position for more than a few seconds. The tank enters the trench, fires, kicks into reverse and moves to the next. Enemy anti-tank weapons don’t have time to react.
Local conflicts clearly showed that positional defense and the offensive in the classical sense have outlived its usefulness. The main task of tankmen on the battlefield is to constantly maneuver and hide the weakly protected machines in the folds of the terrain.
In Syria, mounds and bench terrace began to be used in tactics on the use of armor on the battlefield. Here, tanks can move along the parapet and, when they reach an opening, shoot, quickly concealing themselves back behind the embankment. So long as they remain in constant motion, it becomes almost impossible to aim at or hit them. Furthermore, to deceive the enemy, the commander can choose which opening to fire from at random, giving the impression there are more tanks deployed than in reality. Openings can be created using engineering equipment, and if necessary, by the crew itself.
In an era of local conflicts without clear front lines, the idea of large tank armies facing off along vast fronts has become a thing of the past.