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Scipio

CM games I'd like to see

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25 minutes ago, Scipio said:

IIRC, Steve once wrote that the step from CMx1 to CMx2 has been the final engine rewrite. But that was already around the time when CMSF was released. Of course I have no idea if they changed their minds since, but what should do a CMx3 engine, that a CMx2v4, v5... can not do?

Only CMx2 thing I find not a smart design is that they release each new family with it's own core engine. From an outsiders view, it would be smarter to have

1) a core engine with all the shared content like the graphic engine, the editor and such, that can be independently updated.

2) for a main release the theatre specific stuff/graphics and unit data, which can be expanded with modules. 

That way BF could keep all titles updated at once, and it wouldn't be necessary to update a rising numbers of major releases one by one. Of course I don't know the reason behind this design decession, assuming that there is a good one.

I believe this was brought up before in the past. I Think, Steve, mentioned that there was far to much content to make just one Core Game Engine with different Modules as separate Games...Instead, each Game would have it's own Core Engine with separate Modules.  

Edited by JoMc67

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4 hours ago, Ivanov said:

Ehm, the majority of the first line Soviet tanks deployed in Eastern Germany in the 80's were T-80's or T-64's. The second echelon forces were mostly equipped with T-64. At that time T-72 was primarily designed for export. Only in the 90's a decision was taken in Russia to make T-72 their main tank. The T-72, T-62 and T-55 were the backbone of Iraqi army during the Desert Storm, but not of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. The allied WP armies were much weaker in terms of armor - around 80% of their forces were T-55's and the rest T-72's. So the situation on the central front, would much different than on the deserts of Iraq, where the allies deployed their best equipped units, could wear down the enemy with a month long bombing campaign, had numerical superiority on the main axes of advance and were able to chose the place and time of the attack.

I find that rather hard to believe. The T-80, while used, was never fully widely adopted by the Soviets, or the Russian Federation after the Cold War. If they had so many T-80s, why don't we see a bunch of them being used now, or as export models by other nations? The vast majority of Soviet made tanks that we see are either the T-72 (both the export versions and non-exports) or earlier T series variants. 

I actually have researched Order of Battles for the Soviet Army in Eastern Europe during 1985. 

For example, the 10th Guards Tank Division of the 3rd Shock Army in Germany had 3 regiments of tanks. 2 tank regiments were equipped with T-72 variants, while 1 had the T-80 variants. Thats roughtly 186 T-72s and 93 T-80s. The 12th Guards of the same Army had the same OoB. The motor rifles were mounted in BMP-2 variants. 

However, in the 79th Guards Tank Division of the 8th Guards Army, the 3 tank regiments were equipped with T-64 variants (2 regiments of roughly 186 again) and T-72 variants (1 regiment of 93 tanks) with the infantry still mounted in BMP-2 variants. 

There are regiments equipped with T-80 variants (for example, the 3rd regiment of the 6th Guards Tank Army, 1st Guards Tank Army has 93 T-80s, the other 2 regiments having T-64s) and there are other tank units that are not Gaurds units equipped with predominantly T-62 and T-64 tanks with the infantry riding BTR-70s (9th Tank Division, 1st GTA)

 

So it is true that by 1989 the OoB's changed around a bit. Tank variants were upgraded and others discarded. For instance I know that the Soviets were trying to move away from the T-64 due to a number of reasons, reliability in the field being one of them, and that they were extensively upgrading their tank variants (see T-72B obr. 1989) but the majority of tanks in Eastern Europe were not the T-80 variant. They were likely only about 1/3rd of all Soviet tanks in Europe. While I don't necessarily dispute Zaloga's numbers, I think he inflated T-80 tanks produced to tanks fielded. If you look at the Soviet OoB, there are not entire tank divisions made up of T-80s. There tends to be only 1 regiment of T-80 tanks per division. 

 

We can definitely agree on a kickstarter idea though! Perhaps not right now, as Battlefront already has a lot on their plate. Maybe after V4.0 and the new CMFI module comes out the idea of a kickstarter could be tossed around again. I would fully back it. Although I'm not entirely sure that creating a CM: Fulda Gap would be a simple matter of money. As our developing discussion goes to show, there are a lot of conflicting data on the exact make-up of the various armies at the time that would have to be thoroughly researched. Then of course it all has to be programmed. That all of course takes time and manpower, the latter of which we know Battlefront does not have in great abundance. All of this sin't to say that I think such a kickstarter would be doomed from the start, I just think there are a lot of factors that go into Battlefront and the production of CM that are greater than monetary issues. Again, if a kickstarter was made for a CM Cold War, I would readily back it!  

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6 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

I find that rather hard to believe. The T-80, while used, was never fully widely adopted by the Soviets,

 

They built 5400 T-80s. If you ran into a soviet tank formation in East Germany in the 1980s there was a good chance it would be a T-80 unit.

 

I would really like to see Battlefront start pumping out some modules for existing games, given that we are still waiting on the CMFI expansion, CMRT and CMBS are still waiting for their first expansion, and CMFB has also been added to that line. On the other hand, I would trade a substantial amount of earth coins for CM:Fulda Gap.

Edited by SgtHatred

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9 minutes ago, SgtHatred said:

They built 5400 T-80s. If you ran into a soviet tank formation in East Germany in the 1980s there was a good chance it would be a T-80 unit.

That number is from Wikipedia, and makes it clear that the number is for all variants of the T-80 produced up to 2005. There is a difference between 1985 and 2005. Also, at least one of the variants of the T-80 (the A I believe) was a completely prototype tank. It was never produced in large numbers and was designed purely as a testing model. Again, my point was not that the T-80 itself was extremely rare (although the T-80U was) but that it did not make up the majority of Soviet tanks. If you look at the Order of Battle for the Soviets during the 80's, youll find that most of the tanks were T-72/64 variants. There were a bunch of T-80s, they just weren't the majority. 

22 minutes ago, SgtHatred said:

On the other hand, I would trade a substantial amount of earth coins for CM:Fulda Gap.

As would I!

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38 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

So it is true that by 1989 the OoB's changed around a bit. Tank variants were upgraded and others discarded. For instance I know that the Soviets were trying to move away from the T-64 due to a number of reasons, reliability in the field being one of them, and that they were extensively upgrading their tank variants (see T-72B obr. 1989) but the majority of tanks in Eastern Europe were not the T-80 variant. They were likely only about 1/3rd of all Soviet tanks in Europe. While I don't necessarily dispute Zaloga's numbers, I think he inflated T-80 tanks produced to tanks fielded. If you look at the Soviet OoB, there are not entire tank divisions made up of T-80s. There tends to be only 1 regiment of T-80 tanks per division. 

Let's just agree to disagree. By 1989 the T-80's became the main Soviet tank in Germany, however overall it never comprised the majority of Soviet tanks. In the follow up units stationed in Soviet Union and in the depots, there were probably more than 50k other types of tanks like T-64, T-72, T-62 and T-55. I'm somehow confused by the attention given in the west to the T-72. The main Soviet tanks were the T-64 and then T-80. T-72 was designed as a cheaper alternative to T-64 and it was also widely exported. During the Soviet time T-64's and T-80's were never sold abroad. Let's not confuse the Cold War with what happened in Russia in the 90's. For variety of reasons the T-80's were withdrawn from the service and T-72 and later T-90 become the main tank of modern Russian forces. Also, the T-80 production effectively ended in the early 90's.

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The more I try to find out about this T-72 vs. T-80 business, the more confusing it becomes... So, on page 36 of his Osprey book on the T-72 (1993) Zaloga states:

"The T-72 was not expected to challenge the new generation of NATO tanks - the more expensive and sophisticated T-80 was given this assignment. Forward deployed elements of the Soviet Army in Germany were equipped with the T-64B and T-80, not the T-72."

But before that on page 10 we get:

"The turret armour on the T-72B was the thickest and most effective ever mounted on a Soviet tank, surpassing even the T-80B."

:huh:

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28 minutes ago, Ivanov said:

Let's just agree to disagree. By 1989 the T-80's became the main Soviet tank in Germany, however overall it never comprised the majority of Soviet tanks. In the follow up units stationed in Soviet Union and in the depots, there were probably more than 50k other types of tanks like T-64, T-72, T-62 and T-55. I'm somehow confused by the attention given in the west to the T-72. The main Soviet tanks were the T-64 and then T-80. T-72 was designed as a cheaper alternative to T-64 and it was also widely exported. During the Soviet time T-64's and T-80's were never sold abroad. Let's not confuse the Cold War with what happened in Russia in the 90's. For variety of reasons the T-80's were withdrawn from the service and T-72 and later T-90 become the main tank of modern Russian forces. Also, the T-80 production effectively ended in the early 90's.

Agree to disagree indeed. 

I just want to point out that the West is not somehow obsessed with the T-72 series because they think it is very easy to defeat due to Desert Storm. It is well known and noted that the T-72 models faced in Desert Storm were not of the same quality as those fielded by the Soviets in Europe. There is a reason the T-72M is referred to the 'Monkey Model.' Hell, the thing only had a manually traversing turret! More importantly than the model of tank was the ammunition it was equipped with. The ammo was far from modern, and without getting into too much detail, was essentially useless against US and Coalition armor. 

However, the T-72s fielded by the Soviets in Europe were of much better quality. First off, they had the top of the line Soviet ammo, which was capable of causing quite a bit of pain on contemporary NATO armor in Europe. They were also equipped with updated FCS (still lacking thermals for the most part however) and vastly improved armor. The T-72s that NATO faced in Europe were essentially entirely different tanks than what were faced in Iraq. 

The T-64 was designed as a non-export variant, yes. However it faced some pretty serious reliability and mechanical issues early in its life. It was these issues that prompted the development of the T-72 in the first place. This is not to say that the T-64 was a pile of junk, just that it had noted issues and the T-72 was looked to be an improved overall design to rectify those issues. 

22 minutes ago, Machor said:

The more I try to find out about this T-72 vs. T-80 business, the more confusing it becomes... So, on page 36 of his Osprey book on the T-72 (1993) Zaloga states:

"The T-72 was not expected to challenge the new generation of NATO tanks - the more expensive and sophisticated T-80 was given this assignment. Forward deployed elements of the Soviet Army in Germany were equipped with the T-64B and T-80, not the T-72."

But before that on page 10 we get:

"The turret armour on the T-72B was the thickest and most effective ever mounted on a Soviet tank, surpassing even the T-80B."

:huh:

Exactly. It is all rather confusing. Not only do different sources contradict themselves, but some individual sources like the one you mention contradict themselves as well. The way I try to cut through the haze is by trying to see what was actually fielded. There is a difference in what was produced and what was wanted as the optimal front line tank, as opposed to what was actually the front line tank. ("There's the way its supposed to be, then there's the way it is") I try to do this by looking at the actual TO&E and OoB of the forces present at the time. Like I posted above, when you look at those OoBs you find that most of the tanks are in fact T-72/64 variants, with only about a 3rd of the tanks in active OoBs being T-80's. Many of the OoBs were constantly in flux, each year things changed around a little bit, but for the most part it is a good way to look at a snapshot in time. 

To add even more confusion to this, the ratio of T-80/72/64 changed depending on the front. The North German Plain tended to get more T-80's proportionally because this is where the Soviets planned on making their main armored push. Other fronts tended to have drastically different proportions of tanks. Still however, when you look at all of the Soviet tank forces in Europe, while there were higher concentrations of T-80's in certain areas of front, it tends to not be the dominant tank series when you look at the whole picture. 

 

Addendum: Something I forgot to mention. There were less M1 Abrams variants in Europe than there were M60 Patton variants by a decent margin. Most US armored units were still equipped primarily with M60 variants. The numbers roughly come out to there being around 1/3rd Abrams and 2/3rds Pattons. As with the Soviets, these OoBs were in flux, especially after 1985 where the US began to produce the M1A1 and all M1A1 variants produced were sent directly to Europe to replace the older M1 and M1IP tanks. This replacement took time however. Even with the new M1A1's going straight to Europe, most of the US tanks were still M60's.

Edited by IICptMillerII

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Again, fast and furious:

Re: Tank Counting

It gets really tricky, as only at the very end was there any extensive accounting of who had what where.  Given that T-80/M1/Leo 2 numbers in 1991 are not helpful in understanding the ground truth.

Generally the Soviets still relied heavily on T-62/T-55 formations to carry a great deal of the fight, and whatever new sexiness that NATO had was not especially common except at the end.  How this would have played out is thankfully unknown, but there's a false impression of the Cold War of 80,000 T-80Us sitting on the IGB ready to crush HATO scum that doesn't capture the actual reality very well.  It really varied wildly from year to year, and a statement about the rarity of the Abrams in 1981 would be 100% true, but utter nonesense by 1989.  

Re: Monkey Tanks

The Iraqi T-72s become less capable with each retelling, and a mostly mythical monkey model has emerged from this.

Iraqi T-72s were a mix of T-72M, M1, and M2, with some earlier model Soviet T-72s by some sources.  The various M models were technically and structurally identical to T-72s provided to non-Soviet Warsaw Pact forces, and most of them were actually sourced via Poland.  The domestically produced T-72 claims by Iraq were total nonsense, with production being limited to knock down Polish sourced T-72Ms of various makes.  There were occasional local upgrades of varying complexity (such as exhaust diversion piping, installation of IO jammers), but again, they came from the same factories, built to the same standards that a Polish or East German tanker would have accepted.  

The main disadvantages the Iraqi T-72s had unique to them was the uneven to poor Iraqi technical training, gun tubes past service life (as the 125 MM has an appallingly short useful lifespan), and a total lack of understanding about what was about to him them (not going for all 'MERICA!" there, as much as Iraqi expectations and preparations did not well match what they were actually going to face).  The less advanced AT rounds did not help, but they were largely irrelevant given how few Iraqi tankers had a chance to put effective fires on tanks.  

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Honestly, I prefer to see Char tanks in an early WWII Blitzkrieg game or all the japanese stuff at the Pacific theatre first, before I worry about the exact number of the different Warshaw pact tanks. 

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Already some really good posts on this subject, so to piggy back on what Miller and Krautwerfer have already touched on....

 

Late 1980's Pact Tank inventory(values are approximate):

Soviet: 

T-55/54------------38%

T62-----------------24%

T-64----------------18%

T-72----------------16%

T-80----------------- <10%

 

 

NSWP:

T-55--------------85%

T-62--------------none

T-64--------------none

T-72--------------5-10%

T-80--------------none

 

 

Group of Soviet Forces-Germany

5700 tanks in units 

T-64 A/B------------------65%

T-80-----------------------15%

T-62-----------------------15%   mainly in independent tank regiments and training units

2000 tanks in reserves

 

Summary:

Total in Place Forces                    Tank Divisions                      Motor Rifle Divisions                          Old Tanks                  New Tanks                      Total

(GSFG, CGF, NGF, EGNVA,                  26                                                29                                             8325                            9125                         

CSLA, LWP)

 

                                                                                                                                                                 Total tanks-17450

 

NATO                                              Tank Divisions                                     Mech Divisions                                      Tanks

                                                                  15                                                         13                                                   13750

 

                                                    

 

US Tank Forces Breakdown (1987) : 1700 M48A5, 2525 M60 and M60A1, 4810 M60A3, 2374 M1, 894 M1IP, 3270 M1A1

 

(In Europe) 1750 Tanks. All of but 200 of which are M1 Abrams of some variant. 

1400 other pre-positions tanks

2,300 tanks in war reserve stocks

Edited by shift8

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12 hours ago, shift8 said:

Group of Soviet Forces-Germany

5700 tanks in units 

T-64 A/B------------------65%

T-80-----------------------15%

T-62-----------------------15%   mainly in independent tank regiments and training units

2000 tanks in reserves

I realize this is CMFB forum and I apologize for an off topic but I have to respond;)

This looks pretty accurate for the first half of the 80's. One thing I'm glad, is that there are no mythical T-72's in your GSFG equipment summary. Secondly, if we agree, that there were about 5700 tanks in GSFG and take into the account the CFE treaty documents cited by Zaloga ( which state that in 1991 there were 3020 T-80B/BV's deployed in East Germany ), you'll get over 50% of T-80, with the rest being T-64 ( a tank for  some reasons ignored by many western military enthusiast and I suspect often confused with T-72 ) and a small number of T-62's. Again, this is not author's imagination or fantasy but an official Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe document. BTW I'd like to know your sources.

It doesn't mean that the Soviets had any significant numerical advantage in number of modern tanks. It just means that by 1989 T-80 become the most common Soviet tank in Germany and that there were no damn Soviet T-72's there :D

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Some excellent suggestions and points ladies & gentlemen! Well, if we're talking separate games proper (as opposed to modules for existing ones) and I have to choose one (Poll, anyone?) it's easily WWII North Africa, no question. I mean, if we're talking potentially epic battles with significant Armour? Tim Stone of Rock, Paper, Shotgun has lamented this in his various Flare Path articles over the years; I think his recent-ish playthrough of CMAK illustrates the point: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/06/17/the-flare-path-welcomes-combative-commenters-2/

BTW, I'm guessing Tim's articles in Rock, Paper, Shotgun have been an effective sales boost for Battlefront in this regard (or at least I've always bought a new module after reading his write-ups) and I suspect Tim's enthusiasm for a new CMAK would be shared by a significant number of wargamers around the world too?

My only question is, what to name it?

CMOT (Operation Torch)?
CMBG (Battle of Gazala)?
CMKP (Kasserine Pass)?
CMEA (El Alamein)?
CMRR (Rommel's Revenge / Raid on Rommel)?
CMDF (Desert Fox)?
CMDR (Desert Rats)?
CMSS (Sandstorms & Stukas)?
CMSQ (Sandstorms & Quicksand)? :)

Of course, add-on modules don't have to be epic tank battles. LRDG raids are cool too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Range_Desert_Group

e.g. I like the idea of commanding a small LRDG force with the mission of rescuing a downed RAF Hurricane pilot (Roald Dahl?), stranded in a minefield.
(you only have so long before a DAK / Regio Esercito patrol arrives). Or, how about including a quicksand mechanic?
Either way, I just feel WWII North Africa is an interesting environment to roll tanks through, more-so than CMFI for me.
Also, sand storms. Lots of epic lo-vis sand storms and swathes of rising dust from vehicles, tactically obscuring that column of enemy Armour.
Also, Stukas? Not to mention Hurricanes, 109 strafing runs, He-111 low levels, etc. Um, did I mention Stukas? :)
Alright I'm blabbing on now, cheers!

-H

P.S. Whenever I see a classic war film set in WWII North Africa, I can't help thinking it's disappointing we couldn't buy a new CMAK so we could make our own personal Tobruk, Ice Cold in Alex, Patton, Raid on Rommel, Desert Fox, Sea of Sand, Big Red One, Play Dirty, The Hill, The English Patient, Raiders of the Lost Ark (etc!) CM scenarios based on the old movies just for fun.

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53 minutes ago, Ivanov said:

I realize this is CMFB forum and I apologize for an off topic but I have to respond;)

This looks pretty accurate for the first half of the 80's. One thing I'm glad, is that there are no mythical T-72's in your GSFG equipment summary. Secondly, if we agree, that there were about 5700 tanks in GSFG and take into the account the CFE treaty documents cited by Zaloga ( which state that in 1991 there were 3020 T-80B/BV's deployed in East Germany ), you'll get over 50% of T-80, with the rest being T-64 ( a tank for  some reasons ignored by many western military enthusiast and I suspect often confused with T-72 ) and a small number of T-62's. Again, this is not author's imagination or fantasy but an official Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe document. BTW I'd like to know your sources.

It doesn't mean that the Soviets had any significant numerical advantage in number of modern tanks. It just means that by 1989 T-80 become the most common Soviet tank in Germany and that there were no damn Soviet T-72's there :D

Tank War Central Front------By Zaloga

 

The numbers, as I stated, are for the late 1980s. Not 1991. Which is probably the reason for the discrepancy on T-80 numbers. 

Edited by shift8

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8 minutes ago, shift8 said:

Tank War Central Front------By Zaloga

It's ironic that we both quote the same author. However Central Front was published in 1989, so some data was incorrect and not up to the date. The T-80 book I'm referring to is from 2009.

Edited by Ivanov

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1 minute ago, shift8 said:

Tank War Central Front------By Zaloga

 

1 minute ago, Ivanov said:

That's ironic that we both quote the same author. However Central Front was published in 1989, so some data was incorrect and not up to the date. The T-80 book I'm referring to is from 2009.

Undoubtedly. I did say the numbers were approximate. I also have a copy of "T-80 standard tank" by the same author. 

However I think it is important to note that the book states the numbers were for "currently" meaning 88 or 89, or whenever the writing took place. Changes could have occurred in the space of 2 years. Especially since we don't know exactly what date Zaloga's source was for the first book. For example, he might have been using whatever the most up to date estimate or source was, etc. Not necessarily from the year of publishing. 

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6 minutes ago, shift8 said:

For example, he might have been using whatever the most up to date estimate or source was, etc. Not necessarily from the year of publishing. 

That's exactly what happened IMO. The numbers in Central Front reflect probably the estimate from circa mid 80's, hence don't reflect the actuality from 1989.

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Also this discrepancy got me rummaging, and I dug out Zaloga's extremely recent book on the T-64. 

T-64 variants west of Urals sept 1990"

64A---------------------1386

AK----------------------220

B-------------------------1192

BV------------------------159

B1-------------------------420

B1K/BV1K-------------------27

R--------------------------578

Total T-64-3982

 

In addition paraphrased: "the t-80 began to replace the 64 in 1983. initally in the southern sectors. Before the time of GSFG withdrawal, it also replace the northern sectors. 64 remained in 2 divsions and 2 tank brigades at the time of withdrawal. at time of collapse, 3982 64 were east of urals, with addtional 2000 in ukraine. "

So as indicated, at some point after 1983 the T-80 began to supersede the 64. By 1991, we would be about 50/50 as you indicated. Curious how this would have looked in 85 o 87. 

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1 hour ago, Ivanov said:

there were no damn Soviet T-72's there :D

If this stands - and I'm not challenging it - it'll become one of the greatest corrections I will have had to make into my knowledge of military history - in which case I'm grateful.

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18 minutes ago, Machor said:

If this stands - and I'm not challenging it - it'll become one of the greatest corrections I will have had to make into my knowledge of military history - in which case I'm grateful.

pq4w8j.jpgimagen jpg

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Would really like to to see Barbarossa - specifically key engagements around Smolensk that many historians now are claiming was central in the failure of the German invasion. 

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4 hours ago, dw said:

Would really like to to see Barbarossa - specifically key engagements around Smolensk that many historians now are claiming was central in the failure of the German invasion. 

This and the Rzhev meat grinder are to parts of the Eastern Front that I am most interested in. Would love to eventually see games/modules that cover both.

 

So based on the numbers that we have been provided, it seems that between 1985 and 1991 the numbers of T-80s, and tanks in general in Eastern Germany changed a lot. The numbers and sources I have are primarily for 1985. Some sources come from 83 and some come from 86. The Soviets initiated a massive overhaul of their ground forces in Germany in 1983, and then again in 1986. It appears that the latter overhaul was aimed at increasing the number of T-80 tanks in Guards divisions by a significant factor. It would seem, based solely off the numbers that the Soviets were able to drastically increase the number of T-80s, so that the balance came out to be something like 50% T-80 and 50% T-64. 

All of this brings a few questions to mind:

Where did all the T-72's go? By best guess there was something like 22,000 T-72's lying around (all variants included)

Why did the Soviets continue to upgrade the T-72 if they weren't planning on using them? (T-72 obr. 1989)

Where did all the T-80's go? It seems that just after the end of the Cold War that a significant amount of T-80's disappeared, and the Russian Federation switched back to using primarily the T-72, specifically the T-72B2/3 and the T-72BU (also known as the T-90) Today, I do not know of any Russian unit comprised of T-80's.

 

Great discussion by the way! :)

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So, are we now saying that there WERE Soviet T-72s in Germany but they WENT somewhere by 1989? This would be a different picture altogether - and would raise Cpt Miller's questions above. I was under the impression that Ivanov's (and Zaloga's) point was that Soviet T-72s were NEVER there, which to me has the same impact as finding out that there were no Pz IVs on the Western front or that T-34/76s did not fight after 1943.

I hope I'm not the only one learning from this discussion. :P

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This is the most concise summary I have found:

Quote

Soviet tank deployment in Central Europe in the 1970s-1980s is a sad tale. Essentially, in the mid-1970s the Soviet High Command decided to re-equip GSFG in short order with the 'premium' tank T64A. The plan for re-equipment was 6-7 divisions (2000 tanks) a year, so that the Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) would be completely re-equipped in 3-4 years. T-64As began arriving in 1976 in 16 and 35 divisions (and were mistaken by Western intel to be T-72s – hence the beginning of the myth that T-72s were in GSFG).

At first re-equipment went quite quickly, helped by the stripping of T-64As from divisions in the interior USSR, and in 1977 six tank or Motor Rifle divisions were re-equipped. But the single tank plant producing T-64As (Kharkov, Leningrad insisted on their T-80 and Nizhny Tagil on their T-72)) couldn't keep up the initial pace. Each year after that the number of divisions in GSFG re-equipped fell. By 1980 they were down to only two divisions a year – and hence many GSFG were still equipped with T-62.

At the same time, in 1980 the Soviet government unilaterally withdrew 1000 tanks and 20000 men from GSFG. In reality most of these tanks were T-55s, T-62s and T-10Ms from training and border regiments.By the end of 1980 the Soviet High Command were getting worried their plan was falling down. This was no doubt exacerbated when the rate of re-equipment dropped to only about one division in 1981. Meanwhile, reliability problems plagued the T-64 through the 1970s, at least in some units (some say sabotage was involved, or deliberate mis-reporting – this is symptomatic of the ongoing extreme conflict and hostility between the various supporters of the competing Russian tank design houses).

In 1982 the T-64B began shipping to GSFG. Initially equipment was on a scale of one company per battalion of T-64s. This allowed the replaced T-64As to be cascaded down to T-62 units, speeding up re-equipment to an extent. During 1982 the decision was taken to have the GSFG equipped with two types of MBTs: the T-80 from Leningrad and the existing Kharkov T-64 (in effect abandoning the 1970s plan to standardise on one MBT).

In the first quarter of 1983 the first T-80Bs began shipping into GSFG in line with the new dual tank strategy. Initially the deployment pattern was to 1st Tank Army and 8th Army. T64Bs went to 3rd "Shock" (as it was known to NATO) and 20th Army on the scale of one company per battalion.

From 1984 the T80B deployment pattern was gradually changed to a more general scattering of T80s in company packets across GSFG, rather than reserving them for 1st and 8th Armies. T80BVs and T64BVs began appearing in 1985.
Finally, by the end of 1985, the re-equipment with new generation tanks envisaged in 1975 was virtually complete. GSFG had about 7700 tanks, with 5700 in the 11 tank and 8 motor rifle divisions, and about 2000 MBTs in training regiments and repair and reserve depots (including still about 1000 T-62s).

In the decade the re-equipment took, NATO had begun deploying the Leopard 2 and then Abrams MBTs which significantly outclassed the basic T-64A which still formed the majority of GSFG tanks in 1985, as well as introducing numerous ATGMs and new tank gun ammunition. The Soviet High Command then decided to switch to an all T-80 force, but this was never completed before GSFG was disbanded (numbers grew from 838 at the start of 1987 to nearly 3000 T-80s by the end of 1990). GSFG tanks remained deployed in a mosaic or patchwork pattern with little standardisation, even within regiments. The grand vision of a rapid re-equipment of GSFG with a single premium tank was unfulfilled.

Found here: http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=299294

Edited by akd

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Thank you, AKD. The website you linked to at least made me happy that I wasn't the only military enthusiast who thought the T-72 was one of the main types the Soviets had in Germany. Again, if we conclude that T-72s were NEVER in Germany, I'll have to hit my brain reset button.

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Period Western writings on the Soviet tank force are fascinating simply because they're a mix of:

1. Usually wild over estimation of whatever was really going on. We have smart weapons?  Soviets have genius weapons.  We have advanced composite armor?  Soviet armor is made from dark matter.  There's an increasing amount of M1A1s in Europe?  Well too bad, there's 80,000 T-80Us.  

2. There was a lot of confusion on what was what.  The various marks of T-64/T-72/T-80 all got jumbled, and there were a lot of versions that weren't even "real" or were based on poor photos.  There's even the semi-fictional T-74 which was basically the later model T-72s with the assumption it was being treated as a new tank vs a continued line of T-72s.

3.  More realistic estimates existed, and certainly were used at times, but as a rule the popular perception of the Soviet Union was a hyper-efficient, high tech, superior foe of virtually unstoppable force.  The reality of course, was not so much.  

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