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Old 10-09-2020, 04:24 PM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Location: East Tennessee, USA
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One of the major mistakes that the Israelis made in the '73 War was with their tactical use of tanks. During the early phases of the war, Israeli tank losses were due to dug-in tanks on the Bar-Lev Line of fortifications, these had been pre-sighted by Egyptian artillery and had dedicated ATGM/RPG teams close assaulting the tanks. In the rush to reinforce/relieve the Bar-Lev Line, early tank counterattacks were often made in platoon or company strength and involved high-speed 'cavalry' charges against dug-in troops, again with pre-sighted arty fires and heavy concentrations of ATGM (to the extent that the Egyptian reserve divisions detached their antitank battalions to reinforce the firing line.)

Another mistake was logistical in that Israel tanks were loaded with APDS/HEAT ammunition (not very effective against dug-in troops), leaving them with only their co-axial machineguns to counter ATGMs (a losing endeavor).

As the Israelis mobilized their reserves and started counterattacking in brigade/division strength, they also started making better use of counterbattery fire as well as heavy mortars to shatter defensive positons. The U.S. also started shipping in HEP rounds in large numbers, in some cases, stripping units in Germany of their holdings of this type. The Israelis also started mounting .50 and .30-caliber machine guns on top of their main guns in an effort to supress ATGM gunners. Tank losses for the Israelis were noticeably lighter than in the opening phases,

Tactics were also modified to employ what became called the 'Sagger Weave', where a platoon of tanks would approach a position and with the first launch of a Sagger, the tanks would maneuver at high speed and use erratic movements while directing main gun and machine gun fire on the launch site in an effort to kill or stun the gunner or force him to lose track of the missile causing a miss. Extensive use was also made of smoke grenades/launchers.

Varations of these tactics have been practiced by tankers ever since. They work, even against later generations of fire-and-forget missiles. It's not perfect, and technological marches on, but tanks also benefit from technology, improved armor/EPA, sensors, ammunition and I'm sure that DARPA is busy working on anti-UAV measures even as we speak.
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