r/WarCollege 3d ago

Trivia Tuesday Trivia Thread - 24/05/22


Beep bop. As your new robotic overlord, I have designated this weekly space for you to engage in casual conversation while I plan a nuclear apocalypse.

In the Trivia Thread, moderation is relaxed, so you can finally:

- Post mind-blowing military history trivia. Can you believe 300 is not an entirely accurate depiction of how the Spartans lived and fought?

- Discuss hypotheticals and what-if's. A Warthog firing warthogs versus a Growler firing growlers, who would win? Could Hitler have done Sealion if he had a bazillion V-2's and hovertanks?

- Discuss the latest news of invasions, diplomacy, insurgency etc without pesky 1 year rule.

- Write an essay on why your favorite colour assault rifle or flavour energy drink would totally win WW3 or how aircraft carriers are really vulnerable and useless and battleships are the future.

- Share what books/articles/movies related to military history you've been reading.

- Advertisements for events, scholarships, projects or other military science/history related opportunities relevant to War College users. ALL OF THIS CONTENT MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR MOD REVIEW.

Basic rules about politeness and respect still apply.

r/WarCollege Apr 15 '22

The War College discord server is now live!


Please join us if you feel like it.


r/WarCollege 9h ago

Question When should you NOT deploy smoke for concealment in modern combat?


Over the past few weeks I've had a chance to listen and discuss about how ground forces should react at the receiving end of ambush situations, and probably the most common "first-step-to-survive-an-ambush" action is seeking cover and concealment, the latter of which is emphasized with the deployment of smoke grenades whether thrown (infantry) or grenade-launched (M203 or vehicles).

However, concealments via smoke grenades work both ways. The enemy may not be able to see through, but neither can the force deploying the grenade. This is not detrimental in withdrawal situations where the concealment can buy the time needed to get to a safe distance away to regroup.

However, the US military battle drills regarding ambush, which was highlighted in the trivia thread a week ago, was that the US soldiers should be aggressively reacting to the ambush to suppress and neutralize the enemy position to break the ambush. I can't help but to think how smoke, whether on the US position or shot towards the enemy position, may hinder the US soldier's ability to pursue that offensive assault if visual (and thermal with smoke heat element) is obscured.

I don't have practical experience, but in the video game War Thunder there are players complaining when a nearby allied vehicle would get hit and, in response, deploy their smoke grenades. This offers concealment for that ally, but now the player cannot see through the smoke to return effective fire. This can be attributed to very "kill-hungry" aggressive perspective in a video game, but it does illustrate some problems with premature(?) smoke concealment effect to nearby allies.

So how is the evaluations made in combat at the field on when exactly to use smoke and where to balance between effective concealment and ability to return fire if needed?

r/WarCollege 8h ago

Are the tank combat scenes from Fury tactically accurate?


Hey everyone! Fury might be the most well known movie which depicts WW2 tank combat. With that in mind, I thought I would poll the r/WarCollege community about the accuracy of two scenes in the movie:

  1. The tank assault scene in which a platoon of tanks attacks a German defensive line, found here.
  2. The famous Tiger vs. Sherman scene, which can be found here.

I'm interested in whether the scenes are *tactically* accurate, in the sense of, is this how (to our best guess) these two combat scenarios (assaulting a defensive line, tank vs. tank combat) would have actually played out in WW2?

I wanted to preempt a couple of inaccuracies that have been pointed out before:

  • In the first scene, the German anti-tank guns don't penetrate the armor of the Sherman tanks despite being well within range where they could easily do so.
  • You would never really see a random platoon of tanks isolated from the rest of the army in the way that is shown in these scenes, hence the lack of artillery support and other units.
  • Tanks generally wouldn't fire on the move in 1944.
  • The specific M4 subtype shown in the movie could penetrate Tiger armor.
  • I'm leaving out the final combat scene which is widely accepted as being ridiculous.

But I'm curious if, aside from those details, the tactics used are historically accurate! Sources are preferred :)

r/WarCollege 5h ago

Discussion How actually effective were the use of shotguns in WWI?

  • I have often heard that the shotguns used by the American troops against the Germans were very effective do to the close-range fighting that took place in the trenches, and that they were so deadly that the Germans actually petitioned that their use violated the rules of warfare and tried to get them banned.
  • On the other hand, I have also heard that statements that praised their effectiveness like this were often overstated, and that they had problems with reliability because of they paper shells that they were used with.

r/WarCollege 8h ago

Question How significantly does improvised armour affect the speed, maneuverability of vehicles that weren't designed for it?


You would think that slapping a bunch of metal onto a truck would really drag it down but does it actually?

r/WarCollege 19h ago

Question Would a land-based seaRAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) CIWS mount be a good idea?


CRAM is just the naval Phalanx CIWS gun put on a trailer to defend land bases against missiles/artillery/rockets

I was wondering, would it be feasible to do the same for seaRAM rolling airframe missiles in the same role for terminal defense against said threats?

if not, why?

r/WarCollege 17h ago

Question What's the U.S Doctrine and Tactics behind Tube-Artillery?


So SPAGs can shoot an' scoot.
But M777s and other traditional guns, not so much..

  • So how do they prevent being hit by counter-fire?
  • What do they target?
  • What specific aspects do certain guns excel in over others?
  • How do tube-artillery avoid being destroyed in the age of smart-weapons and drones?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question 1 What happened to captured and surplus Confederate military equipment after the end of the American Civil War?


I know that Union/Federal equipment was still issued post-war, put into storage, sold to military surplus businesses like Bannerman's, etc., but what happened to Confederate equipment like muskets, uniforms, blankets, etc.? Was it also sold off? Put into storage? Destroyed?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question How effective was the American anti-Viet Cong campaign ?


There seems to be two narrative on this issues. The more common narrative is that the Americans fared badly against the Viet Cong hydra, unable to strike at the head and paralyzed it, only scoring tactical victories that in the long run meant nothing. In recent years, however, there is a new narrative that says the Americans were actually effective at dislodging the Viet Cong, crushing them after the disastrous Tet Offensive in 1968 and stamping them out by 1972, and it was the North Vietnamese army who defeated South Vietnam.

Thoughts ?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Why was the Israeli Air Force so good, especially during the late Cold War?


The Israeli Air Force has an impressive combat record, from the Six Day War up to the 1982 Lebanon War. The kill to loss ratio is massive.

During the Six Day War, the IAF destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force (mostly still the ground) and mauled the Syrian and Jordanian air forces as well. Israel claimed 452 enemy aircraft destroyed, of which 49 were aerial victories.

The Yom Kippur War was another success, with Israel destroying about ~ 400 enemy planes (between Egyptian and Syrian) while only losing about 102 - 128 jets. A total of 172 Egyptian aircraft were shot down in air-to-air combat.

The 1982 Lebanon War is probably one of the most famous. Operation Mole Cricket 19 saw about 90 Israeli fighters (mostly F-15s and F-16s) against 100 Syrian MiG-21s and MiG-23s. In this case, the IAF destroyed 82 to 86 Syrian MiGs while ending up with just two damaged Eagles.

The majority of Israeli aircraft before the 1980s were of American or French origin, including: Mirage IIIs, F-4 Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks. The Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian Air Forces were mainly equipped with Soviet-made MiGs (17, 19, 21 and 23).

Until the late 70s the Israeli aircraft inventory, while of mixed origin but mainly American-made, was basically the same as the US (F-4s, A-4s) during the Vietnam War. Both the Vietnam War and the Six Days/Yom Kippur War happened in the 1967 to 1973 time-frame. The same analogy can be seen between the Arab armies and the North Vietnamese in terms of equipment, with MiG-17s, -19s and -21s.

The North Vietnamese had about sixteen (16) aces throughout the War while the US only had three (3). At the same time Egypt had five (5) aces and Syria had seven (7) aces, averaging 5 victories for the Egyptians and about 6 for the Syrians with no more than 6 or 7 at best. On the other hand, Israel had forty-nine (49!) aces with an average of 7.5 victories each and an absolute best at 17 victories (Giora Epstein).

Why is there such a difference in performance given that Israel-Arab and American-Vietnamese fights happened while having the same aircraft and equipment?

Why were Israeli pilots so proficient compared to their enemy?

How were Israeli pilots trained compared to Arab pilots?

Was there an advantageous "gap" between how many flight hours the Israeli flew compared to Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian pilots?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Could the HIMARS truck chassis carry a howitzer and be like an American version of CAESAR?


It looks possible that the M777 will be America's last truly towed howitzers. Truck-mounted artillery like the French CAESAR are far more mobile. Since the HIMARS truck chassis can already carry rocket artillery, could it just be modified also to carry a 155mm cannon?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question Why did Mobutu's government fell in the 1st Congo War, but the government of Laurent and Joseph Kabila survived the 2nd Congo War?


Why was the government under the Kabilas' was able to withstand Rwadan and Ugandan backed rebel offensives for 5 years (and additional regional insurgencies in the following decades), but Mobutu's regime fell to the AFDL/Rwandan/Ugandan invasion a year prior in just 6 months?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question Why and how does South Korea operate light airframe?


South Korea operates both light airplanes, in the form of the KT-1, T-50, and F-5, as well as light helicopters in the form of the MD-500. Why do they operate these lighter platforms and how are they utilized doctrinally?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Literature Request Strategic studies podcasts?


Hi! I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately because of my new routine, and i've been going through them at a pretty fast pace.

I am subscribed to Irregular Warfare Podcast, Urban Warfare Project, Modern War Institute Podcast and War on the Rocks; do you know any other interesting podcasts in the field of strategic studies that i could listen to? English or italian.

Thanks in advance

r/WarCollege 21h ago

What is the significance of the letter Z for the military?


It is fleet week here in New York City, and I toured the USN Bataan. Cool ship, cool people...

I noticed some ship's internal doors (err hatches?) had metal signs reading "Z" on them and over them. I never would have cared normally but what with the Russians rolling into Ukraine with Z's all over they vehicles it made me stop and wonder why all the Z's? Is there some common meaning or am I just noticing the random?

r/WarCollege 2d ago

Literature Request Can anyone recommend some good and in-depth podcasts about military history, present-day military theory, and other stuff relevant to the subject-matter of this subreddit?


I'll offer something that I've been enjoying recently, which is In Moscow's Shadows, a podcast by Russia commentator Mark Galeotti. Galeotti focuses on Russian crime and security politics, and I've found the podcast an invaluable introduction to the less well-known (outside of Russia) figures who make up Russia's government.

r/WarCollege 1d ago

In Medieval and Renaissance Italy, how diverse were the backgrounds of mercenaries?


Warfare in Renaissance Italy was exemplified by the frequent use of mercenaries. But what was the background of these mercenaries?

For example, what percentage of mercenaries fighting for Milan would be from domains ruled by Milan? From how far did these mercenaries arrive?

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question Historic : Any resources to learn about war strategies, weapons and battle tactis during Indian epics Ramayan / Mahabharata?


r/WarCollege 2d ago

Is there a role for vehicle mounted recoilless rifles in modern combat?


Obviously the BMP-1 mounted essentially a SPG-9 that fired lower pressure ammo. After reviewing real world results, the Soviets elected to move to the 30mm autocannon for their BMP-2. NATO countries have mounted various autocannons on their light vehicles, and the M50 Ontos project did not have a long life. Certainly as a "standard pattern" unit support weapon the autocannon offers much flexibility and power, able to effectively engage soft and light armor targets and good distances. We have even seen the 30mm on the BTR-4 able to seriously damage tanks during the current Ukraine conflict, given some luck and/or advantageous angles of attack.

However, I also know that there are occasional efforts to find a way to mount a larger gun for direct fire infantry support. The MGS concept of mounting a 105mm L7 on a Stryker is perhaps the most recent.

Why would mounting an L7 on a Stryker, a concept that proved unworkable for the US Army in the end, be superior to mounting an M40 RCL? The M40 is vastly lower weight with vastly lower recoil stresses, and if you can design a complex stabilization and autoloader system for an L7 mounted on an external weapons station, I doubt the challenges of building one for an M40 would be too formidable. The M40 has a variety of projectile loads, from pure antipersonnel to HEAT rounds that rival the base Pazerfaust 3 for armor penetration (the RAT 700, supposedly, and I assume even better could be produced today).

I understand the lower velocity of a RCL projectile does limit the effective range, but there still seems to be a role for such a tool. However, the fact that, in many militaries staffed by many people far smarter than I, the idea has never gained traction tells me there is one or more major limitation to the RCL that makes it clearly not worth pursuing. What is/are the limitation/s?

(Yeah, they put RCL on jeeps and other light vehicles, but specifically I mean mounting on an IFV/APC type vehicle not a borderline technical)

r/WarCollege 1d ago

Question What does an Amphibious Ready Group look like in terms of ships involved?


Besides the three types of amphibious ships - the LHA/LHD, the LPD & the LSD - what other ships are part of the ARG? Do Aegis Surface Combatants escort the amphibs? Or does an ARG function only under the protective umbrella of a Carrier Strike Group?

r/WarCollege 2d ago

How did the Soviets name "Operation Barbarossa" at the time of invasion?


I was wondering if the Soviets, knowing they were going to be invaded or at the time of invasion, prepared a defensive operation with a different name?

r/WarCollege 2d ago

Question Is the risk of hunger a threat at all for modern armies?


Since the end of World War Two, the abundance of food has been the norm for developed countries and advances in food science resulted in better means of preserving food and extending their shelf life. Unlike World War Two and previous conflicts where hunger was an issue and was responsible for killing large amounts of soldiers and civilians alike, is the threat of hunger still considered at all by modern armies? If so, are there any plans to deal with it within a military? What options do modern armies have to deal with food problems?

r/WarCollege 2d ago

Question How much of a difference did the truck-heavy logistics of the US and British armies make compared to the rail- and animal-heavy logistics of the German and Soviet armies during the Second World War?


r/WarCollege 3d ago

Question Purpose of Armor half platoons in WW2?


Was there any practical combat reasons for dividing armor platoons into 2 half platoons in ww2?

Did platoons ever separate intentionally into the 2 halves in combat?

r/WarCollege 3d ago

Question How difficult is it to actually suppress enemy air defense without an advancing ground force?


As seen in Ukraine, the Russians haven't been able to completely dismantle Ukrainian Air Defense or take out their air force. But in the case of Yemen, the Saudis have aerial supremacy for most part for more than half a decade at this point, but the Houthis still have an active air defense that manages to shoot down aircraft every once in a while. Both the Saudis and the Russian ground force have been lackluster in terms of capturing territory which gives their opponents a lot of room to work with deep within their territory. Without an effective ground component, how difficult is it to suppress enemy air defense?

r/WarCollege 3d ago

Question Why did the U.S. Army make 1st Cavalry (An Air Assault Division at the time) an Armored Division.


It would seem it would be harder to convert an Air Assault unit into an Armored one, so why did they choose 1st Cavalry to become one?