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Aured

Soviet Doctrine in WW2 - 1944

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I'm looking for any explanation of Soviet doctrine - from strategic to tactical level - in the 1944-45 era. I can't find a single thing - the only uselful documents I can find are a Soviet infantryman's manual (1942) and explanation of Deep Battle doctrine. The former must have been updated by operation Bagration and so cannot really be trusted to give a detailed explanation of the tactics the Soviets used, and Deep Battle is detailed but does not explain tactics at the Battalion/Company level. 

 

Basically all I have for Battalion sized attack tactics are: split into larger-than-necessary groups for each objective. Attack weak points. Rush infantry while tanks and artillery/rockets support. Clear objective with SMG's and flamethrowers. Rinse and repeat. If you fail to take the objective, only massive losses in manpower excuse you from the Gulag.

I have no idea if they even used fire and manuver, two-up-one-down... the basic US tactics.

 

Is this right? Can someone please point me at some documents that could help? I understand that all "doctrine" is a guideline rather than a set of rules, but if I'm going to have to come up a general strategy, I would like to know more about Soviet military thinking of the period. Thanks all.

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Aured, hi,

What you are after is:

Handbook on USSR Military Forces.

War Department Technical Manual TM 30 – 430.

November 1945.

Covers Red Army ’44 – ’45. Not surprisingly.

It was produced using the archives of General Reinhard Gehlen, Chief of Foreign Armies East. He and his staff, and truckloads of documents surrendered en masse to the Americans at the end of WWII. The producers of the current German series of books covering WWII, Germany and the Second World War, describe all those memoirs from the East Front as “fiction...” even the best of them. But not the work of General Gehlen and his men.

He faithfully recorded all that was learnt about the Red Army. All their manuals and how they behaved in practice. Tactics, organisations and such.

All the best,

Kip.

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You can search on the Natziger Series of paperbacks from a retail point of view. I am sure there are others of interests in print.

 

Also, right here at BF:

http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=21&flypage=shop.flypage_bfc&product_id=83&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26&vmcchk=1&Itemid=26

These forums are also a good starting point.

Kevin

 

PS I have TM- 30 - 340. Perhaps you made a typo Kip?

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Kevinkin, hi,

“PS I have TM- 30 - 340. Perhaps you made a typo Kip?”

Strangely.. no.. it’s definitely TM 30 – 430 I mean. You could easily have been right, I could very easily make such a mistake.. but not today.

All the best,

Kip.

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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.

 

That's it, in a nutshell.  I hope this helps.  

Edited by JasonC

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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.

 

Excellent post, Jason. I have just one question. As I understand it, there were also mechanized corps as part of the Soviet mech arm. What was their role, compared to the tank corps? Or am I mistaken and mechanized corps served as supplements to the rifle arm?

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Apocal - the mechanized corps fought like the tank corps, it just had a tank regiment with each of 3 motorized rifle brigades, plus a 4th brigade that was pure tank.  

They still fought like the tank corps fought.  They had as many tanks as a tank corps, with 10 infantry battalions in the formation rather than 6, and a marginally more infantry heavy mix, as a result.

 

This did not change their basic tactics.  It just meant where one of the sub formations was barreling ahead, it would sometimes have a thinner cutting edge of tanks and a longer trailing "shield" column of trucked infantry.  Though the tank corps portion would often be "on point" with exactly the same techniques as in the tank corps.  In practice, the extra infantry gave the formation greater staying power after taking losses in extended action, and a superior ability to hold the ground it took.    

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Jason, excellent post. Can you also explain what was wrong with the Red Army early in the war? Like some of the problems that were functionally holding it back during the Barbarossa days. My understanding of it is that attempts to ape western armies were crippled by the lack of effective leadership (the purges). Also that the western-style doctrines the Russians were attempting to copy were the same ones that the Germans utterly steamrolled over and over again. 

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There was nothing wrong with Russian interwar doctrine - which incidentally was not copied from the west. In so e ways it was the best in the workd, particularly the understanding of the need to sequence multiple large scale operations, the logistics limits on them, what the role of new mechanized forces was going to be, and the like.n it wasn't as good as the German doctrine in tactical details, combined arms principles, and some of the German maneuver tradition going back to Moltke the elder, but nobody else had that stuff down, either. Tbey had their internal political fights over it - the party basically feared that proper modern doctrine made generals tech heroes in a manner they feared was essentially tied to fascist politics, which was both paranoid and stupid, and they destroyed the brains that had come up with it in the purges, set back training and adoption etc. but the military acadamies had taught it to a fair portion of the senior officers, especially the younger ones who would rise to top commands during the war itself.

The more basic problem on the doctrine side was that it was still just academic theory. It had not had time to reshape the army along the lines of its thinking, and where it had, it had done so in impractical ways, for lack of serious experiment and training in full scake exercises and the like. The army could not implement the mobile part of the doctrine. The officer corps in particular, its lower ranks especially, was not remotely up to the standard of the Germans or even of the professionals of the western armies. In training, education, time in grade, staff work, etc. Bravery they could do, obediance they had done, about all there was to work with. Yes that reflected the purges, but also the scale of the force and its rapid expansion to that scale, its reliance on reserve mobilization (necessary given that scale in any event), lack of wartime experience, etc. at most, a small cadre had some battle experience from Spain or the brief fight with Japan - and the party tended to distrust those with the former experience. The Finnish winter war had been a disaster and showed how unready the force was, and didn't correct that, though a few of the officers involved got started off its lessons.

The two biggest weaknesses were combat service and support (CSS, more on it below), by far the biggest, and poor combined arms handling at the tactical level, particularly all cooperation with armor. They compounded each other, with weaknesses in the former forcing departures from book doctrine on the latter, that then failed. Behind the CSS failures lay inadequate staff ability, the officer management bandwidth to conduct the mech arms orchestra flawlessly. This was made worse by overly large mech formations with an org chart that wasn't streamlined enough and put extra levels of command between the key deciders and the execution, by lots of obsolete equipment (think early 1930s era T-26s, flocks of them) in a poor state of readiness, by inadequate facilities to keep anynof it working, and by lack of realistic large scale training (as opposed to unit level training or carefully staged set pieces).

On the org aspect, a prewar mech corps had two tank divisions, each with its own brigades, and those tank heavy. It had 2000 trucks at TOE, and 600 to 1000 tanks, depending on the makes. There were dozens of these. A huge portion of the tanks were old T-26s and the types were mixed, as were the truck types. To get a formation like that to move over a limited dirt road net from point A to point B with gas for everyone where and when they needed it, without traffic jams and without roads blocked by broken down tanks, with repair and spare parts to get the fall outs moving again, and then exoecting them to arrive with all arms together and coordinated, in communication with each other across weapon types, form them up into fighting combined arms teams, and go in to a schedule to hit the enemy in a well coordinated way - all proved beyond the capacity of one schooled muckety muck and his staff of four high school graduates with a pack of index cards, a phone and a couple of pencils. I exaggerate slightly for the sake of clarity.

What actually happened is they didn't manage it, one column got stopped by a T-26 regiment running out of gas, holding up 200 trucks behind, carrying the infantry expected to be part of the show; the other tank division got a brigade of newer BTs to the jump off point and looked around for all the folks supposed to attack with them, waited three hours, finally heard they wouldn't be ready until tomorrow morning, thought "that's crazy, this battle will be over by then", and drove down the road unsupported and attacked off the line of march as best they could. After scaring the German front line infantry, lost in the defended zone, they blundered onto a gun line and lost a bunch of tanks. They try again with minimal changes an hour or two latter and the Germans are readier for them than ever, and fails. The next day, an infantry battalion detrucks and tries, but expects the BTs to lead and do things for them; the try and fail, the infantry presses, and gets killed too. Nobody has heard from the artillery, which is 20 miles away in a traffic jam.

The CSS failures are huge by western or even later war Russian standards. A third of the tanks fall out on a road march. There are not planned arrangements to pick them up and fix them. The front moves and a road is cut. A full brigade worth of tankers get out and walk, in retreat, leaving their broken down hulks just sitting there. Another brigade follows the wrong dirt track, runs out of gas, and the trucks with the gas went someplace else, and by the time it is even sorted out whar did happen - let alone what has to happen next - there are Germans across the intersection between them.

Up at the operational level, a full mech corps hits the German lines, two days of confusion are reported, the corps is now a brigade, and the Germans resume their march. The Russian officers report losing their tanks to swamps (the swamp monster, I call it, because it appears over and over in these excuses). It fiesn't help that the Luftwaffe is strafing the columns making traffic jams worse, and German signals intel locates every radio with a range of more than a few miles and has told the Luftwaffe and army artillery where the Russian HQs are within hours, whenever they switch the set on. So soon the officers are trying to coordinate this sprawling mess with dispatch riders, who do or don't arrive with orders hours old that were issued without a clear picture of everything in the first place, and were nonsense on stilts two hours later. Then every muckety muck tries to clear it all up with their own orders, and the regiment commander has one order from brigade and another from division and a third (12 hours okd) from the original corps plan, but his (tiny) staff is telling him he can't physically do that anyway, because support X hasn't cone up and route Y is clogged and there is only enough gas to reach Z.

Now decide. You have five minutes.

It all goes pear shaped pretty quickly.

Some of this clears up as the decreipt T-26s drop out of the force. Some as the screwiest commanders ger killed. Sone as people learn their jobs better. But above all, the army reduces its ambitions and goes to tank brigades and gets thise working, the recreates division sized tank corps with a much flatter structure only after those are working. The types get more uniform, with the reliable and cross country capable T-34 becoming the workhorse. They only go back to trying to run tank armies after all those are working properly, and they use thise only with a lot more planning, and only a handful of them (with lots of independent division scale tank corps working for combined arms armies instead). The staffs get bigger and much more professional, and it all gets real and realistic. Just, a ,ot of poor slobs get killed in the meantime.

FWIW.

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In regards to your first post (Russian mech and rifle arms in the attack), what is the German response to these tactics? It seems they are continually presented with a damned if you, damned if you don't situation. Obviously this is the desired end result of any military tactic, but were Germans were able to successfully respond and hold the line, even if it was locally or for a limited period of time? If so, was this a result of a specific German response or more just the break down in synchronization between the Russian supporting arms?

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The basic German defense doctrine was the one they developed during WW I to avoid being defeated by local concentration and artillery suppression, and it remains the basic system the Germans used in the east.  That tactical system has been called the denuded front, in comparison with practice near the start of WW I of lining continuous front line trenches with solid lines of riflemen.  Instead it was based around a few fortified machinegun positions, concealed, and cross fired to cover each other rather than their own front, in an interlocking fashion.  The idea being to make it hard to take out just a piece of the scheme.  Most forces were kept out of the front line to let enemy artillery "hit air".  Wide areas were covered by barrage fire and obstacles (in WW I generally just wire, in WW II plenty of mines as well).  Barrages and obstacles have the feature that they multiple in their effectiveness the more then enemy sends; his local odds does not help him, it hinders him or raises his losses instead.  The MG and outpost network is meant to defeat penetration by smaller enemy numbers, while barrages crucify their masses if they overload those.

 

Then the main body of the defending infantry defends from considerably farther back, and executes local counterattacks into portions of the defensive system reached by the attackers.  The idea is to spend as much prep barrage time as possible deep in underground shelters, and only come up and forward to mix it up with enemy infantry after they are mixed in with your own positions and hard for the enemy to distinguish and coordinate fires on them etc.  This also was meant to exploit the confusion that even successful attackers were generally in, after crossing the outpost and barrage zone described above.

 

That is an effective enough system, but it isn't foolproof.  The thinner front and separated strongpoint positions it uses are vulnerable to stealthy penetration, night infiltration e.g., rather than frontal attack on a large scale.  The local counterattack part of the doctrine can be taken to extremes and get rather expensive for the defenders, resulting in mere brawling inside the defender's works, and just exchange off with the more numerous attackers.  What it really relies on is the enemy being defeated by the artillery fire scheme and ranged MG fire over most of the frontage, so that the counterattack and brawl stuff only happens in a few exceptional spots, where the defenders have a safer route to the front, better information about where the enemy is, what routes are left clear of obstacles, and the like.

 

The main line of resistance, once hit, generally tried to solve the fire discipline dilemma by firing quite late, when the attackers were close enough to really destroy them, not just drive them to ground.  Harassing mortar fire and a few "wait a minute" MGs were all that fired at longer ranges, to delay the enemy and prevent them being able to maneuver easily, mass in front of the defenders safely, and the like.

 

At a higher level, the division's artillery regiment commander, divisional commander, or regional "Arkos" tried to manage the larger battle by choosing where to intervene in the outcoming attack with the weight of divisional fires.  They didn't distributed those evenly, or according to need.  Instead they would have a plan of their own, to stop the Russians cold in sector B, and just make do in sectors A and C.  They divide the attack that way.  Then shift fires to one of the break ins, and counterattack the other one with the divisional reserve.  The basic idea is just to break up the larger scale coordination of the offensive by imposing failure where the defenders choose, by massing of fires.  They can't do this everywhere, but it can be combined with choices of what to give up, who pulls back, what the next good position is, and the like, as a coordinated scheme.  The function is "permission" - you only get forward where I let you get forward, not where you want it.  If the enemy tries to get forward in the place the defenders "veto" in this way, they just mass their infantry under the heaviest artillery and multiple their own losses.

 

I should add, though, that those doctrinal perfect approaches sometimes could not be used in the conditions prevalent in parts of Russia.  In the north, large blocks of forest and marsh are so favorable for infiltration tactics that separate strongpoints with only obstacles in between just invite penetration every night and loss of the position.  The Germans often had to abandon their doctrine in those areas, in favor of a continuous linear trench line.  And then, they often didn't have sufficient forces to give that line any real depth, but instead had to defend on line, manning that whole front as best they could.  In the more fluid fighting in the south, on the other hand, the Germans could and did use strongpoint schemes.  The Russians got significantly better at night infiltration as a means to get into or through those, as the war went on.

 

Against Russian armor the German infantry formations also had a harder time of it.  In exceptional cases they could prepare gun lines with enough heavy ATGs well enough protected and sited to give an armor attack a bloody nose, but normally they were not rich or prepared enough for that.  Keep in mind that the Russians were quite good at tank infantry cooperation in their mech arm - by midwar that is, early they hadn't been - but lagged in the development of tank artillery cooperation.  Which is what tanks need to deal with gun based defenses efficiently.  The German infantry formations themselves tried to just strip tanks of their infantry escorts and let the tanks continue.  The Russians would sometimes make that mistake, and send the tanks deeper on their own.  That put them in the middle of a deep German defense that would know more about where they were and what they were doing than vice versa.  But that is really an "own goal" thing - if the Russian tanks just stayed with their riders and shot the crap out of the German infantry defenses, the Russian doctrine worked fine.

 

On a deeper level, the Germans relied on their own armor to stop Russian armor.  Brawling frontally with reserves, often enough, sometimes aided by superior AFVs.  Sometimes by counterattacks that sought to cut off the leading Russian spearheads, and prevent their resupply (with fuel above all).  That worked less and less well as the war went on, however, because the Russians got better at keeping multiple threats growing on the map, gauging defender strength correctly and waiting for all arms to consolidate gains, and the like.  There was also just less of the fire brigade German armor later in the war, and it had less of an edge in tactical know-how.

 

There are also some weaknesses of the Russian doctrine that the Germans tried to exploit.  It can be quite predictable.  You can let them succeed at things to draw them in, in a pretty predictable way.  The Russian mech way of attacking was at its best against infantry defenses, or vs armor against heavily outnumbered defenders.  If they pushed too hard at a strong block of armor, they could get a brigade killed in a matter of hours.  If you have such an asset, you can try to string the two together - let them hit a weak spot precisely where you want them to come on hard into your planned kill sack.  They aren't doing a lot of battlefield recon to spot such things, they are mostly relying on speed to create surprise.  If you let them think they just made a brilliant and formula perfect break in, they are apt to drive hard trying to push it home, and not to suspect that its is a trap.  But a lot of things get easier if you have a Tiger or Panther battalion lying around, don't they?

Edited by JasonC

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On a deeper level, the Germans relied on their own armor to stop Russian armor.  Brawling frontally with reserves, often enough, sometimes aided by superior AFVs.  Sometimes by counterattacks that sought to cut off the leading Russian spearheads, and prevent their resupply (with fuel above all).  That worked less and less well as the war went on, however, because the Russians got better at keeping multiple threats growing on the map, gauging defender strength correctly and waiting for all arms to consolidate gains, and the like.  There was also just less of the fire brigade German armor later in the war, and it had less of an edge in tactical know-how.

 

This in particular had to be a huge dilemma for the Germans. Tanks are very good at mutually destroying each other. The war revealed tank battles tended to result in lots of casualties on both sides. This was not the sort of trade that usually worked for the Germans, especially since the Panzer Divisions were usually lacking in recovery vehicles, prime movers, and overall frontline repair capability. To say nothing of the irreplaceable losses in experienced crews. Yet the Germans could not just allow Russian armored spearheads to overrun the line and simply rout the front. Ultimately the Panzers would have to be committed to a defense sooner or later, a role for which they were not ideally suited as they were exposed to constant attrition. 

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Maybe getting a little off topic, but what would the German strong points look like and what kind of terrain would they exploit, in areas outside of what you already mentioned? Would they be at the company level, with the company's machine guns upfront and the platoons several hundred meters back? Would a Russian attack try to take out one MG Strong point or attack on a general front to find the weakness?

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Maybe getting a little off topic, but what would the German strong points look like and what kind of terrain would they exploit, in areas outside of what you already mentioned? Would they be at the company level, with the company's machine guns upfront and the platoons several hundred meters back? Would a Russian attack try to take out one MG Strong point or attack on a general front to find the weakness?

 

He wrote a post about that a few years ago:

 

Apocal - strongpoint defense is a scheme for defending a whole sector, as well as a single element within that scheme, the strongpoint proper.

As a scheme, the idea is to have large portions of the frontage covered only by obstacles and ranged fire (both direct and artillery registrations), with at most a thin screen of outposts and listening posts as a supplement to those, as the overall "linear" defense. No even spreading of the available force along the entire line.

Then strongpoints act as anchors between sectors only covered in the manner described above. They are themselves typically layered in 2-3 belts or lines, but are discontinuous. A blob here, nothing for 800 meters, a blob there, nothing for 600 meters, etc. Then, behind the 800 meter gap but 1200 meters farther to the rear, another such blob.

The usual formation strength assigned to a single strongpoint is an infantry company. But that varied. A reduced company because some forces were detached to the outpost line would be the most common variation. Or a reinforced company (extra platoon), in the middle of a battalion defensive scheme, say, meant as an "overage" that could act as a reserve. But think company as the baseline amount.

The second or third line "tiers" could be formed around artillery or mortar formations with some infantry attachment, or could be looser, less fortified positions (assembly areas, rally points) for mobile reserves (tanks, mechanized infantry, etc). Again these would be more likely in the last tier of the strongpoint layers.

The core of any strongpoint is some form of range firepower that can reach out to either side to cover the obstacle barriers between that strongpoint and the next along the line. The strongest schemes would overlap the effective ranges and lines of sight from two adjacent strongpoints, to that both could "bear" with their ranged weapons on any force assaulting either one, let alone a force trying to pass between them.

That ranged firepower component could be as limited as a pair of 82mm mortars and a few heavy machineguns, or as elaborate as a PAK, field artillery, or light FLAK battery. Or an infantry gun section, you get the idea. Something bigger than rifles and personal side arms. There would also be FOs in each strongpoint, with authority to call down div arty fires on registration points in front of their perimeter, and between the strongpoints, in dead ground areas for direct fire especially (a low draw, a large wood, etc).

The forward defense screen is an obstacle belt. Mines were the favorite form, with uneven density, some heavy enough to actually block passage, some just light enough to deter it by looking like the previous. Dead ground areas could be mined without being covered by direct fire. Wire obstacles, on the other hand, needed to be covered by direct fire. Natural terrain would be incorporated here - water barriers, steep terrain, bogs e.g.

Next string a screen of small outposts, fire team size, along the frontage. These would be around 200 meters apart, the idea being listening post coverage at night, and close small arms coverage during the day, overlapping from one to the next. These might have covered routes to them, or might just have to be manned or relieved in darkness. One log bunker, or a fire team in a foxhole, is all we are talking about here. Overall they are a "tripwire", early warning system, and meant to prevent the whole position from being scouted or penetrated without a full attack. There wouldn't be more than a single platoon deployed on such duties (at any one time that is), even for a full battalion scheme.

Ok, that covers everything about the scheme and why it is expected to work, other than the actual strongpoint itself. Those are typically all around defense, but might be weaker in a rear direction away from the enemy. They use platoon sized sub-forts, linked by communications trenches. Plus heavy weapons positions, best case in log bunkers, sometimes open firing pits (e.g. for mortars, infantry guns, or howitzers). A mortar position toward the rear but within the strongpoint is a typical addition, perhaps a second rear position that serves as a company CP, or a reserve point.

The platoon subforts and company CP area each would get a dugout, a deeper fortification with overhead cover in which to shelter from artillery fire. Depth of a cellar or more, wood ladders to get out of them, tunnel rat living. Usually only one per platoon subposition. Then radiating from that, short communication trenches to firing trench positions (fire step, embankment with sandbags, that sort of thing), which let the riflemen and LMGs cover one of the approach routes to the strongpoint itself. Their main mission was direct defense of the strongpoint proper against enemy infantry assault. Each subfort might also have associated heavy weapons (HMGs at a minimum) that had a role in the strongpoint to strongpoint, open areas fire scheme. These heavy weapons could also help defend that part of the strongpoint from direct attack, but that was not their main mission. Interdicting the obstacle barriers and unmanned open ground to the next strongpoint over on their side, was.

A typical configuration of one of these platoon subforts would be a semi circle of firing trench looking over say the east face of the overall strongpoint, one log bunker HMG to the left and 20-30 yards behind that semi circle, communication trenches of all of those to a central dugout, which could also hold a local reserve squad to "repel borders" by remanning a threatened point or "grenading up the trenches". The perimeter of the platoon subfort itself might be covered by wire obstacles at 50 yards or so - meant to be far enough away to prevent approach within grenade-throw of the fighting trenches, without crossing the wire. But otherwise close enough that small arms from those trenches would be murderous to anyone trying to make such a movement. The layout of the individual subfort would however confirm to the nature of the ground, sighting opportunities, etc.

Last elements of the scheme... It was expected that in quiet periods, the enemy might try to infiltrate through the gaps e.g. at night, so one of the active parts of the defense would be occasional night patrols of squad to platoon strength into the uncovered areas, to see what was moving around out there.

And second, when actually under attack, it was expected that some strongpoints in the whole scheme would be hit harder than others, while others would be left alone or rapidly defeat their local attackers. Reserves could be gathered from those, and from the second tier strongpoints if unmolested so far, to retake any lost portions of the defensive works by a local counterattack. The ideal was to organize and launch those as soon as possible after it was learned a position was lost, or even when it was still just threatened. The hope was that the occupiers would be so disorganized and lack battlefield situational awareness at the conclusion of their fight into the strongpoint itself, and could thus be temporarily vulnerable to a sharp counterattack (up communications trenches / covered routes wherever possible), even by numerically shoestring forces.

With that idea in mind, all the defense weapons and sighting schemes included someone or other having the job of being able to plaster friendly positions that fell to the enemy, to cover such attempts by fire. The company HQ position might e.g. be "reverse slope" to the original enemy start line, but have observation to the platoon subforts, for example. Artillery or mortars from adjacent strongpoints could also have the range to those positions, to drop fire on them if they fell, whether to support a counterattack or just to pin down the intruders and keep them from getting any further.

If many of these tactics sound quite WWI trench warfare -ee, that is because they were developed in the last 2 years of that war, basically. Formations tended to be thinner on the ground in WW II, and the gaps between strongpoints wider. But the internals of each followed WWI lessons, that were still sound on a small unit level.

Does that give a clear picture of the tactics?

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Maybe getting a little off topic, but what would the German strong points look like and what kind of terrain would they exploit, in areas outside of what you already mentioned? Would they be at the company level, with the company's machine guns upfront and the platoons several hundred meters back? Would a Russian attack try to take out one MG Strong point or attack on a general front to find the weakness?

 

You might find this paper on the origin and maturation of German defensive tactics during WWI interesting: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/lupfer.pdf. In general, the Germans learned that any strong point identified prior to an attack is getting suppressed and heavily attrited by the artillery preparation. So a strong point needs to balance the properties of being invisible to long range reconnaissance and covering enough ground to be of use. Reverse slope defense is of course ideal for both of these purposes. But where there is no reverse slope, the defender might be obliged to distribute pockets of machine guns and snipers where ever they can be hidden. All of this is done in order to hinder the attacker's attempts to identify clear weaknesses and strengths.

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Aured, hi,

What you are after is:

Handbook on USSR Military Forces.

War Department Technical Manual TM 30 – 430.

November 1945.

Covers Red Army ’44 – ’45. Not surprisingly.

It was produced using the archives of General Reinhard Gehlen, Chief of Foreign Armies East. He and his staff, and truckloads of documents surrendered en masse to the Americans at the end of WWII. The producers of the current German series of books covering WWII, Germany and the Second World War, describe all those memoirs from the East Front as “fiction...” even the best of them. But not the work of General Gehlen and his men.

He faithfully recorded all that was learnt about the Red Army. All their manuals and how they behaved in practice. Tactics, organisations and such.

All the best,

Kip.

Hmmm interesting stuff...here's a link I found

 

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/do/search/?q=corporate_author%3A%22War%20Department%20(USA)%22&start=0&context=52045

 

Hey, Kohlenklau,

A Combat Mission CONVENTION!!! What a great idea...at a pub...of course...I mean what better place to argue the merits of BTR vs BMP or T-34 vs Panther.

 

Hmmmm

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Handbook on USSR Military Forces.

War Department Technical Manual TM 30 – 430.

It was produced using the archives of General Reinhard Gehlen, Chief of Foreign Armies East. He and his staff, and truckloads of documents, surrendered en masse to the Americans at the end of WWII.

 

The producers of the current German series of books covering WWII, Germany and the Second World War, describe all those memoirs from the East Front [e.g., 'Lost Victories', 'Panzer Battles', 'Tigers in the Mud', 'Panzer Operations', etc.] as “fiction.” Even the best of them. But not the work of General Gehlen and his men.

He faithfully recorded all that was learnt about the Red Army. All their manuals and how they behaved in practice. Tactics, organisations and such.

While I'm not going to defend the work of the 'we wuz robbed!' crowd, I wouldn't set too much store in Gehlen's work either. He was, after all, the guy who was constantly wrong footed by the Russians. I suppose you could say Gehlen had a great deal of personal familiarity with the Russian's tricks ... because he'd fallen for all of them. But that doesn't really seem like a ringing endorsement :D

Edited by JonS

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Jon,

 

I wouldn't too much store in Gehlen's work either. He was, after all, the guy who was constantly wrong footed by the Russians. I suppose you could say Gehlen had a great deal of personal familiarity with the Russian's tricks because he'd fallen for all of them, but that doesn't really seem like a ringing endorsement”

 

I was going to make the same point.. I agree with you ;). He was not a success at “predicting..” what the Soviets would do. Where Bagration would be launched for example.

 

However at organization and tactics he was the real deal.

 

All the best,

Kip.

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A sample force for a GMT "Panzer" scenario to show how a Russian mechanized corps force fights (as distinct from a tank corps force) - since it was asked.  Feel free to translate into Combat Mission terms.

 

Recon element - 2 BA-64 armored cars, 2 infantry half squads motorcycle mounted.

 

Main body, tanks - 3 T-34/76, 1943 model, with 3 SMG half squad riders.

Main body, motor rifle - 4 trucks carrying 4 full Rifle squads, 2 designated as also having ATR secondary weapons

 

Support, HQ element - 1 M3 Scout Car carrying infantry half squad with FO ability.  Medium artillery support (120mm mortar) with a max of 4 fire for effect missions.

Support, mortar element - 2 trucks carrying infantry half squads manning 82mm mortars

Support, ATG - 1 jeep towing 76mm divisional gun (ZIS-3)

 

You could up the recon element to a full platoon of motorcycle recon, 3 T-70s and 3 MA-64s, double or triple the tanks, and increase the motor rifle to 1-2 companies, and the weapons and supporting guns to double the figures above, for a larger scenario.  But at least in Panzer, smaller command spans make for a more playable game, hence the force design above.

 

Understand, this sort of column is what you'd expect as a single one of the elements I describe in the echelon attack "drill" discussed above - the first hit or the flankers or the exploiters, each would be a column like that.

 

Notice, half the heavy HE firepower comes from dismounted weapons rather than tanks (82mm mortars or towed 76mm guns).  There are small amounts of light armor, but most of the armor is just T-34s and they provide the armor hitting power of the whole formation.  The trucked motor rifle is about half the infantry, the rest split between SMG riders, recon, and infantry heavy weapons parts of the formation.  There is enough infantry to lead with it when the enemy and terrain calls for that, but its normal battle role is to follow hard behind the tanks, dismount just out of sight of the enemy, and mop up whatever the tanks have blasted through.  if they need to deliver a "set piece" attack rather than fighting off the column of march, then the dismounted HE tubes (guns and mortars and FO) plus the tanks form the base of fire, and the infantry steps out first under their overwatch.  The tank riders wait while that is happening, and mount to move forward with the tanks as enemy positions to neutralize are IDed.  

 

When fighting off the column of march, instead, the recon leads and just scouts for open roads; the BA-64s can suppress infantry outposts to free the recon infantry if it is fired upon.  The tanks follow and go where no enemy is encountered until they run out of undefended road, then hastily attack the easiest looking target.  The motor rifle follows behind them and drops men if needed to dig out enemies that go deep to escape the attentions of the tanks, letting the SMG riders stay with the tanks.  If a strong enemy is encountered, the recon and tanks try to bypass it, a bit of motor rifle screens it, and if needed the support element can come up and plaster it.  Normally, though, the support element only deploys when a strong enemy position that needs to be carried is encountered.  When that happens, the column piles forward and deploys to either side of its approach road, the support element and tanks form a base of fire, and the deliberate attack method described above is apply as quickly as possible.

 

FWIW...

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That last post sort of hits on something I was thinking to ask you.

 

 

 

Feel free to translate into Combat Mission terms.

Have you played any CMRT scenarios/campaigns and if so how well do the force mixes (scenario author's unit purchases) correlate to your understanding of Soviet doctrine?

Any major flubs you see that we can avoid?

We don't have motorcycles so maybe use jeeps?

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Campaigns no, scenarios yes. They are mostly well designed, but have two typical issues. Not a sharp enough division between force types, more of a tendency to have combined arms all the time in marginally different ratios or specific vehicle types. To be fair, this isn't true of all, just way more than enough to create the impression. Second issue is that the Russian rifle formations are frequently expected to fight without all their doctrinal heavy weapons (e.g. don't get enough 82mm mortars, say). The general impression one gets is that Russian forces means PPsHs and T-34s, and some generic cannon fodder rifle infantry around that. Plus some ATRs and snipers, to be fair, in many scenarios. But it is hard to fight the real rifle way when your overwatch is a few snipers and DP LMGs.

As for jeeps as cycles, sure those work just fine, and I used them that way in my CMBB scenarios, and they worked well. The difficulty showing such recon assets in CM tends to be having a big enough map to make them as useful as they really were in real life etc. Not restricted to cycles, just a generic thing in CM, that lots of mounted recon is kind of out of its scope.

Edited by JasonC

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So if I were going to make a CMRT scenario showing the mech force type in a hasty attack off the column of march, I'd use something like the following forces and arrivals.

 

At start, set up area to include a road entry point - 2 BA-64s, 5 jeeps, recon platoon HQ and 4 half squads, 1 sharpshooter.

 (HQ+SS jeep really a 3/4 ton "pick up" truck, the "jeeps" are really motorcycles).

Arriving turn 3 on the same entry road - 3 T-34/76, SMG platoon HQ and 2 SMG half squads.

Arriving turn 5 on the same entry road - 4 trucks carrying motor rifle platoon (HQ, 3 squads) plus an ATR.

Arriving turn 7 on the same road, 1 M5 halftrack carrying a company HQ plus a 120mm mortar radio FO (start of support section)

Arriving turn 8 on the same road, 4 trucks carrying platoon HQ, 3 Maxim MMGs (1 with HQ, 2 in second truck), 2 82mm mortars

Arriving turn 10 on the same road, 2 jeeps towing 2 76mm ZIS-3 divisional guns (these would really be 3/4 ton pick up trucks, but closer to jeeps than full trucks).

 

Optional larger scenario - add a second T-34 force just like that given on turn 5, bumping the arrival order of the rest back.

Also add a second motor rifle platoon, so those arrive turns 7 and 9, with the support arriving turns 11-14.

Finally, add a third motor rifle platoon at the tail of the column, arriving turn 15.

That gives 6 tanks and a full motor rifle company, but takes a bit longer to arrive etc.

 

Then have that sort of column fight against - (1) a pure infantry defense (1 75mm PAK as heavy AT), or pure infantry with just one Marder as AT support - about 2 platoons of infantry and a heavy weapons section with 2xHMG, 1x81mm would be typical for this scale, (2) A German "recon" screen force, with SPW 250/1s carrying a single recon infantry platoon, with a pair of SPW 251/9s for fire support, and like 2 PzKw IVs arriving turn 10 or so to support them, with one platoon of Pz Gdrs, or (3) A full German "panzer" force vs the larger column version, with 4 PzKw IVs and 2 platoons of PzGdrs (motorized) present from the start, plus a few HMGs.  A tougher version of (1) (e.g. vs the larger column) might have 2 PAK and 105mm artillery support, but still 2 infantry platoons and 1 heavy weapons section.

 

This variety would be enough to show how the force was meant to function, and how it defeats the most typical forces the Germans would actually need to rely on to stop it.  The recon screen version would be the least common in practice, the infantry version (with no German vehicles) the most common.  But the others are important, to show how the force could exploit through rapid blocking forces once through the front.

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Jason

 

Nice to see some of the doctrine we all read about put into CM perspective. Thanks for the OOB and timing above. I would imagine this force would be for the latter part of a Soviet breakthrough transitioning into a full exploitation? If correct, what type of field fortifications would a designer place in their path to support the Germans. Would remaining German trenches and mine fields be well to the rear leaving just quickly dug foxholes and perhaps some wire?

 

Kevin

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