COMBAT DOCTRINE ON THE FRONTS

In Random Battles, the WOT battlefield can be divided into the following Fronts: a Primary Front (1F), a Secondary Front (2F) and Defensive Fronts (DF).

The commonly recognised Fronts on each map are identified in the Terrain Analysis maps. For Random Battles, TACT advocates that the combat effort be concentrated on no more than two recognised Fronts. The
Primary Front is defined as the Front chosen by the top manuevre tank in the team roster. It is not necessarily the “best” Front or the most “popular” Front. Wherever the top manuevre tank goes is automatically designated as 1F for that battle. The Secondary Front is defined by the 3rd manuevre tank in the team roster. Whichever Front he goes to is designated 2F. Any remaining recognised Fronts are automatically designated as Defensive Fronts (DF).

What is the point of defining the Fronts? It serves two purposes. Firstly, it aids in tank distribution. Secondly, each Front has a different set of tactical options. Division of tanks across more than two major fighting Fronts usually results in the tanks being outnumbered in every portion of the map. Success is low if the tanks are too thinly spread out and not concentrating their fire. By TACT doctrine, 1F and 2F should end up with at least 4 tanks per Front, often more.

For 1F and 2F, the tanks essentially execute a (slow or fast) Movement To Contact with the enemy and then proceed to either
PUSH or HOLD. Being able to assess the situation and choose the appropriate tactical option is key to victory. If you find yourself heavily outnumbered in a Front, then it must mean that your team should outnumber the enemy on the other Front.

If, for either 1F or 2F, you find yourself outnumbered or outgunned, your job is to HOLD that Front. HOLDing means:

a. You must remain alive for as long as possible.
b. Delaying the enemy advance is of utmost priority.
c. You allow the enemy tanks to enter your kill zones of concentrated fire rather than playing peek-a-boo and entering theirs.

In this scenario, it is a CAP (capture) race. The HOLDing Front must delay the enemy long enough for the other Front to PUSH to capture.

The common fatal mistake in HOLDing Fronts is the lack of awareness in the players that they are suppose to hold and they continue aggressive individualistic manuevres against a superior enemy. Invariably they will be overwhelmed and the team will lose via base capture. HOLDing means letting the enemy tanks enter your fire zone so you ALWAYS get off the first shot. If this is not happening, you are not HOLDing correctly.

If you find yourself on the Front that is outnumbering the enemy, your role is to PUSH towards the enemy base. PUSHing means:

a. Sustained attacks on enemy tanks.
b. Aggressive manuevres by fast mediums and speedier heavies to surround enemy tanks.
c. Focus on reaching the enemy base as quickly as possible.

Aggressive manuevres does not mean senseless frontal charges. Let’s try and break it down into certain principles. On a PUSHing Front:

a. Mediums should not be playing peek-a-boo. Leave that to the heavies. They should be firing and moving forward from cover to cover, until they penetrate the enemy defensive line.

b. Heavies initially fire from cover (peek-a-boo) BUT the minute the mediums engage in close combat, the heavies MUST advance in support. The mediums are there to dislocate and distract the enemy so that the big guns can come in and become effective. It is a crying shame when three mediums die at the enemy line and the heavies are still 200m back!

c. Thus, mediums need to co-ordinate their advance on the enemy line. The common mistake is is that they fly forwards without waiting for their heavies to come within “charging” range.

d. On a good PUSH, the mediums contact the enemy and then stay alive until the heavies move up. In a all-medium “fast” PUSH, this is often not necessary as the tanks are in a cluster.

The common fatal mistake in PUSHing Fronts is not PUSHing. When you see a large number of tanks playing extended peek-a-boo with a small number of tanks, that is a classic sign of an impending loss.

The other elementary mistake in PUSHing is the complacency of numbers. Due to a misguided sense of numerical superiority, the tanks forget basic combat discipline and ignore movement, cover, arty resistance, reload times, situational awareness, target aim points etc etc. In such situations, the the PUSH Front is often decimated by arty and simple defensive shooting.

Another common error is to send in tanks one at a time into the enemy (HOLDing) fire zones. In PUSHing against an enemy Front, the tanks MUST have the courage to advance together to diffuse enemy fire and break through the fire zone. Once the lead medium goes in, ALL the mediums must go in. Once the mediums cross the enemy fire zone, the heavies MUST go in. Lack of unity in the PUSH will result in failure more often than success.

What happens when the Fronts are fairly even? Do you PUSH or HOLD? This is the classical “fog of war” and “battlefield instincts” situation. Depending on a multitude of factors such as map, terrain, type of tanks you have, enemy positioning etc, both HOLDing and PUSHing can be an option. The key here is not necessarily to make the “correct” decision. The key is that every tank on that Front KNOWS what the decision is.
The tragedy occurs when some tanks on a Front decide to push and some decide to HOLD!

We have so far been discussing the role of manuevre tanks in PUSHing and HOLDing. What is the role of TDs? Depending the qualities of that particular TD and the map/Front that they are fighting on, there are various roles for a TD:

a. On a PUSH, if the enemy HOLDing kill zone is narrow and predominantly frontal facing, the TD can utilise his superior front armour to be the lead tank that takes the first set of fire from the enemy, allowing the mediums to swarm in thereafter.

b. On a slow PUSH across fairly open terrain, they may also choose to be the lead tank to flush out enemy TDs lying in ambush. On a fast PUSH, it is wiser for them to stay slightly behind the fast tanks and provide support fire.

c. When HOLDing, TDs need to position themselves such that they are able to take the first shot in the killing zone. More than the manuevre tanks, they need to work out where to move to after taking the shot, especially if arty has targeted them.

On some maps, there more than 2 recognised Fronts. After 1F and 2F have been allocated, any remaining Fronts are designated as Defensive Fronts (DF). All DFs need a tank to Move To Contact and ascertain if the enemy is coming down that Front in numbers. If the lone scouting tank contacts a significant enemy force, then the principles of
Dynamic Defense (see separate monograph) must be utilised.