CHANGES IN ANTITANK WARFARE Ever since modern tanks’ first appearance on the twentieth-century battlefield, infantry forces and their armored counterparts have been engaged in a sustained arms race with one another. Improvements in antitank weapons led to armor better able to withstand them and vice versa, with pendulum swings marking the temporary advantage of one or the other. In recent years, the balance rested firmly on the side of well-trained infantry with both advanced guided missiles and unguided rockets. The greatest of these capabilities are fire-and-forget, guided, top-attack missiles—the premier model being the American-made Javelin. This weapon allows a single soldier to target and destroy even the most heavily armored main battle tank with an almost guaranteed kill rate, at great range and with minimal risk.
These development also result in a number of changes in tank tactics, as illustrated in the below.
Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict had pointed up a number of weaknesses in the actual tactics on the use of armor on the battlefield, and the Russian military officials have made a number of changes in the tactics of using tanks on the battlefield, including two new elements of tank combat, which appeared on the basis of the experience of the war in Syria: tank carousel, and tank trousers.
Each of the new elements has its own characteristics, which take into account the technical and moral backlog of Russian tanks such as T-72. For example, a “tank carousel” it is Non-stop shooting, when three, six, nine or more tanks move uninterrupted in a circular motion, one pummeling the enemy, the other moving to the rear and reloading, the third preparing to enter firing position, and so on. The “tank carousel” can be used when it is unknown what kind of armament the enemy has at his disposal – tanks, anti-tank guided missiles or grenade launchers.
Another element is “tank trousers” which involves tanks alternating fire between two trenches, without staying in one position for more than a few seconds. The tank enters the trench, fires, kicks into reverse and moves to the next. In this case, enemy anti-tank weapons don’t have time to react.
In an era of local conflicts without clear front lines, the idea of large tank armies facing off along vast fronts has become a thing of the past.