Aured - Did the Russians use the same fire and maneuver tactics with typical triangle tasking used by the US in WW II? No they did not.
Did they understand the basic principles of fire and maneuver, sure. But the whole army was organized differently, tasked differently, placed less reliance on close coordination with artillery fires, wasn't based on small probes by limited infantry elements to discover the enemy and subject him to more of those fires, etc. Basically there are a whole host of army-specific optimizations in US tactics that just don't apply.
The Russian force is divided into its mechanized arm and the rifle arm (called "combined arms" at the army level, but still distinct from mech). Each had its own specific mix of standard tactics. There are some common elements between them, but you should basically think of them as two distinct doctrines, each tailored to the force types and operational roles that type had. Conceptually, the mech arm is the arm of maneuver and decision and exploitation, while the rifle arm is the arm of holding ground, creating breakthroughs / assault, and general pressure. The mech arm is numerically only about a tenth of the force, but is far better armed and equipped, and controls more like 2/3rds of the armor.
The Front is the first element of the force structure that does not respect this distinction and is entirely above it, and Fronts are not uniform in composition, but always contain forces of both types (just sometimes only limited amounts of the mech type). From the army level down to the brigade level, the distinction applies at one level or another. Below that level it still applies but cross attachments may blur somewhat, but normally at all lower levels one has clearly either the mech or the rifle force type and uses the tactics appropriate to that type.
The army level is the principle control level for supporting elements and attachments - much higher than in other armies (e.g. for the Germans it was almost always the division level, with little above that level in the way of actual maneuver elements). The army commander is expected to "task" his pool of support arms formations to this or that division-scale formation within his command for a specific operation, depending on the role he has assigned to that formation. This can easily double the organic weapons of such formations, and in the combined arms armies, is the sole way the rifle divisions get armor allocated to them. What are we talking about here? Independent tank brigades and regiments, SU regiments, heavy mortar regiments, rocket brigades and battalions, antitank brigades and regiments, motorcycle recon regiments and battalions, extra pioneer battalions, heavy artillery formations from regiment up to divisions in size, etc. Basically, half of the guns and all of the armor is in the army commander's "kit bag" to dole out to his divisions depending on their role. A rifle division tasked to lead an attack may have a full tank brigade attached, plus a 120mm mortar formation to double its firepower at the point of the intended breakthrough. Another rifle division expected to defend on relatively open ground, suited to enemy tanks, may have an antitank artillery brigade attached, tripling its number of 76mm guns, and a pioneer battalion besides, tasked with mining all likely routes and creating anti tank ditches and other obstacles, etc.
Every division is given enough of the supporting arms to just barely fulfill its minimal standard role, and everything needed to do it better is pooled up in the army commander's kit bag, and doled out by him to shape the battle. Similarly, the army commander will retain major control of artillery fires and fire plans. Those are not a matter of a 2nd Lt with a radio calling in his target of opportunity, but of a staff of half a dozen highly trained technicians drafting a coordinated plan for days, all submitted to and approved - or torn up - by the army commander. This highly centralized system was meant to maximize the impact of very scarce combined arms intelligence and tactical skill, which could not be expected of every green 2nd Lt.
Within the rifle divisions, each level of the org chart has its own organic fire support, so that it does not need to rely on the highest muckety-muck and his determination that your sector is the critical one today. When he does decide that, he is going to intervene in your little corner of the world with a weight of fire like a falling house; when he doesn't, you are going to make do with your assigned peashooters.
The divisional commander is assigning his much smaller divisional fires on the same principles, with the understanding that those smaller fires become not so small if the army commander lends him an extra 36 120mm mortars for this one. The regimental commander may get his share of the divisional fires or he may get nothing outside what his own organic firepower arms can supply - but he gets a few 76mm infantry guns and some 120mm mortars and a few 45mm ATGs so that he can make such assignments even if he gets no help. Frankly though the regiment adds little - it mostly assigns its battalions missions, and the regimental commander's main way of influencing the fight is the formation he assigns to those component battalions. Formation in the very simplest sense - he has 3 on line to cover a wide front, or he has 3 in column on the same frontage to provide weight behind an attack, or the 2-1 or 1-2 versions of either of those. It is not the case that he always uses 2-1 on all roles. The most common defense is 2-1 and the most common offensive formation is column, all 3 one behind the other on the same frontage. Notice, this isn't about packing the riflemen in - those will go off in waves at proper intervals front to back. But it puts all 27 of the regiment's 82mm mortars (9 per battalion) in support behind 1 or 2 kilometers of front line.
The fire support principle at the battalion level is not implemented by having one of the component battalions support the others by fire from a stationary spot, with all arms. Instead it is a combined arms thing inside each battalion. They each have their 9 82mm mortars and their 9 Maxim heavy machineguns organized into platoons, and the "fire support plan" is based on those infantry heavy weapons. Battalion AT ability is minimal - 2 45mm ATGs and a flock of ATRs, barely enough to hold off enemy halftracks and hopeless against whole battalions of tanks. But that is because the higher muckety-mucks are expected to know where the enemy tanks are going to come and to have put all the army level ATG formations and their own supporting armor formations and the pioneers with their minefields and obstacles, in those spots.
Down inside the battalion, the same formation choices arise for the component rifle companies as appeared at battalion, and the usual formations are again 2-1 on defense and all in column on the attack. And yes that means you sometimes get really deep columns of attack, with a division first stepping off with just a few lead companies with others behind them, and so on. This doesn't mean packed shoulder to shoulder formations, it means normal open intervals 9 times in a row, one behind another, only one at a time stepping off into enemy fire zones. These "depth tactics" were meant to *outlast* the enemy on the same frontage, in an attrition battle, *not* to "run him off his feet in one go", nor to outmaneuver him. The later parts could be sidestepped to a sector that was doing better and push through from there. The last to "pancake" to the front if the other had all failed, would not attack, but instead go over to the defensive on the original frontage and hold. One gets reports of huge loss totals and those "justifying" the attack attempt when this happens - the commander can show that he sent 8/9ths of his formation forward but they could not break through. It is then the fault of the muckety muck who didn't gauge the level of support he needed correctly or given him enough supporting fires etc. If on the other hand the local commander came back with losses of only his first company or two and a remark that "it doesn't look good, we should try something else", he will be invited to try being a private as that something else, etc.
What is expected of the lower level commander in these tactics is that he "lay his ship alongside of the enemy", as Nelson put it before Trafalgar. In other words, close with the enemy and fight like hell, hurt him as much as your organic forces can manage to hurt him. Bravery, drive, ruthlessness - these are the watchwords, not cleverness or finesse or artistry.
What is happening in the combined arms tactics within that rifle column attack? The leading infantry companies are presenting the enemy a fire discipline dilemma - how close to let the advancing Russian infantry get before revealing their own positions by cutting loose. The longer they take to do so, the close the Russian infantry gets before being driven to the ground. Enemy fire is fully expected to drive the leading infantry waves to the ground, or even to break them or destroy them outright - at first. But every revealed firing point in that cutting loose is then subjected to another round of prep fire by all of the organic and added fire support elements supporting the attack. The battalion 82mm mortars, any attached tanks, and the muckety-mucks special falling skies firepower, smashes up whatever showed itself crucifying the leading wave.
Then the next wave goes in, just like the first, on the same frontage. No great finesse about it, but some of the defenders already dead in the meantime. Same dilemma for his survivors. When they decide to hold their fire to avoid giving the mortars and Russian artillery and such, juicy new things to shoot at, the advancing infantry wave gets in among them instead. And goes to work with grenade and tommy gun, flushing out every hole. The grenadier is the beater and the tommy gun is the shotgun, and Germans are the quail. Notice, the firepower of the infantry that matters in this is the short range stuff, because at longer range the killing is done by supporting artillery arms. The rifles of the most of the infantry supplement of course, but really the LMGs and rifles are primarily there as the defensive firepower of the rifle formation, at range.
It is slow and it is bloody and it is inefficient - but it is relentless. The thing being maximized is fight and predictability - that the higher muckety mucks can count on an outcome on this part of the frontage proportional to what they put into it. Where they need to win, they put in enough and they do win - hang the cost. It isn't pure suicide up front - the infantry go to ground when fired at and they fire back,and their supporting fires try to save them, and the next wave storms forward to help and pick up the survivors and carry them forward (and carry the wounded back). In the meantime the men that went to ground are defending themselves as best they can and sniping what they can see; they are not expected to stand up again and go get killed. That is the next wave's job. The first did its part when it presented its breast to the enemy's bullets for that first advance. The whole rolls forward like a ratchet, the waves driven to ground holding tenaciously whatever they reached.
That is the rifle, combined arms army, way of fighting.
The mech way of fighting is quite different. There are some common elements but again it is better to think of it like a whole different army with its own techniques. Where the rifle arm emphasizes depth and relentlessly, the mech way emphasizes rapid decision and decisive maneuver, which is kept dead simple and formulaic, but just adaptive enough to be dangerous.
First understand that the standard formation carrying out the mech way of fighting is the tank corps, which consists of 3 tank and 1 rifle brigade, plus minimal attachments of motorized guns, recon, and pioneers. The rifle brigade is 3 battalions and is normally trailing the tank brigades and holds what they take. Sometimes it doubles their infantry weight and sometimes it has to lead for a specific mission (force a river crossing, say, or a night infiltration attack that needs stealth - things only infantry can do), but in the normal offensive case it is just driving up behind something a tank brigade took, dismounting, and manning the position to let the tank brigade go on to its next mission. It has trucks to keep up, and the usual infantry heavy weapons of 82mm mortars and heavy MGs, but it uses them to defend ground taken. Notionally, the rifle brigade is the tank corps' "shield" and it maneuvers it separately as such.
The business end of the tank corps is thus its tank brigades, which are its weapons. Each has a rifle battalion organic that is normally physically riding on the tanks themselves, and armed mostly with tommy guns. The armor component of each brigade is equivalent in size to a western tank battalion - 50-60 tanks at full TOE - despite the formation name.
I will get to the larger scale tactics of the use of the tank brigades in just a second, but first the lowest level, tactical way the tanks with riders fight must be explained. It is a version of the fire discipline dilemma discussed earlier, but now with the critical difference that the tanks have huge firepower against enemy infantry and other dismounts, making any challenge to them by less than a full panzer battalion pretty suicidal. What the tanks can't do is force those enemy dismounts to open fire or show themselves. Nor can the tanks alone dig them out of their holes if they don't open fire. That is what the riders are there to do - kill the enemy in his holes under the overwatch of the massed tanks if and only if the enemy stays low and keeps quiet and tries to just hide from the tanks. That threat is meant to force the enemy to open fire. When they do, the riders drop off and take cover and don't need to do anything - the tanks murder the enemy. Riders pick their way forward carefully after that, and repeat as necessary if there are enemy left alive. This is all meant to be delivered very rapidly as an attack - drive right at them, take fire, stop and blast for 5 or 10 minutes tops, and move forward again, repeating only a few times before being right on or over the enemy.
So that covers the small tactics of the mech arm on the attack. Up a bit, though, they are maneuvering, looking for enemy weak spots, especially the weak spots in his anti tank defenses. And that follows a standard formula of the echelon attack.
Meaning, the standard formation is a kind of staggered column with the second element just right or left of the leading one, and the third off to the same side as far again. The individual tank brigade will use this approach with its component tank companies or pairs of companies, and the whole corps will use it again with its brigades.
The first element of such an echelon attack heads for whatever looks like the weakest part of the enemy position - in antitank terms - and hits it as hard as it can, rapidly, no pausing for field recon. The next in is reacting to whatever that first one experiences, but expects to wrap around one flank of whatever holds up the prior element and hit hard, again, from a slightly changing direction. This combined hit, in rapid succession, is expected to destroy that blockage or shove it aside. The third element following is expected to hit air, a hole made by the previous, and push straight into the interior of the enemy position and keep going. If the others are checked, it is expected to drive clear around the enemy of the harder enemy position - it does not run onto the same enemy hit by the previous elements. If the enemy line is long enough and strong enough to be neither flanked nor broken through by this process, well tough then. Some other formation higher in the chain or two grids over is expected to have had better luck in the meantime.
There are of course minor adaptations possible in this formula. If the lead element breaks clean through, the others shift slightly into its wake and just exploit - they don't hit any new portion of the enemy's line. If the first hit a position that is clearly strong as well as reasonably wide, the other two elements may pivot outward looking for an open flank instead of the second hitting right where the first did, just from a different angle. The leading element can pull up short and just screen the frontage if they encounter strong enemy armor. Then the second still tries to find an open flank, but the third might slide into reserve between and behind the first and second.
The point of the whole approach is to have some adaptability and flexibility, to be designed around reinforcing success and hitting weaker flanks not just frontal slogging - all of which exploit the speed and maneuver power of the tanks within the enemy's defensive zone. But they are also dead simple, formulas that can be learned by rote and applied mechanically. They are fast because there is no waiting for recon pull to bring back info on where to hit. The substance that needs to be grasped by the leader of a 2nd or 3rd element is very limited, and either he can see it himself or the previous element manages to convey it to him, or gets it up to the commander of all three and he issues the appropriate order downward. They are all mechanically applying the same doctrine and thinking on the same page, even if out of contact at times or having different amounts of information. The whole idea is get the power of maneuver adaptation without the delays or the confusion that can set in when you try to ask 3 or more bullheaded linemen to solve advanced calculus problems. There is just one "play" - "you hit him head on and stand him up, then I'll hit him low and shove him aside, and Joe can run through the hole".
There are some additional principles on defense, the rifle formation forces specially, where they use 2 up 1 back and all around zones and rely on stealth and field fortifications for their protection, while their heavy weapons reach out far enough to cover the ground between each "blob", and their LMGs and rifles reach out far enough to protect each blob frontally from enemy infantry. That plus deeper artillery fires provides a "soft defense" that is expected to strip enemy infantry from any tanks, or to stop infantry only attacks on its own. Or, at least, to make it expensive to trade through each blob in layer after layer, in the same "laying his ship alongside of the enemy", exchange-attrition sense. Then a heavier AT "network" has to cover the same frontage but starting a bit farther back, overlapped with the second and later infantry "blobs". The heavy AT network is based on cross fire by 45mm and 76mm ATGs, plus obstacles (watrer, ditches, mines, etc) to channel enemy tanks to the locations where those are dense. Any available armor stays off the line in reserve and slides in front of enemy penetration attempts, hitting strength not weakness in this case, just seeking to seal off penetrations and neutralize any "differential" in odds or armor concentration along the frontage. On defense, the mech arm operates on its own principles only at tank corps and higher scale, and does so by counterpunching with its offensive tactics, already described above.
Any resulting sanity loss from TRADOC's World Equipment Guide 2011. Despite all the goodies modeled in the game, I believe you'll be blown away by what else is out there on the OPFOR side of the house. Threats are conveniently ranked by tier, too.
WEG 2011 Vol 1 Ground Systems - APAN Community ...
Update for Vol 1. Please understand these are change pages and new ones only, not a revised book.
The heavies are date sensitive I set my date in scenario editor to September 30 1944 and had IS-1 and 2 available for guards heavy armour regiments . Opps didn't see it's quick battles then I have same issue no heavy armour regiment for Guards qb.