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Probably the Best Armoured Brigade in the World? - Brigade Units PDF Print E-mail
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News & Blog - Blog
Friday, 31 December 2004 12:57
Article Index
Probably the Best Armoured Brigade in the World?
Brigade Units
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GHQ N81 IltisBrigade Support Units

Surprisingly the Swedes still rely on towed artillery whereas every other nation uses SP artillery wherever possible. In the Swedish case this may be explained by the terrain, vast forests, lakes and hills, where the road network is the only way to move. The 155mm FH77B can be towed at 70kmh on roads, which is faster than any conventional tracked SPG. Similarly the engineers and half of the AA is in softskins, ideal for road movement but not for cross-country in open warfare.

The Recce Company is quite strong, and well enough equipped to take on any other recce vehicle other than a main battle tank. Even then the 40mmL70 FSAPDS round and Carl Gustavs can damage MBTs if they get close enough or even knock them out from the flanks.

The Artillery Battalion is rather weak at only two batteries, but the OPs and battery command posts are fully armoured in CV-90 series APCs, which means the OPs can keep up with the mechanised forces in the front line. The gun itself can move under auxiliary power at 8kph on its own, allowing quicker into and out of action, and limited redeployment ability to avoid counter-battery fire. The gun has a range of 24km with standard HE rounds, 30km with extended range HE, and can fire Tt screening smoke, illumination rounds and dual-purpose bomblet (ICM) as standard, (it has assisted power loading to help the 6 man crew achieve 6rpm if required for short periods).

Shells under development in the 1990s were the BONUS round carrying 3x 120mm TGSM (Terminally Guided Sub-Munitions) bomblets with IIR seeker and self-forging fragment warheads, and the BOSS guided anti-armour shell with IIR seeking and HEAT warhead, operating similar to the STRIX guided anti-armour projectile. Neither of these is known to be in service although a wargames scenario might allow limited use.

Anti-aircraft defence at brigade level relies on the RBS-70, the Swedish equivalent of the Sa-14 or Redeye, but using laser-beam riding to a maximum range of 5km. Whilst virtually immune to countermeasures such as chaff, flares and ECM, it has to track the target to impact, so it is not considered the most accurate of the manportable systems. A comparison halfway between the Sa-7 and Stinger is about right. At 80kg for the whole system it is not really manportable, but the jeep mounted ones can be dismounted and set up on their tripods if supporting defending infantry in cover.

The Lvrbv-701 is a fully armoured tracked SP version on old remanufactured tkv-103 chassis, so can keep up cross-country with the combat battalions. It has an effective IFF system, and the Giraffe radar in each company HQ is truck mounted on an elevated platform, allowing it to be used to detect aircraft from within woods or from behind buildings. There is an RBS-90 about which I have no data, this presumably is an upgraded RBS-70 which can be fired from the same launchers.

The engineers are combat engineers, and are trained in laying anti-tank mines as part of the defensive layout, as well as the usual digging and demolition activities.

Brigade Combat Units

This is where the Swedish Armoured Brigade becomes a little different. Tank companies are small at ten tanks, as per German and Israeli philosophy, but each has one integral bridge layer and an ARV. At least 10x Leopard 2 Buffel ARVs were on order in 2000, so the Centurion ARVs can be replaced by these. The bridgelayer is unusual, in most armies they are held at brigade or division tevel and handed out when thought needed. Being held at company level means they are more instantly available, increasing the company's mobility cross-country.

Each tank company is paired with a mechanised company in the new CV-90-40 MICV, which has the best gun of any APC in existence, being able to penetrate 20cm of vertical armour at 1500m with FSAPDS. It's armour will be 23mm proof frontatly at least, possible 30mm APDS proof over 500m, but does not appear to be ceramic layered like the Bradley. Nor does it appear capable of being fitted with reactive armour blocks or spaced ceramic layered boxes like the Warrior. The infantry squads are well armed with two MG3 GPMG. one Cart Gustav and 6x AT-4 disposable LAW per squad.

It is possible that the Carl Gustav now have the 132mm oversize warheads available that have some chance against ceramic and reactive armours of the more recent Soviet tanks. The most remarkable feature of the Mechanised Battalion is the Mortar Company, a full 16 tubes in four batteries, enough for one battery per company. This means that each company commander has his own personal battery, or the battalion commander could on exceptional occasions order a full 16 tube barrage. The ammunition train must be quite large for this amount of mortars, perhaps wargamers should force the purchase of extra ammo trucks is using points systems. The mortars themselves are not towed but carried disassembled in the back of their trucks, so would take a couple of minutes to set up. With four batteries available the battalion can advance leap frog style with 2 batteries moving and 2 set up in fire support quite easily. The force multiplier that these add is not just the sheer number of tubes per battalion.

Each mortar can also fire the 120mm STR1X guided anti armour projectile, similar to the British Merlin but with a bigger warhead. This has a range of 5km, or up to 7km with extended range booster added. This converts the mortar company in each battalion into another anti-tank unit. Each round has to be programmed before launch after insertion into the mortar. So although this mean they could not be salvo fired like HE rounds at 15rpm per tube, even so, each battery could in theory fire 4x STRtX every two minutes at a known enemy armour concentration. Imagine the effect if art 16 tubes were firing, with an unlimited supply of STRtX rounds, from a defensive position with pre-registered terrain targets, covering a pass into which an observed armoured regiment has been funnelled. This is a wargamers wet dream, with the Leopard 2A5s moving in afterwards to finish off the mess.



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