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Grau, Lester CIA Directorate of Intelligence Soviet Tank Company s. The Tank Troops were one of the two basic types of combat units in the Soviet Army, the other being the Motorized Rifles mechanized infantry. This article will cover both.

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Consider supporting us on Patreon! Ts were most deployed to Germany in more limited numbers. Battalions would not deploy companies with different tanks. They and Motorized Rifle Companies were the basic company-sized units of the Soviet Army's combined arms approach. Tank Companies were numbered. Companies in the Tank Regiments fielded platoons of 3 tanks for a total of 10 tanks per company. Each company was typically supported by a platoon of Motorized Rifles from the Regiment-level.

They differed from the Tank Regiments, in that these Tank Companies would be attached to Motorized Rifle Battalions rather than the other way around in support of the infantry.


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This is likely part of the reason why these Tank Companies had 4 tanks, as 4 tanks can be more readily split into 2 even sections of 2 tanks each when deployed with infantry. These requirements demand that the TC maintain situational awareness by using all available optics for observation, by eavesdropping on radio transmissions, and by monitoring the intervehicular information system IVIS or applique digital screen if available. Gunner The gunner searches for targets and aims and fires both the main gun and the coaxial machine gun.

He is responsible to the TC for the maintenance of the tank's armament and fire control equipment. The gunner serves as the assistant TC and assumes the responsibilities of the TC as required.

M1 Tank Platoon

He also assists other crewmembers as needed. Several of his duties involve the tank's communications and internal control systems: logging onto and monitoring communications nets; maintaining digital links if the tank is equipped with the IVIS or applique digital system; inputting graphic control measures on digital overlays; and monitoring digital displays during the planning and preparation phases of an operation.

Driver The driver moves, positions, and stops the tank. While driving, he constantly searches for covered routes and for covered positions to which he can move if the tank is engaged. He maintains his tank's position in formation and watches for visual signals. If the tank is equipped with a steer-to indicator, the driver monitors the device and selects the best tactical route. During engagements, he assists the gunner and TC by scanning for targets and sensing fired rounds.

The driver is responsible to the TC for the automotive maintenance and refueling of the tank. He assists other crewmen as needed. Loader The loader loads the main gun and the coaxial machine gun ready box; he aims and fires the loader's machine gun if the vehicle is equipped with one. He stows and cares for ammunition and is responsible to the TC for the maintenance of communications equipment. Before engagement actions are initiated, the loader searches for targets and acts as air or anti-tank guided missile ATGM guard.

He also assists the TC as needed in directing the driver so the tank maintains its position in forma tion. He assists other crewmembers as necessary. Because the loader is ideally positioned both to observe around the tank and to monitor the tank's digital displays, platoon leaders and TCs should give strong consideration to assigning their second most experienced crewman as the loader.

If the function of loading the main gun is handled by an autoloader no current U. Tanks offer an impressive array of capabilities on the modern battlefield. In combination, these factors produce the shock effect that allows armor units to close with and destroy the enemy in most weather and light conditions.

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Tanks can defend much like the infantry, but they are most effective when employed in a mobile situation that exploits their speed, shock, and firepower. Tanks are most effective if the enemy is unaware of their presence and has planned to fight only against the infantry forces that he has identified.

Tank Platoon

Tanks require extensive maintenance, proficient operators, and skilled mechanics, as well as daily resupply of large quantities of bulky petroleum products such as fuel, oil, and grease. The ability to cross ditches; to ford streams and shallow rivers; and to push through small trees up to 12 inches in diameter , vegetation, wire obstacles, and limited obstructions allows tanks to move effectively in various types of terrain.

The addition of a mine plow enhances the tank's breaching capability, but also hinders movement in rough terrain. Global positioning systems GPS and inertial position navigation POSNAV systems allow today's tanks to move to virtually any designated location with greater speed and accuracy than ever before.

Limitations Tanks are noisy. Therefore, there is little chance of them arriving in an area undetected. During cold weather or when thermal nightsights or radios are used, the tank's engine must be run at least 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours to keep the tank's batteries charged.

Because tanks lack bridging equipment, they can only cross bodies of water less than 4 feet deep. Reconnaissance parties must ascertain the weight-supporting capacity of roads, bridges, and building floors to determine if they can support the weight of tanks and other armored vehicles. The tank's main gun is accurate and lethal at ranges out to 2, meters.


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The stabilized gun allows effective fires even when the tank is moving cross-country. The various machine guns provide a high volume of suppressive fires for self-defense and provide supporting fires for the infantry. Limitations Tanks cannot elevate or depress their main guns enough to engage targets very close to the vehicle or those high up in tall buildings. Due to the length of the tank main gun, the turret will not rotate if a solid object is encountered, for example, a wall, post, and so forth.

Army Techniques Publication ATP 3-20.15 MCRP 3-10B.1 Tank Platoon July 12222

Tank cannons create an overpressure and noise hazard to exposed infantrymen. When the tank main gun fires, it creates a large fireball and smoke cloud.


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  • In the confines of an urban area, dirt and masonry dust are also picked up and add to this cloud. The smoke and dust of the explosion further obscure the target. Depending on local conditions, this obscuration could last as long as two or three minutes. On-board optics and sighting systems enable the crews to acquire and destroy enemy tanks, armored vehicles, and fortifications using the main gun or to use machine guns to suppress enemy positions, personnel, and lightly armored targets. The thermal sights on armored vehicles can detect enemy activity through darkness and smoke, conditions that limit even the best-equipped infantry.

    Limitations Armored vehicle crews, especially those in tanks, are blind to infantry soldiers near their vehicle. This limitation is worse during limited visibility or when the hatches are closed.

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    This causes the crew to focus on the enemy or on potential enemy locations rather than on friendly infantry moving close to the vehicle. Fighting with closed hatches reduces the crew's ability to see, acquire, and engage targets. Crewmen inside armored vehicles have poor all-round vision through their vision blocks; they are easily blinded by smoke or dust.