first published on June 18, 2018 by Josh
Urban environments are naturally the most 3-dimensional battle spaces in all environments of war. Threats can emerge from rooftops to sewer systems, and those same threats can often make movements in-between those spaces without being seen. Due to this highly dynamic, and ever-changing element that is most specific to urban battlefields, armored vehicles can often find themselves in situations that are untenable when they are not supported by infantry troops with a better view of the surrounding areas. Armored vehicle’s limited vision combined with their inability to easily maneuver in that space makes them an easy target when unsupported.
Evidence of this is present all throughout history, but most recently it has become a documented fact. For the duration of the Syrian Civil War, we have been witnessing a number of instances where tanks are outmaneuvered by barely trained infantry troops. In almost every case, once the infantry has gotten in close to the unsupported armor, they have been able to destroy it using a combination of hand grenades, rockets, or even molotov cocktails. Rarely do we see the crews of the flanked and disabled tanks ever make an escape, because their enemies are directly on top of them by the time they realize what is happening.
In the video contained at the bottom of this article, members of the Free Syrian Army manage to spot a disabled tank that has been left behind. The still manned tank is holding a corner in order to keep FSA troops from advancing into SAA lines, but it has absolutely zero ground support in the form of infantry in the nearby vicinity. Realizing this, the FSA fighters quickly maneuver on the tank from its flank, and then begin pelting the armor with small arms fire to keep the crew pinned inside.
Unable to determine the direction from which they are being shot, or direct any of their weapon systems in the direction that the fire is coming from, the crew is forced to try and wait inside of the vehicle for the storm to end. Unfortunately for them, the suppressing fire that is keeping them locked inside of their tank is also allowing other members of the FSA to advance directly on top of them.
Once on top of the tank, the FSA fighters begin prying open hatches and tossing grenades inside at the defenseless crew. Once the FSA fighters retreat, the crew of the tank also tries to make an escape, but it’s too late for them. They can’t stay inside of their armor because of the grenades, and escaping the vehicle only leads them directly into the fire of the other FSA fighters who had them pinned in the first place.
Eight infantrymen in the vicinity of this tank could have prevented this flank from happening.