Visualizing Battle Spaces with Armored Brigade

Almost nine years ago, I wrote about the so-called "battle spaces" and how not being observant of them can ruin your day.

FM 17-15 (Tank Platoon) has an interesting section about the so-called "battle spaces":
... battle space is the three-dimensional area in which the platoon can acquire enemy forces and influence them with effective fires.
Is a simple concept, but four aspects of it are really important:
  1. You must understand that anything in your battle space is likely to shoot back.
  2. You must also be very attentive to the fact that battle spaces change as a fighting vehicle or tank moves.
  3. You must always be very careful when a battle space expands.
  4. Enemy assets can and will move within your battle space.

While war gamers tend to get a very good grasp of number 2 and 4 -generally by using overwatch-, number 3 is the source of too many casualties for the newbie tactician.

I want to illustrate this with an animation. A section of BMP-2s is moving along a road surrounded by a wooded area ... An estimation of their battle space is shown as a clear, non-shaded area.

Panels 1 through 3 show a changing battle space as the vehicles move west. Assuming a relatively low speed of movement, both vehicles can cover the small battle space. As the vehicles move along, in panel 4 you will see a moderate increase in the area of the battle space. In panel 5 there is massive increase in the area of their battle space. More places from where you can be shot from. These guys better have eyes on their newly acquired battle space.

Many approaches are available for alleviating the impact of battle space expansions. One that easily comes to mind is from infantry fighting in close quarters, the well known "slicing the pie", which allows to acquire new battle space at your own pace. Other examples will require a separate blog entry and analysis, like the universally adopted armored tactics of moving like the water and avoid cresting a hill with just one vehicle. In other words, avoid high terrain which makes you liable of a huge battlespace.


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