ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

ANZAC Leopards
Engaging The Enemy

With Garry Wait
“Orright, you lot. Quieten down, keep it to a dull roar alright?“

The room full of Australian Lieutenants, Captains and Majors smiled nervously. Dressed in their olive green zipped up tanksuits, they listened expectantly for the briefing on operations under NATO command.

It had been a shock for 1 Armoured Regiment to transition from being on exercise with 1 Brigade and British Army Of the Rhine to a real war.  

“You blokes are our Troop and Squadron commanders for ops here in Free West Germany and we are here to once again save the old world from themselves. I know everyone says we are ‘Koala Bears’ and therefore a protected species but this time it’s for real.”

Groans and an occasional wolf whistle greeted the old criticism of Australian tank crews. If fighting spirit alone was enough to get tanks committed to combat, no one would ever doubt the determination of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps.

“Welcome to the Reservists who have been called back to the Queen’s Colours. Gentlemen, your contribution is valued. This means we have full four tank troops although we only have two full squadrons, not the three understrength ones we had in training. This does give us a small advantage over the Brits with their three tanks in a troop. Although they get the Chiefs and Stillbrews to go head to head with the Soviets, at least we have mobility on our side.

ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

Listen up well, we have been poring over battle reports to get an understanding of how Ivan fights and how we can get the most out of our German sports cars, the Leopard AS1.

Firstly, you need to understand very well that our purpose here isn’t to tangle with enemy heavy armour frontally. 

Do this and you WILL lose, gentlemen. Make no mistake, our krupp steel is best spelled C-R-A-P because that’s what you will do when the heavy stuff starts coming in.

We here in 1 Armoured Regiment need to think of our mounts as scout vehicles and much as it annoys me to say it, we are here to support the grunts of 5/7 RAR. We need to use our number one weapon which is always our MTU diesels. That awfully good looking 105mm main gun is secondary to getting your vehicle in and out of trouble smartly. 

Once you have gotten your AS1 Leopard tank troop of four vehicles into action, look at using the best things about your vehicle. If you do run into enemy tanks, pray they are the older – but still formidable – T-55. We can deal with them frontally. Better rates of fire, better gun and better stabilisers work in with better training so you will hit them easier than they hit you. Speed and shock of firepower will see them off as burning wrecks. Same thing goes if you run into export model T-72’s. Soviets call these T-72M and they have a nastier gun and armour than we do but same issues with slow rate of fire and poorer training. Make the most of this.

Where you can really run into issues is with the Soviet T-72s and their older brother, the T-64.  These two can be a handful and I recommend you act like a wolfpack. Hunt in groups and work around flanks. Nothing, absolutely nothing will stop a 105mm Sabot round to the flank. Tell your diggers to listen for Blitz commands and make the most of the stabilisers, giving you more than the usual tactical speed. Don’t forget that Sabca fire control system is a little beauty and will put rounds on target if you treat it right.  

If you do run into sizeable numbers of Soviet T-64’s or T-72’s, fall back on the 2 Cav Assault Troopers and their Milan antitank missiles. Our NATO friends have issued us with plentiful firing posts and ammo so there is plenty to go round.

Leave it to the grunts to deal with the nasty stuff, they can at least dig in and weather the return fire. And they like having something to complain about too.”

The assembled officers sniggered like school boys at this cheap shot.

ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

“As we all know, we were able to embarrass mightily the Poms with their Chieftains on exercise. All the armour in the world on the front and we took them in the rear. It will be the same with Ivan’s heavy armour. Don’t hit them frontally if you can go in the flanks. You can outdistance them and on the move, you WILL outshoot them. Make the most of the tracks and the loader and gunner will keep up.

Which brings me to our real targets of opportunity and how to make the most of them?

In a word, ‘Crunchies’. Anything unarmoured or badly armoured is a valid target. Rocket trucks, missile crews, grunts, armoured cars and APC’s.

ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

Army manuals see us as being there to break a hole in the enemy’s defences and you will note plenty of HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) and Canister rounds. Yes, yes I know we call Canister “Splintex” but we do have some of our American and British observers with us today and I want to make it clear to them. Use these whenever you see the enemy setting up a missile team. Our 105’s are better equipped with ammo to deal with the enemy’s massed foot than our NATO colleagues. We know what a well-aimed 105 can do to an infantry attack, just like we did in Vietnam.

Your tanks have range tables to throw High Explosive shells out to long range if you need to. That’s what the Laser range finder is for. Adjusted fire can reach out to 8,000 or more metres according to the training pamphlet but for this environment you can shoot almost as far as you can see. Any time you see the enemy setting up to give our grunts some curry, give it back to them – tenfold. Remember you can outrange their RPG’s and as long as you avoid their missile teams, you can get away with dishing it out.

ANZAC Leopards: Engaging The Enemy

Those nasty little tubes of Spigot or RPG death that the Soviets like churning out don’t respond well to high explosive doses from our 105mm L7 guns. Don’t waste MG3 ammo, use the main gun if they are hiding in a foxhole or a gasthous.

Of course, if you DO come across people in the open, let rip with the “gat”, both the coax and the AA gun. If I catch anyone using WP (white phosphorus) on Ivan’s grunts, there will be trouble.  Save it for the T-64’s you run into frontally, they don’t see well in a cloud of smoke!  HE is the key to prevention, it will put off their spigot teams nicely.

Remember too how nimble your Leopards were in training at Shoalwater Bay? Scaling Mount Courage in your Big Cats? You will love how well they can overcome even the famous German Black Forest. Go bush bashing when you can. You will surprise Ivan by turning up behind him and nail the bugger where he least expects it.

Always remember at all times, your training and being hard to hit will count for more than relying on your armour. That’s why the drills you focus on in peacetime are so important, because you do have the tools to take down anything the Warsaw Pact can throw at you, it just takes some Aussie ingenuity. Be a switched on Digger and make the most of the firepower you have.

In conclusion, your Aussie Leopard AS1 units should think in terms of the following advantages and disadvantages and follow the Ten Commandments listed below:


  • DO keep moving constantly. Speed is your strongest asset. Speed is life, as any V8 driver will tell you
  • DO look to use stabilisers. Having 14”/ 35cm movement, albeit with +1 to hit, is golden. 
  • DO go for flank shots, not the front.
  • DO use your Leopard AS1 where they excel – digging out enemy missile and infantry teams. Splintex gives you a huge advantage over many bigger and nastier tanks.
  • DO remember your smoke. If you can’t be sure of killing something (think how Mistaken Target could save an enemy team) then chuck some WP smoke on enemy missiles to blind them.

Do Not

  • DO NOT tangle frontally with nasty enemies such as T-64, Leopard II, M1 or Chieftain. Remember, nothing, absolutely nothing will survive an L7 105mm Sabot round to the flank!
  • DO NOT send one troop of four tanks if you could send two or three troops. Your tanks need to be concentrated and delivered as a team. Individually a Leopard is weak, as a group, unstoppable.
  • DO NOT sit back and engage at long range against enemy unless you can practically outrange them. Your armour is not intended to keep out more than small arms. Remember this and you will succeed.
  • DO NOT waste your Leopards with futile charges through open ground. You have an excellent Cross check, don’t be afraid to use terrain to your advantage.
  • DO NOT forget you are part of a bigger team. The Assault Troopers of 2 Cav and the grunts of 5/7 RAR can deal with bigger tanks using their Milan, freeing you to go after the crunchies, their infantry support. If you think you are in the same league as an M1 or a T-64 you will be disappointed. Your infantry are happy to take up the challenge and back your efforts.


Last Updated On Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by Chris at Battlefront