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Discussion in 'World At War 85 Series' started by Dijon, May 7, 2018.
Does anyone know when the US Army shifted from 5-tank platoons to 4-tank platoons?
As part of the "Division 86" reorganization plan, which was planned to be complete by 1986 so most units were converted before that.
It generally happened when units transition from M60A3 tanks to M1 Abrams tanks. As units received the new tanks they transitioned to the new organization. The tank battalions also went from three tank companies to four tank companies during the same process.
But the transition didn't happen all at once, even within units, it usually took a few months to sort out. Some M1 Abrams units maintained the 5-tank platoons for a few months, some M60A3 battalions transitioned to four tank companies before they received Abrams, etc...
Typically a Germany based M60A3 tank battalion went through a 2-3 month process. They cleaned & turned in their old tanks & equipment, deployed to Grafenwoher, received new M1 Abrams & equipment, conducted gunnery training, qualified gunnery, deployed to Hohenfels, conducted a long field training exercise.
Thanks, Tony, that was exactly what I was looking for.
Tony is correct. Also, keep in mind that many national guard tank battalions retained the M60A3 for sometime. At the time, national guard and reserve units constituted a sizable portion of the TPFDD and operational plans' task orgs in Europe. See records for the annual Reforgers and their requisite POMCUS equipment.
If you're interested in the Division 86 changes, google the transition to Active Defense (circa mid-70's) and then the Airland Battle Doctrine. The ground equipment and aircraft ultimately used in the 1991 Gulf War had been designed and procured to fulfill NATO's Airland Battle plan in Europe. It is essentially the heavy armored equipment the U.S. continues to use today. You can likely find an old copy of FM 100-5 here http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/ref/collection/p4013coll9/id/893
Regarding the M1 Abrams, if you are interested in the quick main gun change to M1A1, take note of the armor upgrade (frontal) to the T-64 circa 1974 (?).
Thanks, DigitalRommel, that's a really good point about the NG battalions. Thanks for the help.