I have been immersed in writing ‘Patriot Dawn’. It occurred to me that I have not posted recently, so I pulled this excerpt out of ‘Rapid Fire! Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations’. I was writing about an urban defense/battle scenario as part of the storyline, so this came to mind.
It is just ‘a way’ of pulling off a dismounted anti-armor ambush. The described technique assumes that you have some form of anti-armor weapons system, rocket type.
What is defilade? Defilade: a position from which the enemy can only engage you with direct fire, and observed indirect fire, when they are in your killing area. This means that as you are set up to hit the enemy from the flank, you will be tucked in behind a fold of ground, maybe in the side of a draw, so the enemy can’t see you before they appear in your killing area, when you hit them from the flank with enfilade fire. The idea is that they are advancing in a direction and you set up to hit them from the flank of their line of march, from defilade. This is the survival tactic for anti-armor troops in a general war scenario: the anti-tank weapons will be set up in defilade positions so that they engage the enemy from the flank (due to the weaker armor on the flank and rear of battle tanks and armored vehicles) and the enemy can’t see them or return fire until they are in the killing area. Imagine you were set to take out the school bully. You know that in the open playground he can take you down easy. So you get your baseball bat and wait round the corner of the alley. He can’t see you until he is in view from the alley i.e. in your killing area, whereupon you whack him on the head with your baseball bat from the side (flank) i.e. with an enfilade bat strike.
I could not figure out how to paste in the accompanying diagram, that is in the book.
Urban Anti-Armor Ambush
The aim of the anti-armor ambush is to destroy some or at minimum one advancing enemy armored vehicle and escape, not take on the whole enemy column, thus slowing them down and causing harassment and attrition.
The urban anti-armor (anti-tank) ambush is a specialist technique designed for an urban environment. Such an environment has, by design, streets, buildings, side streets and alleyways. These side streets or alleyways create natural defilade. They also create multiple decision points for the approaching enemy armor. The elements of an urban anti-armor ambush are the early warning, kill team, and cover group.
The way that it works is that the early warning team, which is possibly a buddy pair, will wait in an observation position where they can see which route the enemy armored vehicles will take. Obstacles could be used to help direct the enemy’s course of action better. The early warning team relays the message to the kill and cover teams, either by running or by radio, whichever works. The kill and cover teams will move into position. The kill team will occupy an alleyway or side street off the main street down which the enemy will come. The cover team will be further in depth, in a position to observe the ambush site, which probably means they are in a building further down the street from the ambush site.
The kill team will at minimum consist of the leader and two firers. The firers need to be armed with a weapon that is effective against armor, such as an RPG, AT-4 or LAW rocket system. (Alternatively they could have an off-route mine (Explosively Formed Penetrator type) and be ready to set it off, which is a different ambush technique). There must be two firers, side by side, in case of misfire or miss, and they will both fire at the same, usually lead, armored vehicle.
When the enemy vehicle is passing the alleyway mouth, and its weaker side armor is in view, the leader will order the ambush sprung and the firers will both simultaneously fire their weapons at the tank and then the group will turn and run out of their as fast as possible, headed for a rally point past the cover group, meeting up or running with the early warning team. The cover group will immediately open fire to cover their withdrawal.
It may be that the cover group does not have anti-armor weapons but this is not a problem, they are aiming to suppress and distract any infantry accompanying the armored column, allowing the ambush team to escape. Hopefully the destroyed vehicle will partially block the street and hinder follow up.
The cover group will then withdraw rapidly and all groups will meet up at the rally point, before moving rapidly off to their next fallback position as the attempt to hinder and attrite the advancing enemy armored column. It is also possible that in a larger city or AO, they could have vehicles cached and ready to extract in to another location.
Just some food for thought…