United Kingdom Tactics Edit
During the Cold War, the UK maintained highly-mechanised and modern forces as part of its NATO commitments. While manpower and force size was limited by budgetary constraints, quality of training and hardware was very good.
Doctrine was similar to that of many other NATO members, focusing on technological-superiority, stand-off engagements, night warfare, combined-arms and mobility. Tactical command initiative was devolved and lower-level commanders (NCOs and junior officers) were empowered to make decisions based on the tactical situation at hand. Doctrine-wise, the British Army tended to rely more on positional tactics in order to exploit the firepower superiority of their tanks. Although their doctrine was not as centralized as that of the Soviet Army, it was also not as oriented toward speed and maneuver as those of the Bundeswehr and the French Army.
The primary combat formation was the Brigade, with attached air, artillery, and logistics support.
- Engagement range
- Air support (particularly fast jets)
- Armored Vehicles (particularly MBTs)
- Artillery density
Notes on Armor Edit
Armored units were of high-quality. The UK was at the leading-edge of armor research. Chobham composite ceramic armor was developed in the UK and became the standard for many modern militaries.
The UK retained rifled tank guns which increased accuracy at the expense of more complex ammunition (particularly sub-caliber sabotted rounds), and shorter barrel service-life.
Tanks were also typically equipped with a peculiar type of round called a High-Explosive Squash Head (HESH) or High-Explosive Plastic (HE-P) in US parlance. Useful against steel armor, this worked by sticking to the side of a vehicle and after a momentary delay, detonating; this would break a scab of steel off which would ricochet around the interior of the vehicle (spall), damaging controls and personnel. Wider introduction of anti-spall liners in AFVs somewhat reduced the utility of this round.
For nearly four decades after World War 2 British tanks were the most heavily gunned and protected in the world, although somewhat lacking in mobility. As the Arab-Israeli Wars amply demonstrated, battlefield mobility was less a function of vehicle speed than of its protection. The well protected Centurions tended to be some of the most mobile weapon systems on the battlefield. Moreover, the low speed and operating radius did not prevent the Israeli Defense Force from implementing a very effective maneuver doctrine against Arab forces equipped with faster Soviet-made tanks. The British Army followed the 105mm gunned Centurion with a 120mm armed Chieftain (ironically, even as the very successful British L7 105mm gun was fast becoming the NATO standard for MBT armament) and then the Challenger. Initially, the Chieftain and the Challenger were not as successful as the Centurion, with the Chieftain being plagued by mechanical unreliability, and the Challenger 1 suffering from inferior fire controls that caused the poor showing of these tanks in the Canadian Army Trophy competitions. However, during the long service, this tanks proved their worth.
Notes on ATGMs Edit
Backbone of the ATGM force is formed by Swingfire, a hard-hitting missile which can be fired from a vehicle or remotely fired from a portable ground-based launcher to preserve launch control concealment. Swingfire filled a similar niche as the other ATGMs, but came into service a few years before TOW with the decidedly inferior MCLOS guidance (compared to TOW and HOT's SACLOS). This did, however, give Swingfire one tactical advantage: you could 'swing' the missile through a turn of up to 90 degrees to guide it to the target (hence the missile's name).
Prior to the 1976 reorganizations, the Swingfire ATGM vehicles (both FV-438 and CVR(T) Striker) were operated as ATGW Troops organic to the Armoured and Recce Regiments. They were then massed under the command of the Royal Horse Artillery as a Corps Guided Weapons Regiment. In practice, the regiment was divided up into batteries, with each battery being allocated to a division. This organisation was abandoned in the 1982 reorganisation and all Swingfire ATGM vehicles were returned to the Armoured and Recce Regiments.
Milan ATGM (crew-served and vehicle mounted) was also used by British infantry.
Notes on IFVs Edit
The primary tracked vehicles used by the British Army are Warrior IFV and CVR(T) types. Vehicles from CVR(T) family are fairly thin-skinned and occasionally lightly-armed, so survivability is an issue. These were best served in reconnaissance or infantry support roles.
Warrior IFV entered service in 1987, and while reasonably well protected and armed with 30mm gun, lack of ATGM means it have to be supported by other vehicles when heavy armor is encountered. With the introduction of the Warrior IFV, Mechanised Infantry Battalions that re-equipped with Warrior were re-designated as Armoured Infantry Battalions. However, battalion organisation remained essentially the same. Only three BAOR battalions managed to re-equip with Warrior before the end of 1989 – one in 1st Armoured Division and two in 3rd Armoured Division. There had also been a Warrior demonstrator battalion in the UK since 1984; it was briefly deployed to West Germany for Exercise Lionheart '84 and again in 1986, though no BAOR battalions were actually converted until 1988.
There are two mainstay types of armored personnel carriers, tracked FV432 and wheeled Saxon. They are very lightly armored and armed, with only purpose of taxing infantry on the battlefield.
Notes on Air Support Edit
Provided by the RAF and Army Air Corps, Air support is of high-quality. Fast jets such as Jaguar and Harrier (typically GR variants) were powerful and durable CAS assets. Helo support is provided by light multirole helicopters such as Gazelle and TOW missile armed Lynx, where ordnance is of high-quality but limited quantity. Helo survivability is limited in a SAM/AAG rich environment.