Version 1 / 4min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 325 views
Hull down is the term used to describe when a vehicle (typically a tank) uses the terrain in such a way that only the gun/turret is visible to enemy forces. This provides the enemy with a smaller target, protects the more vulnerable parts of the vehicle from enemy fire, and allows the vehicle to fire more or less unhindered. The illustration below shows a Slammer MBT in a hull-down position behind a small rise. From this location, the tank had perfect visibility of a major enemy avenue of approach and had a clear line of fire down that approach without having to expose anything more than the turret to enemy return fire.
A Slammer utilizing a hull-down position to cover an enemy avenue of approach
- Hull down positions can be used by any vehicles that have weapon systems atop them - even a light vehicle with a RWS can benefit from a hull-down position.
- In the best-case scenario, a tank can utilize a hull-down position when firing, and then retreat back below the cover (i.e. down the slope that provides the 'hull-down' possibility in the first place) to total protection during the reload before popping back into a hull-down position for the next shot.
- Whenever possible, a tank should not pop back up at the same location it used last - a new one should be picked each time to prevent any enemies from zeroing in on their next exposure point.
Remember that a hull-down position is relative to the location and distance from the enemy. The greater the distance of the engagement, the more likely you can get into a hull down position even in a small elevation decrease. "Turret down" is when the entire tank is hidden behind the terrain or an obstacle.
Unbuttoning is possible in most armored vehicles from the driver or commander position. It simply involves opening and standing in the hatch. This is very useful for keeping a high level of situational awareness and should be used whenever the situation allows for it. The main drawback is that many of the unbuttoned crew members are highly vulnerable to enemy fire due to the high-profile stances they take. However, if you exercise good judgment and only unbutton when it's safe to do so, you should be fine and will definitely benefit from the increase in situational awareness.
- Make sure that you have your turn-in/turn-out keys bound to something readily accessible - "stance up" and "stance down" are great for this.
- Having these keys bound makes it much easier to duck at a moment's notice, and generally increases the ease and usefulness of turning in/out.
Note that in some vehicles a commander may have to turn out to employ a machinegun on the vehicle. For vehicles that require the TC to stand in his hatch to use the machinegun, a careful assessment must be made as to when and where it is safe to do so.
"Jockey left" or "Jockey right" are commands that a vehicle commander can use to have his driver move the vehicle laterally left or right behind cover without exposing the larger and weaker side profile to enemy observation or fire.
Jockeying is accomplished by backing the vehicle up to mask it from frontal fires, then turning left or right and driving a short distance laterally from the previous position. Once a suitable distance has been reached, the vehicle reorients towards the threat and advances up and back into a hull-down position from which it can resume engaging the enemy. This allows a vehicle to continually appear at different locations before firing, making it hard for the enemy to predict where it will appear and thus making it more survivable.
Tank Buddy Cover
Armored vehicles can use their impressive hardiness and engine power in some rather unconventional ways. Foremost among these is the concept of 'buddy cover' as applied to vehicles. A tank or IFV can push an immobilized or destroyed vehicle hulk in front of it, albeit at a reduced speed. This can be used to shove disabled vehicles out of the way, but can also be employed as additional protection against frontal enemy fires. A knocked-out piece of armor pushed along in such a fashion can absorb enemy fire and shelter the pushing vehicle from damage – forcing the enemy to aim more precisely to hit any exposed portions of the pushing vehicle.
UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP) are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)