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Old 10-10-2022, 05:40 PM
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Default Twilight 2000 Anti-tank Missile Gap?

The question of how quickly stocks of ATGMs would run low/out in a Twilight War scenario has been discussed in a few threads here over the years, but the question has come up again based on recent developments in the IRL Ukraine War, which, in itself, might offer up some clues to help answer that question more accurately.

On 60 Minutes last night, the subject of a potential PRC invasion of Taiwan was examined. A former head of the Taiwanese armed forces complained that they had ordered Javelin ATGMs months before the February Russian invasion of Ukraine, but has yet to receive any because orders were preempted and the completed weapons were sent as aide to the UAF instead. AFAIK, Javelin production has been increased to full capacity (without opening new production lines) but supply can hardly keep up with demand, just for Ukraine and NATO. New production has been earmarked to replace US/NATO stock (sent to Ukraine) or sent directly to the UAF. Poor Taiwan is still waiting for the Javelins that they ordered and paid for a couple of years ago! And all of this is in the case of a limited regional war. What would happen in a total/world war?

I imagine that in a v1 timeline scenario, a lot of older systems (TOW I, Dragon, early iterations of the M72 LAW, and equivalent NATO models) would be sent as military aid to China, depleting legacy stocks. At the same time, the USA and others would begin increasing production of current and next gen models as the perceived threat of global war begins to grow. So, NATO ATGM stocks would probably be about the same or smaller as they were prior to the USSR's invasion of the PRC.

I think the net effect, however, would be similar to what we're seeing with the Ukraine War. Supply would barely be able to keep up with demand in the first year of the general war (including NATO engagement in Europe and elsewhere). I imagine that, even with full mobilization/total war economies, supply would lag behind demand in year 2 and, after the nuclear genie is let out the bottle, remaining supply would be more or less exhausted by the end of that year.

Does this seem reasonable? Am I missing factors that would effect the numbers?

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  #2  
Old 10-10-2022, 07:31 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
AFAIK, Javelin production has been increased to full capacity (without opening new production lines) but supply can hardly keep up with demand, just for Ukraine and NATO.
It depends on what one means by full capacity. The Javelin factory is capable of producing 6,480 missiles per year (according to FY23 budget documents). As of May, production was at an annualized rate of 2,100 per year, with a goal of increasing it to 4,000 per year, but that was dependent on component supply increasing (primarily microchips and semiconductors). It's at full capacity with regards to "all available parts are being used to make missiles," but it's not nearly at the point of needing a new production line.

To put that into perspective, the entire amount sent to Ukraine is around 5,000 missiles, and the entire amount the US military wanted for their own use in FY23 was under 600.

With regards to the primary topic, I think there would also be distribution of even older stuff, like the M67 recoilless rifle that saw limited service into the 1990s and the M40s that were transferred to the Forestry Service in the 1990s. South Korea in particular liked both of them and manufactured the M67 under license, so they might be seen as a way to supplement and support recoilless rifles sent to China.
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Old 10-10-2022, 08:04 PM
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By the late 90s TOW had a max shelf life of 22 years (up from an original 5). This meant that ITOWS were being expended by the box car load during live fires in the late 90s as they were being rotated out of stockage.

So, it stands to reason that there’s plenty of older TOWs, at least at first, and at least 100k of the newer TOW-2A.

I agree that the issue comes in as stocks get depleted. ATGMs can’t be cranked out like rifle bullets, and even with a production line ramped up during 1996 I’d doubt there’d be a surplus. With the most capable (2B/2A for example) being used by preference, there’s likely an overall decline in ATGM capability as well as quantity as production dries up post TDM and older stocks of TOW-2 and ITOW are brought out of storage.

TOWs, especially TOW2A/2B and similar weapons probably get carefully husbanded post TDM. This could mean that they are issued based on combat intelligence of suitable targets, reserved for specialist anti-armor units, or held in reserve for named operations. Maintaining the missiles and other high end munitions (APFDSDU/FASCAM and DP-ICM/SAMs) as well as surviving stocks of special weapons in storage will be a priority for surviving ordnance units, and stocks may be dispersed in an efforts to safeguard them from enemy action.

High end munitions could be used as a plot device in either a pre or post Kalisz campaign. Characters could be assigned to escort or interdict a convoy with high end munitions. Issue of the most capable ATGMs and ammo may used to help add to the atmosphere for a particularly risky mission (“to whom much is given much is asked”). Capture of DU or CHEM rounds may be an indicator that of an especially important enemy unit or plan.

Last edited by Homer; 10-10-2022 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 10-10-2022, 09:17 PM
shrike6 shrike6 is offline
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I am in your camp on this Raellus. I think the vast majority of the material we would be sending to PRC would older and less capable. There might be limited quantities of Tank Breakers, Javelins, etc. to get them combat tested, but the stuff on hand is easiest to send. The alternative is buying systems from someone else and sending them. Overall I can see shortages for a period of time as production ramps up to meet demand. Whether this shortage totally depletes the war reserves is another question.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:34 AM
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I could see the US manufacturing ammo for Type-69 RPGs en masse rather than sending a bunch of ATGMs. It would let the PRC flood the field with RPGs using existing doctrine rather than try to adapt to US/NATO doctrine around anti-armor. I think Ukraine has been able to more readily accept western ATGMs because they've been receiving western training since 2014. They had nearly a decade to adapt their anti-armor tactics to the availability of western ATGMs.
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Old 10-11-2022, 01:59 AM
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I think if a t2k war broke regardless of which timeline. Based on what we've seen with Ukraine. That both ATGM and tanks would be very rare within 12 months.

Sure, ATGM production cannot keep up. But from what i've seen and also guessing (maybe based on WWII), the production of tanks or other major machinery would be majorly impacted also.

So less missiles, but also less tanks for me.
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Old 10-11-2022, 06:27 AM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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I think using newer filler in the Chinese copies of US recoilless rifles might be a stopgap. Both Brazil and China also made 3.5" bazooka ammo too.
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Old 10-13-2022, 11:05 AM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The question of how quickly stocks of ATGMs would run low/out in a Twilight War scenario has been discussed in a few threads here over the years, but the question has come up again based on recent developments in the IRL Ukraine War, which, in itself, might offer up some clues to help answer that question more accurately.

On 60 Minutes last night, the subject of a potential PRC invasion of Taiwan was examined. A former head of the Taiwanese armed forces complained that they had ordered Javelin ATGMs months before the February Russian invasion of Ukraine, but has yet to receive any because orders were preempted and the completed weapons were sent as aide to the UAF instead. AFAIK, Javelin production has been increased to full capacity (without opening new production lines) but supply can hardly keep up with demand, just for Ukraine and NATO. New production has been earmarked to replace US/NATO stock (sent to Ukraine) or sent directly to the UAF. Poor Taiwan is still waiting for the Javelins that they ordered and paid for a couple of years ago! And all of this is in the case of a limited regional war. What would happen in a total/world war?

I imagine that in a v1 timeline scenario, a lot of older systems (TOW I, Dragon, early iterations of the M72 LAW, and equivalent NATO models) would be sent as military aid to China, depleting legacy stocks. At the same time, the USA and others would begin increasing production of current and next gen models as the perceived threat of global war begins to grow. So, NATO ATGM stocks would probably be about the same or smaller as they were prior to the USSR's invasion of the PRC.

I think the net effect, however, would be similar to what we're seeing with the Ukraine War. Supply would barely be able to keep up with demand in the first year of the general war (including NATO engagement in Europe and elsewhere). I imagine that, even with full mobilization/total war economies, supply would lag behind demand in year 2 and, after the nuclear genie is let out the bottle, remaining supply would be more or less exhausted by the end of that year.

Does this seem reasonable? Am I missing factors that would effect the numbers?

-
Once again, this is why I have ALWAYS espoused a "come as you are war" for Twilight2000 and set my timeline up much more compactly.

Fair Warning: If you are a hardcore Disciple of Cannon, stop reading NOW! You may have a stroke if you read any further...

I have an "uprising" in Poland by a bunch of Russian-supported Communists who kick things off in 96. After the 96 US elections, the US begins supporting the Democratic government of Poland against the rebels (who are armed and supported by Russian SF). Germany and the Uk also step it. Things go hot in the summer of 97 after Poland attacks the rebels on Belarusian soil and Russia and Belarus then advance into Poland. NATO begins "picking sides" as do the non-aligned former PACT members. The war escalates in the fall of 99 as Russia is driven back into Belarus and limited nukes and large numbers of NON-PERSISTENT Chemical weapons begin flying. The US has JUST announced the DRAFT in the US and US industry hasn't even "spun up" to wartime production yet. Thus, to fill the gaps in equipment required, EVERYONE begins to dig out their older tech from the back of the closet. Thankfully, the US has REALLY DEEP closets! After the EXCHANGE (what I call my Thanksgiving day nuclear attack on the US), the US begins to break up. The players pick up in the fall of 2000, just 10 months after the EXCHANGE. I do these things because...

= There is no massive buildup of economic production to support the war. There simply wasn't enough time to mobilize the country.

= There is no massive mobilization of US & Canadian troops to Europe. NATO has what it has, and Russia has the advantage of being able to move troops (who were mobilized for China) into Europe to counter the multiple NATO countries with military commitments to Poland.

= The short timeline fits with modern military operations.

= The short timeline and less than a year since the EXCHANGE means that the CHARACTERS are still learning to "live off the land" just like the PLAYERS are!

I would also mention that I did this timeline in 1996.
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Old 10-13-2022, 01:51 PM
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ATGM use may well become tightly controlled even before TDM. Heavy ATGMs like TOW, HOT, and Spandrel generally provided a higher probability of hit and an similar probability of kill to tank main guns at longer optimal point target engagement ranges throughout the 90s. Once a controlled supply rate gets put on ammo (and it’s usually early for missiles), there will likely be some fairly strict engagement criteria put in. Typical target priorities for TOWs under a CSR include ADA systems, engineer equipment, Artillery OP vehicles, ATGM vehicles, and C2 vehicles. By removing those early you open the way for other systems to operate with lower threat levels and disrupt key elements of the enemy formation.

If you want to have fun with wire guided missiles, remember the artillery or mortar splash call should fall just after or simultaneously with the first volley of TOWs and PGMs hitting so the rounds land just after. Prevents cut wires, interference with lasers, and fratricide of the missile while giving the enemy something to worry about instead of orienting on the AT units.
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Old 10-17-2022, 12:54 PM
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This video says it all...

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kT_ljkO3adY&feature=


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  #11  
Old 10-24-2022, 04:43 PM
ToughOmbres ToughOmbres is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swaghauler View Post
Once again, this is why I have ALWAYS espoused a "come as you are war" for Twilight2000 and set my timeline up much more compactly.

Fair Warning: If you are a hardcore Disciple of Cannon, stop reading NOW! You may have a stroke if you read any further...

I have an "uprising" in Poland by a bunch of Russian-supported Communists who kick things off in 96. After the 96 US elections, the US begins supporting the Democratic government of Poland against the rebels (who are armed and supported by Russian SF). Germany and the Uk also step it. Things go hot in the summer of 97 after Poland attacks the rebels on Belarusian soil and Russia and Belarus then advance into Poland. NATO begins "picking sides" as do the non-aligned former PACT members. The war escalates in the fall of 99 as Russia is driven back into Belarus and limited nukes and large numbers of NON-PERSISTENT Chemical weapons begin flying. The US has JUST announced the DRAFT in the US and US industry hasn't even "spun up" to wartime production yet. Thus, to fill the gaps in equipment required, EVERYONE begins to dig out their older tech from the back of the closet. Thankfully, the US has REALLY DEEP closets! After the EXCHANGE (what I call my Thanksgiving day nuclear attack on the US), the US begins to break up. The players pick up in the fall of 2000, just 10 months after the EXCHANGE. I do these things because...

= There is no massive buildup of economic production to support the war. There simply wasn't enough time to mobilize the country.

= There is no massive mobilization of US & Canadian troops to Europe. NATO has what it has, and Russia has the advantage of being able to move troops (who were mobilized for China) into Europe to counter the multiple NATO countries with military commitments to Poland.

= The short timeline fits with modern military operations.

= The short timeline and less than a year since the EXCHANGE means that the CHARACTERS are still learning to "live off the land" just like the PLAYERS are!

I would also mention that I did this timeline in 1996.
I believe that in both our real time line and in the Twilight War it would be or have been very much a "come as you are conflict" with the pre-war estimates of ordnance expenditures woefully inadequate. The industrial output would ramp up as much as possible but not nearly enough to meet the staggering needs. Just my 02 cents.
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Old 10-25-2022, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToughOmbres View Post
I believe that in both our real time line and in the Twilight War it would be or have been very much a "come as you are conflict" with the pre-war estimates of ordnance expenditures woefully inadequate. The industrial output would ramp up as much as possible but not nearly enough to meet the staggering needs. Just my 02 cents.
A nice game-y aspect of a come-as-you-are war would be that industrial production of weapons would have started to ramp up before TDM. The post-TDM collapse/destruction of infrastructure would have stopped that industrial output.

However PCs could end up finding ISO containers full of fresh high tech weapons delivered before TDM. A truck in the woods full of Javelins could change the local balance of power or be a MacGuffin the PCs are sent to retrieve or investigate. That container wasn't going to tilt the balance of the war but in the post-TDM environment would be pretty valuable.
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Old 10-25-2022, 10:11 AM
LoneCollector1987 LoneCollector1987 is offline
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I would like to add my thoughts.

Yes, you can ramp up production, but to do so, you need the resources (metal, computer chips etc) and of course the technicians and machinery to build the missiles.

Considering that you are at a high state of stress (war has broken out between two nuclear powers) I think that there would be a problem acquiring the necessary resources.
After all, if one side suspects or knows that you will supply the enemy what is going to stop him from meddling with your production?
And that can range from asking people who sympathize with you staging protests like blockading lorries etc, sending sabotage troops up to sinking ships that carry those missiles.
I dont remember, but is ist possible to fire SAMs from submarines to hit a plane at standard flight height?

And another thought:
What is the production time difference between a normal missile (TOW 1) to the most advanced form (TOW 2A)?
And what is the difference in resources?

Example:
What if you can produce 2 TOW1 in the same time you produce 1 TOW-2A?
And what if you need the resources for 1,5 TOW1 to build 1 TOW-2A?
That should be taken into account too.
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:30 AM
shrike6 shrike6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneCollector1987 View Post

Example:
What if you can produce 2 TOW1 in the same time you produce 1 TOW-2A?
And what if you need the resources for 1,5 TOW1 to build 1 TOW-2A?
That should be taken into account too.
While this is interesting, youre forgetting one possible variable here. That is (using your example) if the manufacturer is building TOW-2As. Is the manufacturer still capable of making TOW-1 (ie are the components still available to manufacture it.)? The manufacturer and its suppliers may have moved on and no longer making a key component(s) for the TOW-1.
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