Static Gunnery Training

In this training exercise we'll concentrate first on just running your tank. Don't worry about the rest of the platoon, they'll just follow along and watch. The nice thing about training ranges is that the enemy never fires back. Furthermore, in this exercise the enemy doesn't even move. This makes learning and experimentation much easier.

Make sure you find the Pause key before you start. You'll want to read a paragraph or two and do that, then pause to read a few more paragraphs, then continue, etc.

Map Reference Check: You begin this exercise looking at the mapboard. To find your location press the Your Tank key. The map crosshairs jump to your location and shows a data window about your tank. Use the Zoom key to look at your position in more detail. Beside you are the three other tanks of your platoon.

Now Unzoom until you can see the whole map again. Next carefully move the crosshairs until it's on top of a target just to the east (right) of your tanks. Now press Selector ft J. You'll see an information window about the target. It should be a URAL-375D truck. Feel free to use the map of the range on page 17 if you're having trouble finding the truck.

Do the same to find two more targets on the large hill across the stream to the north. You'll find a BMP-1 EFV (infantry fighting vehicle) and a Rifle Squad near the hill's east crestline.

If you make a mistake and don't have the crosshairs over an enemy, the data window doesn't change. Instead your tanks start forward to that point! This is because selecting an unoccupied area on the map gives a " 'move to' that point" command. If this accidentally happens, press the "H" key to give a "halt" order.

Eyeball Recon: Now press the TC Unbuttoned key. You're back in the open commander's hatch of tank #1. The facing diagrams (to the lower left inside the hatch) show you (the "C" value) and the hull (the "H" value) both

Find the Pause

Preliminary Recon Getting Your Bearings


For compatibility across a wide variety of computers and control mechanisms, standard terms are used throughout. See the Technical Supplement and Keyboard overlay to interpret each for your computer.

Controller: A two-dimensional control device, normally a joystick, mouse, or four-directional cursor keys.

Selector #l:The first (left) button on a joystick or mouse. On the keyboard it is always the Return or Enter key.

Selector #2: The second (right) button on ajoystickor mouse. On the keyboard it is always the Space Bar.

Keys: Each is referred to by an italicized name., which is shown on the keyboard overlay. In addition, a master list of names and keys for your computer is given in the Technical Supplement.

The Tank Gunnery Range

All tank platoons train on the same gunnery range. Static targets t raining is organized in the standard US Army fashion. You follow a path (counter-clockwise here) around the course, firing at targets.

Moving targets training has an "enemy" armored forced moving from the northeast (NE) to the southwest (SW) part of the course. Your mission is to engage and destroy them before they reach the range control building in the southwest corner.

You end a gunnery range training session by eliminating all targets or driving all your tanks off the east or west side range (i.e., off the edge of the battlefield).

Using the TC's Heavy Machine-gun facing east (i.e., C 90 and H 90). The turret will be cocked a bit left, facing northeast (T 35 to 40). This is because your gunner is on the job, keeping an eye on the most serious threat — that BMP-1 on the hill to the north!

Right now you're looking at things with the naked eye. As in real life, most of the interesting stuff is far away—it's time for binoculars. Press the Magnify Vision key. You get the same view through seven-power (x7) binoculars. Use the Controller to adjust the view up or down until you can see the horizon, then scan slowly to the right. That URAL truck should come into view soon (about C 105 on Facing Readout).

Now look left until your facing is the same as the gunner's. Because the BMP is farther away than the truck, it appears smaller in your binoculars.

It's important to get comfortable with seeing things on the map, then scanning the real countryside until you find them, or vice versa. There will come a time — very soon — that you'll see the enemy on the map. You'll want to find him with your binoculars or gunsights before he spots you!

Now swing your binoculars back to that URAL truck. Press Selector it 1 to open fire with your caliber .50 heavy machine-gun. This is the TC's (tank commander's ) weapon. Use the tracer hits as guides to adjust your aim until the truck explodes into a burning wreck.

Tf you wish, press the TC Buttoned key to close your hatch. You'll see that the machine-gun can still be operated. That's all there is to things at the TC's position. Everything else the TC does with orders to other crewmen. We'll get to that later.

Driving Our next job is to get onto the road. It runs right in front of the burning URAL and circles the gunnery range counter-clockwise.

First note the bearing to the burning truck. It's probably about 105'J.

Next press the Driver key to become the tank driver. Moving the Controller to the right swings the tank right, onto the bearing you remember (turn until the "H" on the Facing Digital Readout shows the desired bearing). You'll notice that the driver has no magnification option (pressing the Magnify Vision key does nothing). Hence I he need to note bearings — the driver can't, see very far because he's so close to the ground.

Press the Controller forward to accelerate. Moving it left and right turns the vehicle. Pulling back on the Controller slows down the tank until you can go in reverse. To stop quickly, release the Controller and press Selector #1 .

As you drive toward the burning URAL, the road comes into sight. Slow down and turn left onto the hardtop. Once on the road, don't accelerate to top speed.

Watch your speedometer and cruise along at half speed (ahout 40-50 kph). It's easier to steer smoothly around curves if you're moving at a moderate speed.

After a few curves youH cross a small stream. When you reach the other side stop and turn north ( turn until your facing is "0"). Now drive north with the stream at your left. You'll be moving toward a low ridge. Eventually you'll see a small splotch of color on the ridge — that's the BMP-1 you saw. Hit the brakes (.Selector til) to stop. It's time for a little gunnery practice.

Map of the Narfenauer Gunnery Range

Now climb up into the gunner's seat by pressing the Gunner key. The BMP-1 should be square in your sights: the crewman you took over from was watching it carefully!

Gunner's Primary Sight (GPS): Use the Magnify Vision key to try out the 3x and lOx options of the gunsight. Most gunners prefer using ten-power (lOx). Use the Controller to rotate the turret left and right, and to raise or lower the sight (which also raises or lowers the main gun and the coaxial machine-gun mounted beside it).

Now press the Smoke Grenade Salvo key. This fires six smoke grenades a few meters in front of your tank. You'll find your view blocked by the smoke. Press the Outside Tank key to see what's going on if you're confused, then press the Gunner key again.

To see through the smoke, use your thermal viewer by pressing the Night Vision key. Unfortunately, your laser rangefinder doesn't work through smoke, so you'll have to wait until the smoke dissipates before continuing. It takes just a minute or two. Press Night Vision again to switch back to daylight viewing.

Select Your Weapon: The Main-Coax key switches between the 120mm main gun and the 7.62mm coaxial machine-gun. Make sure the toggle switch is set to "Main".

Select Your Ammunition: The Sabot key instructs the gunner to load a round of armor-piercing (AP) "sabot" into the main gun. The HEAT key instructs the gunner to load a round of high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) into


Gunnery the main gun.

The Round-loaded Light is on whenever the gun is loaded. The light goes off while the gunner reloads. The gunner reloads after each shot and whenever you change the ammo type.

The Ammunition Switch shows which type of ammo is loaded (or being loaded) into the main gun. The HEP and WP markings are leftovers from the early-model I05mm-armed Ml —your 120mm-armed M1A1 cannot use those types.

Laser RangefindLng: When you're done experimenting, bring the sight back onto the BMP-1. Center the crosshairs on the middle of the vehicle and press Selector #2, not Selector #1. This "fires" your laser rangefinder at the target . The range in meters will appear in the sight. If you're too close, or you're aiming at the sky, youH get a flashing "0". Try aiming lower, to make sur e you're not lasing into the sky. If the result is still "0", try the ground beside the vehicle. If the result is still "0", you're within 200 meters of the target. Go to the driver's position and back up until the vehicle is just in sight, then return to the gunner's position and try again.

The Computer: When your laser finds a valid range (i.e., something other than a flashing "0"), it goes to the computer. The computer's range setting always appears in the Ballistic Computer Range Readout. The computer automatically elevates the gun an extra amount so that the shell will arc correctly to hit the target. This extra elevation is "superelevation". You don't see it happen; just trust the computer.

At short ranges shells don't need to arc: the path of the shell is virtually a straight line and there is no superelevation. This is termed "hattlesight" range. On the M1A1 hattlesight range for Sabot (AP or armor piercing) ammunition is 1500 meters. The hattlesight range for HEAT is 800 meters.

You can send the appropriate battlesight range to the computer whenever you want. Just press the Set Range to Battlesight key. Either 800 or 1500 will appear in the computer (provided the computer is still operating!). With these values the computer will put in no superelevation, causing the shell to fly directly toward the centerpoint on the sight. This is true at all shorter ranges as well.

Finally, if you're desperate, you can type a range number into the computer directly. The Set Range, keys do this, one digit at a time. On most computers you must hold down the shift key while hitting the appropriate number keys across the top of the keyboard (not on the numeric keypad!). To clear a manual entiy, type a series of zeroes.

Battlesight: If the computer is malfunctioning, or you just don't trust it,

  • Battles] ght Range -
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Battlesight & Long Range Fire

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you can switch it off and use just the battlesight. (i.e., the markings on the gunsight itself). The Computer I Battlesight key toggles between these options. The Com-puter/Battlesight switch on the gunner's control panel is labeled "Norm" for computer operation (computer use is the "normal" mode of operation), and "BAT" for battlesight-only operation.

Obviously, if you select battlesight and the range is beyond the battlesight limit, then you must add superelevation yourself, manually, by raising the sight an appropriate distance above the target.

You should use the computer in training and first battles. Later you can return to the gunnery range and learn to judge superelevation while using the battle-sight. This is a handy skill if the computer is knocked out. A broken computer shows "8888" in the Ballistic Computer Range Readout

Open Fire: Firing the main gun (or the coaxial machine-gun) is quite simple. Just press Selector #1.

To blast the BMP-1, make sure the you're set to Main (not coax), get the gunsight onto the target, lase for range (press Selector #2'), then fire (press Selector #2). Regardless of which ammo you use, BMP armor is so thin that any 120mm round will demolish it at a few hundred meters range. If you miss, try again. Not every shell flies perfectly.

You may have noticed a dark patch near the BMP. This is the position of infantrymen who dismounted (the BMP is an infantry-carrying vehicle). Most of the infantry are invisible on the ground, but their machine-guns or missile launchers are easier to find. Press Main-Coax once to switch to your coaxial machine-gun, and then open fire (press Selector #2).

Although you can use a rangefinder, it's often easier to watch the tracers hit and "walk" the bullets onto the target — the way you found and hit the truck earlier. HEAT ammunition is effective against infantry, but Sabot (armor piercing) has no effect.

Strong armor, high speed, and hitting the enemy first are the traditional Defenses defenses of a tank. However, your M1A1 has three additional devices to help you survive:

Laser Warning: Your M1A1 has aspecial laser warning light and alarm. This goes off whenever an enemy laser rangefinder strikes your tank. If you've been lased, it's likely that an enemy cannon shell or missile will be headed your way soon!

Smoke Grenade Launcher: These are mounted on your turret. Press the Smoke Grenade Salvo key to fire them in whatever direction the turret faces. You have only two (2) salvoes of smoke grenades per tank.

Engine Exhaust Smoke Generator: This device pumps raw fuel into your hot engine exhaust, which makes clouds of smoke come from the rear of the tank. Press the Exhaust Smoke On key to turn on this smoke screen, and the Exhaust Smoke Off key to turn it off. You have virtually unlimited amounts of engine exhaust smoke, but it only covers your rear.

You can observe the exhaust smoke effect by pressing the Outside Tank key and then using the Controller to rotate around your tank, seeing it and the smoke screen from all angles.

Instead of operating your tank personally, you can give orders to the crew and Orders they'll operate it for you. The various keys for these orders are summarized on the Vehicle Orders keyboard overlay. The best place to observe the effect of the orders is outside the tank. Press the Outside Tank key.

Movement Orders: First press the Advance Fast orders key (usually "A"). This moves your tank forward at maximum speed. Now press the Advance Slow orders key (usually "S"). This slows your tank to half its normal speed. Whenvour tank passes the burning BMP and almost reaches the crestline of the ridge (just behind the wrecked BMP) press the Halt orders key (usually "H"). If you went too far, press the Backup orders key (usually "B") to go in reverse, then order a halt.

Hull Facing Change: You can slew the tank's hull right or left. Press the Left Turn orders key (usually "L") to turn left, and the Right Turn orders key (usually "R") to turn right. Each press rotates the hull 30°. You can turn a tank when it's stationary or while it's moving.

Turret Facing Change: You can order the gunner to rotate the turret and look for targets in a certain direction. However, once he finds a target , he'll adjust the turret himself to track that target. Therefore you can direct the gunner to watch in some direction, but you can't force him to ignore a target he considers dangerous... unless you take his position.

Press the Engage to Front orders key (usually "E") to aim the turret straight ahead. This lines up the gun barrel with the hull. It's a VERY common order.

Press the Engage to Left Side orders key (usually "<") to aim the turret slightly to the left of the hull (about 45°). Press Engage to Right Side orders key (usually ">") to aim the turret slightly to the right instead. Press the Engage to Rear orders key (usually "D") to aim the turret to the rear; that is, facing directly over the engine deck.

Firing Orders: The Fire at Will orders key (usually "F") directs the gunner to open fire at any target he's been tracking. Try it. If the gunner's been tracking a target, hell shoot almost immediately. Then it'll take a few seconds before the loader has another shell in the main gun. Once the gun is loaded, the gunner will fire again if he's still got a live target.

The gunner normally uses Sabot ammunition. However, you can ask for either ammo type by pressing the Sabot or HEAT keys, or ask for coaxial machine-gun fire by pressing the Main-Coax key.

The Cease Fire orders key (usually "C") directs the gunner to stop firing. He'll continue to track and range targets, but he won't shoot until you give "fire at will" again.

Experiment with these orders. Go tothemapboard (press the Ma ¡¡board key), press Your Tank key, and zoom in somewhat on your location. Give various orders and watch the effects. Experiment giving orders from various positions inside the tank. You can literally "look over the shoulder" of the crewmen and watch them operate the vehicle!

You can issue vehicle orders from the Mapboard. In addition to all the normal Map Orders orders, there are two orders only possible when using the mapboard. To try these, press the Mapboard key, then press Your Tank, then press Zoom a few times until you can see the situation.

Turn To: This order lets you face the vehicle in any direction. Move the mapboard crosshairs to any spot NOT occupied by a friend or enemy, then press Selector #2. Your vehicle will turn and face the crosshairs. To confirm that this happened, order an "Advance" and see your tank move in that new direction.

Move To: This order lets you direct the vehicle to any spot on the map. Move the crosshairs to the destination. It must be a location NOT occupied by any friend or enemy. Then press Selector #1. Your vehicle will turn toward the crosshairs (like a "turn to" order) and move at full speed toward thatpoint. The vehicle moves in a straight line. If vou want to dodge around terrain, use a series of shorter "move to" commands.

You'll have seen and probably destroyed the T-55 and T-80 just to the mmm^^^^^m northeast, and perhaps the MT-LBuspotter and BTR-80 APC (armored personnel Taetics carrier) parked around the northern hamlet. Use your newfound command of vehicle orders to move up and destroy any of these still surviving. Watch at least some of the action on the mapboard.

A "hull down" position is vital in tank warfare. You'll practice it on a gentle hill Hull Down just south of the northern hamlet (where the MT-LBu and BTR-80 were parked). Move onto the northeast section of this low hill. Your goal is to get closc, but not over, the northern crestline. You want just the turret peeking over the crestline to the west (see the diagram). This conceals the lower part of your tank from the enemy, making you a difficult target.

Doing It: To get into a hull down position, guide your tank from the gunner's position. Press the Gunner key and rotate your turret (with the Controller) to aim in the direction you wish to travel. Next press the Turn to This Facing key. This lines up the hull with your turret. Now order Advance Fast. The tank moves in the direction your turret faces. To stop just order a Halt. To backup order a Backup. To change course, turn the turret to the new direction and press Turn to This Facing again. If the tank is already in motion, it turns smoothly and continues moving.

As you climb the hill, you'll see nothing but the crestline and the sky. As you get closer to the crestline, reduce speed to Advance Slow. As soon as you see terrain beyond the crestline order a Halt. A good driver stops quickly, keeping the hull behind the crest even though your turret is exposed.

To check if you're hull down, move to the driver's position (press the Driver key). If you can't see any terrain beyond the crestline, you're fine (when hull down

Side View

Area Blocked by Crestline


Hull-down Tank

Top View-

Side View

Area Blocked by Crestline

CreaUiiie the driver can't see anything!). If you can see terrain beyond, back up until it disappears behind the crest, then stop. Now switch back to the gunner's position to make sure the turret and gun-sights are still exposed.

In other words, when you're hull down, the gunner in the turret has a fine view of distant terrain, while the driver just sees crestline and sky.

Variations: Once you're hull down, check the mapboard and notice how far you are from the cre3tline. This distance varies depending on the steepness of the hill. The steeper the hill, the closer you must be to the crestline. Some hills are so steep that you can't depress the gun far enough to cover the slope on the other side!

Find hull-down positions on various hills. Get a feeling for what map position you need. Good tank commanders have a quick, accurate sense for hull-down positions. Also notice the blind spots caused by crestlines. Ifyou're not careful the enemy could outflank your position and make a surprise attack over the crestline beside you!

Platoon Orders Youcangiveorderstoyourentiretankplatoonaswellasjustyourtank.Infact, you probably noticed how the other tanks in the platoon raced around, trying to stay in formation with your tank.

Mapboard Command: The only place you can issue platoon orders is on the mapboard. Go there (press the Mapboard key), press Your Tank to put the crosshairs on your position, then press Next Platoon to bring up your platoon's data window. Repeatedly press Zoom to see the exact platoon layout. Meanwhile, in the lower part of the data window is a menu of possible orders for the platoon.

Platoon Movement, Facing & Firing Orders: When you issue orders with this data window present, you're issuing orders to the platoon leader, who then instructs the rest of the platoon to follow him. Many platoon orders are just like i ndi vidual vehicle orders. These include Move To, Turn To, Advance Fast, Advance Slow, Halt, Backup, Is ft Turn, Right Turn, Fire at Will, and Cease Fire.

In some cases the orders go to each individual tank. When you order Fire at Will, or Cease Fire, each individual vehicle in the platoon gets the order.

Platoon Formations: There are six standard battle formations for a tank platoon: Wedge, Vee, In-Line, Column, Echelon Left, and Echelon Right, illustrated on pages 60-61. When you issue the order to assume a formation, each tank moves to its appropriate spot. It doesn't matter which tank is the leader and/or which tank has your OP (described below), the tanks still go to their appropriate spots (for example, in a column the #1 tank is always at the front). If a tank is immobilized or destroyed, the formation has a gap there. Other tanks do not close up around a hole.

As shown on the platoon data window, formation commands are usually a two-key combination, such as Shift and "W" for Wedge formation. Shift and "C" for Column formation, etc.

Temporarily leave the mapboard and go to the driver's position. Adjust your facing until it is due north ("H 0" on the Digital Facing Readout). Then return to the mapboard.

Try each of the formations while watching the results on the map. Sometimes you must issue an "Advance" order before the formation "shakes out". Notice that the formation is "aimed" in the d i rection the leader faces when you issue the order. This is why it was useful to adjust the facing of your leader (#1) tank. Otherwise the formations would be aimed in some other direction, which is sometimes confusing.

Follow Me: Unless detached (explained in the next training run), everv vehicle in the platoon always follows the leader's tank. In fact, just turning the leader's hull causes a move: the other tanks reorient their facing and formation based on the leader's facing.

For example, press Mapboard and Next Platoon keys to get your platoon's data window. Now give an In-Line formation order. You'll see your four tanks spread out to your right and left. Now press the Your Tank key to get the data window for the platoon leader vehicle. Zoom the map to the maximum, which shows the vehicle positions clearly. Now give your tank give a Right Turn facing order. As your tank rotates to the right you'll see the other tanks readjust their positions to change the facing of the line.

Experiment with the vehicle orders. Watch how the platoon reacts to them. After you've watched on the mapboard. press Outside Tank and repeat the experiments.

To finish the run, ignore the last couple targets on the range. Instead, order Endinf the Run your platoon into a column and pull back onto the road and drive south to the southwestern road junction, where the Range Control office building is located. Take a right turn there (to the west) and drive off the road to the west.

The exercise ends when you destroy all targets or leave the battle area traveling east or west.

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