Monday, June 9, 2014

This Is How You Deep-Strike A Tank!

by SandWyrm

Here's a neat video of some Russian paratroopers practicing their "deep-striking" skills. Check out how the tanks have a rocket-assisted landing rig built into the parachute system. Pretty cool, even if they aren't the size of Land Raiders. :)

The amount of smoke kicked up by the rockets would also seem to suggest that deep-striking tanks or pods in 40K really should get smoke-cover during the turn that they 'land'.


No rocket-assists, but here's another video showing Russian drops of the BMP-4M (Their lighter, faster, Bradley equivalent), plus a small EMX-ish 125mm self-propelled gun that can fire while crossing water.

I don't think the Bradley can handle firing its gun in water, as it has enough of a tendency to roll over as-is.

Seems like the Russians have some good capabilities for rapid-deployment. Which would make them difficult to shift in a Falkland Islands invasion type of situation. The British had the Scorpion light tank back then (which served them well). But those have (like the US Chaffee) long since been retired, and no MBT could handle terrain like that found in Crete, the Faulklands, or even the more mountainous countries in Eastern Europe, like Serbia. 


  1. Pretty impressive... Not even sure if the old M551's are still in US service... Closest we had back when I was in, but mostly heavy tanks were the thing, we got to hold until the real armor got there :-)...

    But didn't the current version of the DN Drop Pod from FW at least have something to the effect of a good cover save the turn they dropped in place of the ability to Assault out of Deep Strike?

    1. AFAIK, the US has no 'light' or 'medium' armor anymore. We expect a single tank (the Abrams) to fulfill all roles on the battlefield. Even if its size and weight preclude it from crossing unreinforced bridges, deep mud, or winding mountain roads. Which means that they can't be used outside of Western Europe or a nice flat desert.

      Which is stupid, but that's where we're at. The Marines need a good rapid-deployable light tank, but the idea keeps getting killed in development. Instead we have the Stryker (a wheeled vehicle with a tank gun) and increasingly up-gunned APCs/IFVs.

      The Stryker has been airdropped (with a LOT more silk), but it would be crap in a real combat situation. Too big, too heavy, with too-high a center of gravity. The thing literally knocks itself over if it shoots to the side.

    2. I'd like to know what their strategic role is supposed to be. I can't really get my head around the idea myself.

      The only really mass scale air drops were done in WW2. The lesson learnt was that you need to drop in direct support of ground forces. In that scenario precision is really important. Special forces in stealthy helicopters could pull that kind of thing off, mass paradrops can't.

      Really this is relegated to operations deep behind enemy lines. Again that's a role for special forces. A large force of regulars with big noisy vehicles is going to be discovered and presumably would running a huge risk of defeat in detail.

      Maybe their role is more cynical. Drop them deep and accept low survival rates - but have them cause chaos and confusion for a few hours while conventional forces swing in.

    3. The big role is as first responders. They can be anywhere in X hours. The second would be as an invasion or counter-invasion force for situations in difficult or isolated terrain. Such as the Falkland Islands.

      Think of the Kosovo conflict back in the 90's. Where the US literally had no ability to get armor into that region. Abrams tanks (and their fuel) require transport by ships and/or rail. If your bridges can't handle 80 tons, you won't see them in the operations theatre. Whereas a 30-50 ton amphibious tank (that could be dropped) would be able to support troops anywhere with a minimal logistics load.

      Really, we need 2 tiers of armor, just like we have 2 tiers of aircraft (F22 + F15/16). Light tanks that can go anywhere quick, and the big heavies that lack mobility but hit hard.

    4. Light armour is cool but I'm just dubious if parachute deployment is really the best approach. Obviously a plane can fly faster than a tank but tying your light armour to an airbase and then having to load it up for a mission isn't necessarily the most flexible approach if you just want a mobile reserve.

      On the offensive I agree that para-dropping tanks is incredibly cool but in direct support of land forces they'd struggle to land safely and in deep operations their logistics is a nightmare. The idea of dropping near key objectives and seizing them seems smart but Market Garden gives a cautionary tale for that type of approach. If all goes to plan it's great but as soon as you run into difficulties your elite forces end up isolated with no viable means of reinforcement or escape.

      That's why we've shifted from parachutes to helicopters. They give you a means of rapid redeployment or escape if the battlefield situations go bad. They could use something like the old Scorpion tanks maybe. They would be light enough to be carried by a Chinook and presumably you could design one that could just roll on/roll off the back.

      Having said all that the combat record is pretty definitive. You want "real" tanks for the regular work. You can always reinforce or build new bridges. They may be heavy but the Abrams and Challenger 2 were unmatched in every engagement during the Iraq war.

    5. Helicopters are more flexible, sure. But they're also a lot more expensive to operate. The question is what gives a country the better bang for their buck. Russia doesn’t have the deepest pockets, you know.

      I see these being used in remote land grabs or grab-backs. Like all those islands between Japan and China/Russia that are still being contested. The Faulklands are a good historical example, because it was British commandoes + light tanks vs. Argentine troops without armor.

      Compared to the German invasion of Crete, where the paratroops had little ground support until ships could unload, the British had relatively few casualties. Less than one percent, compared to the 30% casualties of the Germans. Despite constant bombing by Argentine aircraft.

      MBTs are definitely what you want on the plains of Russia/Germany, or in a flat open desert. But in isolated mountainous terrain, or in cities, light tanks can really shine. They’re also much easier to airlift in a hurry.

      One of the issues with using an Abrams for city fighting, for instance, is that troops can’t walk closely behind it without being cooked by the turbine exhaust. But a Chaffee or M60 wouldn’t have that problem.

      Pretty sure the Challenger would beat the Abrams in a fight BTW. :)

  2. TBH the Falklands makes no sense to me. Battles like Goose Green should have been bloodbaths but they were won with fairly low casualties. I don't think light tanks were the key to that. Maybe naval and air support? Possibly just very good (and crazy) soldiers?!

    Paratroopers just seem to be relegated to the periphery of modern warfare. The stealth and prescision of helicopters let them integrate into pretty much any conventional land force and they act as an amazing force multiplier. Compared to that a paradrop seems clunky and pointless.

    I'm sure there's still roles for them, maybe where speed and range trump any other considerations, but I think it would take a cynical commander to get his elite forces to paradrop into enemy territory against an evenly matched foe.


out dang bot!

Recent Favorites

All-Time Favorites