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Nightmare on tankstreet

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January 1942, I am german. I am facing 15 russian tanks: 2 KV-2, 4 KV-1, 2KV-8 flamethrowing tanks and the rest T-34. Besides the AT50mm that can at least scratch one of those tanks, I have no idea what to do besides holdong my breath. First of all, what do I do with mine fields, not daisychains or anti-personal minefields but anti tank minefields. I have seen around 20 tanks go through them without a scratch. One of them even went back and forth twice in one with no effect. I even took a picture of a KV-2 standing in one and nothing happened. In "a small delay" 4 tanks went right through my minefields and right into my position. That was fun.

What about the impressive tank killer teams. Here is their strategy: they'll scare the commander with their submachine gun and when the tank is "buttoned", they go back to their poker game and guess what, before the end of the turn, they're dead. Wanna know a funny story? Once, I was german and I saw a brave russian tank hunter get out of it's trench and run towards my tank and destroy it with a single cocktail molotov. I was so impressed by their courage that I immediately quit the battle and restarted it beeing russian. I ordered my brave little tank hunter to attack the same tank. But that time, they "%$&?* in their pants and did not move until the tank was right on top of them. Finally, they threw one cocktail molotov, two cocktail molotov, three cocktail molotov, one demolition charge, two demolition charge and the little tank went on it's way. Is the AI just smarter than me or just cheating?

Antitank rifle. What do you do with them. Put them near a flag, far from the fight. What damage can they do to a tank?

Don't get me wrong, I really like that game now but there are things I just don't get. Anybody can help?

P.S. Can heavy artillery deal with them?

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At that date, the Germans have lots of good weapons to deal with Soviet heavies, including the 75mm and 50mm Pak's and the 37mm Pak with HEAT. From your story I gather that you only have 50mm ATG(s), which should do well with the T-34's but you'd have to be lucky to kill them KV's with it. You don't tell about the other factors, like what forces you have, what is the terrain like and how much supporting infantry he has.

Minefields have about 50% chance of detonating when a tank crosses it. So, not nearly always. To be more certain, a second lier of minefields would be needed.

The AI doesn't cheat, but it can get lucky and we tend to have a selective memory.

Anti-tank rifles won't help you against heavy tanks. Well, the heavy ones maybe, but not the 7.92mm type.

Heavy artillery, as in 150mm and up, should work wonders (at least immobilizations and gun damage).

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Dear Sergei, that was quick. Thanks for the tips. In this operation, I have everything from tank hunter teams up to 50mm but not a lot. I'm with the SS who were stuck in Demiansk, south of Moscow. My infantry consists of pionniers and recon, and not a lot. My strategy is simple, sit tight, don't breath and they'll go away. I have to hold a beachhead across a river and I cannot afford to attack unless I have to defend myself.

Thanks

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Pioneers with satchel charges will take out a tank in nothing flat. Wait for them to get in close. It sounds like your only chance in this one will be close assault with infantry. I know what you mean with the mines, too. Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don't.

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A key thing to remember about infantry vs. tanks is to engage at ranges less than 30 meters. Set your guys up in cover, hidden, with a 30m covered arc, and do whatever you can to strip the enemy infantry off the tanks. Force his tanks to come in unsupported without infantry recon. stoat is right that the pioneers will seriously rip his tanks to shreds at >30m. Use the 50mm guns to try and get side shots - side shots should kill very consistently on T-34s, and you'd have a good chance on a KV.

I disagree with Sergei regarding the worthiness of ATRs. The key with them is to open up at the longest range possible and fire as many times as possible. At more than 200m, enemy tanks will not spot the ATR, so it can fire away unmolested. Have ATRs open up as soon as possible, and keep firing until their spot is in jeopardy or the target moves out of LOS. They've got a lot of rounds for a reason. Hit enough times, and you might get lucky with an immobilization or a gun hit, or rattle the crew into abandonment. Plus, they keep tanks buttoned - key against early Russians that don't have radios. I usually use them as snipers separate from my main forces so if they are spotted, the ensuing hail of HE won't devastate my MLR. And if half-tracks show up? Slaughter! ATRs will take down HTs really, really well.

The 7.92s are pretty weak, though. I just only use 14.5s

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Pretty good advice already. I'll try to put it together for you.

The mines are 50/50. If you really want to deny an area, double them up (you can stack them or lay them in depth). They are by far your best bet against the KVs if your biggest gun is 50mm as the chance for a kill from mines is about 50/50 regardless of tank size (tracks and bottom armor are a great equalizer and much more similar than say the front armor for a KV v. T34).

ATRs should fire early and often. It is very unlikely that you will get any sort of penetration against real armor even a point blank range. They will only really penetrate halftracks, armored cars and the flimsiest of early war tanks. You're hoping for trac and gun hits, so you need a lot of hits to get the low probability gun damage hits.

50mm guns are pretty effective against T34s, but you'll need side shots to do much against the KVs unless you've got tungsten rounds. Even then, no real guarantee the gunners will fire it.

Engineers and tank hunters are somewhat effective, but definitely hit or miss. Just try to plant them in cover about 20m from a tank and wait. They'll throw what they throw. For engineers, you want to select the throw demo charge command.

I don't know a lot about the terrain, or what infantry your opponent has, but here's a good as it gets for your situation. Assuming there are a couple of enemy advance routes, you want to lay significant mines to block as many as you can definitely deny. Ideally, the remaining routes will force the enemy tanks to expose their flanks to your 50mm guns as they come through. Side shots at under 500m should have a pretty good chance of success. Hit them with the ATRs at the same time to keep them buttoned. This will at least delay the tanks spotting of the guns for a little while and allow you to get off a couple of extra rounds befor the KV2s paste them. If you can get a couple of kills, now you've got burning tanks to further limit visibility in the area. This is the time to move in with the engineers and tank hunter teams to try some close assault. Get them close and hope for the best.

That's the best I can give you.

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The key with inf vs tanks is patience. You want to attack buttoned tanks.

Other key factors:

- separate inf from tanks

- let the tanks come towards you - stationary units hit better and are harder to spot.

- reverse slopes works best

- THs don't fire to button a tank.

- teamwork. One unit buttons the tank, others try to kill it.

- many on one.

And you want to attack in one single turn. Borg spotting only works during the command phase. So if your attacking is spotted by anything, next turn the tank will know where it is.

The 5cm PaK can kill KVs - at flat angles from the sides or rear. Hold fire till they are close. Put the PaK in reverse slope:

------cccccclcccc------------

-------i--i---a

-MG--------------------MG-

----------MG

where c is cover that blocks LOS, i is inf, l some listening post where it can barely look across c that will retreat if inf closes in, a is an ATG and the MGs makes sure no inf crosses c. One might be enough if there are few of them. If they are set up 200m or more to the rear, they won't get spotted and thus avoid incoming.

The trick is:

If there is an open field of fire in front of cccccccccc, the MGs to the flanks will stop/delay inf in front of cccccc. Hopefully the tanks move in. If they cross c, the inf behind cccccc can deal with them at short ranges. Maybe even the ATG gets off some rounds at short distance.

If they pass c, you'll wait for side shots. Preferrably vs non- hull down tanks - the lower hull is usually the weakest spot.

If inf crosses ccccccccc, you have some inf there to protect your ATG and the tanks can't hit you thru ccccccc

As seen, you want to separate the tanks from the inf. To kill the inf, you don't want DF HE coming at you. To kill the tanks, you want some privacy.

Buttoned tanks without inf support in built up areas are dead. I had a TH team in a house kill 3 tanks thru the back door. Then the inf came thru the front door and killed the TH team. In this example the house was ccccccc and I had not enough to stop the inf from crossing ccccccc - but enough to delay them till the tanks had passed.

Team work is essential. Anything else can button the tank before the THs throw their ammo. Their SMGs are to finish off the crew - or if they get spotted by inf.

Many on one from different angles allows the tank to target only one attacker. It might pin that attacker with one or two rounds or bursts from its MG. But if these are the last shots of the tank, your beaten team might stay alive to kill another tank.

The light German ATR work vs tanks even in late '42. I had one kill a Stuart and penetrate the sides of Lees - in CMAK. In CMBB you can hope for gun damage or try to scare the tanks. It might work to fire at the side of a tank to persuade the tank to turn and present a weaker side to a PaK.

Gruß

Joachim

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You should also scan your force for 28/20 sPzB squeezebores. Those are remarkably effective. They can fire without being spotted by buttoned tanks, down to 200m. They will penetrate even KVs from the side when the side angle is low, and T-34s through the turret front when they hit it, as well as the side. The behind armor effect isn't great though - it can take 5 penetrations to hurt the things. But you can typically fire all day without giving more than sound. A human will area fire back with all his 76mm HE, but the AI is too dumb to do so.

As for tank hunters, if they have panzerwurfmines you can use covered arcs as long as 40m. Otherwise 30m is better. Use 30m for the pioneers, their demo charges are quite effective. Ordinary squads can get off one reasonably effective close assault rapidly, again at 30m, using their grenade bundle.

In all cases, the key is for the unit doing it to be unsuppressed, usually because undetected, sometimes because it just entered LOS from a good angle or there are too many around for the tank and any of its friends to suppress them all. The problem you encountered with your TH can from not having a short covered arc. He fired before his AT weapon was in range, so he used the MPs.

Instead you want somebody else to button the tank for him, somebody stealthy. Snipers, ATRs, and HMGs or 20mm Flak at ranges longer than 200m can do that for you. ATRs have essentially no chance of even damaging heavy tanks, they are effective only against the BTs and T-26 class stuff. But they can button things for you at least.

As for artillery, 150mm stuff will get immobilization and gun damage results, and cause bail outs sometimes when they rack up a pair against the same tank. The targeting needs to be precise. A TRP is your best chance with those. Lighter stuff in the 81mm or 75mm range, use as smoke instead, to mask a tank that is hurting someone or to set up infantry close assaults.

The best single piece of advice so far is to keep them buttoned, because the command delays of radio-less early Russian tanks are stupendous. It is like taking away half their available turns.

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Jason, your last paragraph is interesting... I got another idea from it. IIRC the op in question is rather long - the tanks will come sooner or later.

If you button the tanks, they will arrive late. But as they are faster than inf, they will arrive with them. So depending on the situation it might be better not to button the tanks till they are in effective range. Or not to button certain tanks.

a) Button all KVs to delay those. Delay the inf. Let the T34s arrive quickly. Kill them with your ATGs.

B) Delay the T34s by buttoning them, hide the ATGs, finish KVs with THs, open up with ATGs.

c) Delay all tanks by buttoning them up. Deal with the inf first.

a and b might work, c probably not - except if you have listening posts (snipers, ATRs) that button the tanks ahead of your MLR and away from the enemy infantry's line of advance.

Seems I have to try that op.

Gruß

Joachim

Edited to add that buttoning the HQ will delay the whole plt. Buttoning only tanks of a certain type (given correct id's) should delay only those you intend to delay.

[ January 07, 2006, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: Joachim ]

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One other thing - would people please, please, please, include some sort of actual live link to scenarios or operations you wish to discuss? You obviously have it so you obvious got it somewhere. We don't. If you don't include the name and a link, we can't magically conjure it out of the ether.

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How do you add a link? I am playing operation: Staraya russia, 3rd SS division fight for survival near the lowat river. Second battle at night. My front is OK from the bridges going left but on the right, I've got russians between my front line(if you can call that a line) and the river. All your advices helped but the mine fields...

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I'm sorry, that is still useless. If you don't know how to add a link, just copy the URL into the body of a post as plain text, and we can copy it out into our browser address bar. Without a pointer to the actual file, we can't see what you are talking about.

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P.S. you might have mentioned "at night" rather earlier. Pioneers with DCs and FTs are decidedly more dangerous to heavy tanks at night, because they are much more likely to see 30m ranges.

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OK, now I have the scenario. It is a dumb and historically clueless SS worshipping 12000 point monstrosity I'd never consider playing, but I have the scenario.

The reason you are seeing little from your AT mines is the setting is deep snow.

Your principle AT assets are 3 37mm AT with 4, 5 and 5 HC rounds each. Those work at point blank range only, but kill when they hit. Muzzle velocity 110m/s means about that much range. And 3 50mm AT with 5 T ammo each, likewise best used at point blank range.

Then there are 15 pioneer squads with 2-3 DCs each, and 4 FTs. All will kill any tank that comes within 30m. Then there are 15 recon squads with grenade bundles and rifle grenades. They have a decent change within 30m, some within 40m with flanks vs. a T-34 only (from the rifle grenades).

And there are the 3 DC and 8 regular AT minefields.

More importantly, there is a bridge and a few narrow causeways across a frozen river. Donno if a 50 ton KV can cross ice without it - realistically, no chance.

Also a few TRPs and all of 25 rounds of 150mm (2 tube regimental stuff, rare compared to the 4 tube divisional guns they would actually have).

Gun damage is possible from 3 quad 20mm flakwagens, but realistically and in an operation they are too valuable to smash against tanks.

What is silliest about it? Historically Russian armor had essentially nothing to do with the success of their winter counterattacks. It was infantry fighting in snow and woods. The Germans would be lucky to have a few truck running at this stage, and they would be weakened. Instead they have PSWs, SPWs, trucks, AA HTs, etc. And the Russians are presented as Operation Bagration before the fact.

So. You can trade the ATGs for tanks. Best to save them for night it possible, and fire them when only one enemy is in LOS. For the 37s, only with HC remaining and at 100m range or less. Limit of night LOS should work for the 50mm, assuming they have T and flat (no side angle) shots.

The AT mines go on the causeways and bridge ends as a matter of course. But will not block them seriously in deep snow.

You might blow the bridges.

Mostly, you just put trenches in places near the causeway exits and infantry close assault tanks that cross. If they get across, make lines of infantry positions such that 2 squads are within 30m most places, and 1 is for any place. Harassing MG fire has to try to keep back Russian infantry while the infantry hides.

You can't really move because of the snow. The infantry I mean. It has to be "move" or you get exhausted, and "move" if shot at means rout. So moves are strictly "out of LOS" things.

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If possible place the TRPs where you expect the tanks to pass - bridges, causeways. Tanks can not set up on ice, so I guess they can't move on it, too.

TRPs boost hit percentage for guns that haven't moved during the battle. Very important for the slow moving HC rounds.

@Sergei:

Great. So we resort to plan B) - delay T34s.

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