I’m planning on hosting a game this coming Sunday to get in some practice using the rules with the latest (well, 1990s) in high-tech American kit. This will be the first time we’ve tried combined arms ops with the M1 Abrams and the M2 Bradley so I’m keen to find out quite how lethal they are in Arc of Fire.
The Abrams has fantastic armour, it’s fast and it gets all kinds of plusses when firing. The Bradley has fire-power coming out of its ears with a 25mm chain gun (a high rate-of-fire autocannon) and long-range TOW anti-tank guided missiles.
An interesting tactical note is that we will be using the early 1990s Bradley squad organisation. This has a six-man dismount element that doesn’t breakdown into mutually supporting fire teams. The contemporary doctrine assumed that the Bradleys would provide fire support while the dismounts manoeuvred.
This is all very well in theory and the Bradley has plenty of firepower but in the very nature of things terrain that suits infantry often doesn’t suit armoured vehicles. It’s not difficult to conceive of a situation where the infantry enter terrain where the Bradleys can’t easily or safely follow.
Another factor in the big game will be ammunition supply. TOW missiles are bulky (and expensive) so the Bradley doesn’t carry many. To give them the best chance of hitting you need to stand off and engage enemy armour at a distance – not particularly compatible with providing close support to the infantry.
So despite having huge firepower and the ability to engage enemy forces at long range, Richard Baber (our NATO commander) will have some very interesting tactical choices to make.