first published on March 23, 2018 by Josh
Inside of a tank, the crew is almost invincible. On the regular field of battle, a tank is a rolling armory of death that has the freedom to move about the battle space at will. It can go anywhere, and do almost anything it wants as long as the path it is on has been cleared of obstacles. This entire situation changes however, the moment the behemoth enters an urban environment. During military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) the crew of a tank is forced to do battle with more than just other tanks and infantry in the field. Different challenges are presented in these locations, and tank crews are forced to adapt.
Without the aid of infantry support, tanks become incredibly vulnerable in urban terrain. The three dimensional nature of urban warfare creates dead space that the tank crew cannot cover with just their coaxial guns and main gun. Top down attacks from elevated positions become a serious threat, as do obstacles and hidden infantrymen that are capable of mounting direct close-range attacks against the crew of the vehicle. In Syria, we often see armor being used as an end-all answer to urban combat, and often times we see these tanks and their crews being dominated due to their general lack of direct support from friendly ground based infantry troops.
In this instance, what we are seeing is something a little different. A lone tank is advancing towards a known infantry position. High above the tank is a drone that is spotting the movements of the infantry troops, and the controllers are speaking directly to the tank’s commander. The general chaos that you can hear in the video is the drone station trying to relay the position of the infantrymen to the tank, and he is absolutely failing. Roughly translated, the drone controller is essentially trying to aim the barrel of the tank using simple geometry. “Left. Okay, a little more left. No just a little bit more. No no no, back to the right a little bit.”
After a few tense moments of screaming on the radio, the tank crew becomes frustrated, and they just start taking shots. Due to their inability to directly spot the infantry troops in the open through their tanks archaic optics without exposing a member of their crew to enemy fire, they start taking shots in the general direction of the infantry troops. This forces the infantry troops to retreat out into the open a little bit farther, where the tank crew can finally see them. Once they are in the open, the tank crew takes full advantage of their movements, and eliminates them before they are able to re-position themselves and mount a follow on attack.