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Early advice on battle techniques in Red Thunder


c3k
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Gents,

After months of exhaustive East Front action, I thought I'd save your men some blood and grief. Yeah. Surprising, I know.

Important point: If you're the Germans, try not to fight the Soviets in the forests.

Carry on.

Pah, I'll take on your Soviets in the forest, c3k !

My men fear no blood or grief. :)

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Did I say "fear"? My men willingly plunge into the wilderness; through the thickets, attempting to grapple with the wily slav. His advantage is that he is closer to nature. The woods protect and shelter him. He can lay in a mud bog for days on end waiting for the chance to unleash a burst from his papasha into my brave soldaten.

I've lost several battalions, swallowed into the vastness of the virgin forest. I will continue to send them in, until I can walk from one end to the other without ever having trod on nought but the backs of those who have fallen. It will be...gloooorrrious.

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Gents,

After months of exhaustive East Front action, I thought I'd save your men some blood and grief. Yeah. Surprising, I know.

Important point: If you're the Germans, try not to fight the Soviets in the forests.

Carry on.

Now the bad news: The part of Belarus where Operation Bagration happened is mostly forests. :-)

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Thankfully, White Russia is famously lacking in deep forests. Oh wait...

My favorite from the period, though, is that in the late spring of 1944 when the Germans were trying to guess whether the next big offensive would happen north of the marshes or south of them, they discounted the north option on the grounds that the terrain there was unsuited to major armor operations. The Germans went through the entire area in less than 2 weeks in 1941, in about the most successful major armor operation in history. And there you have it - the idiocy of arrogance, in a walnutshell.

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Gents,

After months of exhaustive East Front action, I thought I'd save your men some blood and grief. Yeah. Surprising, I know.

Important point: If you're the Germans, try not to fight the Soviets in the forests.

Carry on.

I was expecting something like don't s*** in the woods.

Are we talking about Soviet SMG units? IIRC they had SMG batallions/companies. Something unique to their Army.

What about normal units that used rifles or not so extensively equiped with SMGs.

My h2h experience with fighting in heavily wooded terrain is it's slow, bloody and like urban combat significantly weighted towards the defender all else being equal.

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I was expecting something like don't s*** in the woods.

Unless you're a Pope. Or is it a bear?

Are we talking about Soviet SMG units? IIRC they had SMG batallions/companies. Something unique to their Army.

What about normal units that used rifles or not so extensively equiped with SMGs.

My h2h experience with fighting in heavily wooded terrain is it's slow, bloody and like

urban combat significantly weighted towards the defender all else being equal.

What I've seen of SMG troops in ChrisND's YouTubes is that they're freakin' lethal, inflicting 3 or 4 to one losses on defenders waiting for them in woods. The AAR from Bil and Elvis seems to have similar results even with "rifle" infantry, because the "assault" team is 4 guys with PPSh, and if you have three squads working together, that's going to chop up a lot of Landser, even if the rifles and LMG teams are back beyond sight in the woods.

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Yes, the Soviet SMG squads with all SMGs (or sometimes all SMGs excepting one DP LMG) are the undisputed Lords of the Woods. But even regular Soviet squads generally have at least 2, and more commonly 3-4 SMGs, which means they substantially outmatch typical German formations in short range, highly mobile firepower. Which is, of course, exactly what you want in dense terrain like heavy woods or urban terrain.

The one weakness of Soviet infantry in close terrain is that they have nothing like the Panzerfaust or Panzershreck, which means you can get quite a bit closer to Soviet infantry with German armor without much risk. Light armor is a different story as ATRs are quite dangerous to anything with plates <25mm. So with the Germans, you try to follow your infantry very closely with your armor to offer support. This, of course, brings with it its own set of challenges.

It's also true that combat in dense terrain generally favors the non-moving side to a much more extreme degree than in open terrain, and this usually means the defender. In a short-range, full-auto fight, whoever gets first burst off usually wins.

EDIT to ADD: Yes, there are some MP44s in German units. Not a lot, though, so Soviet infantry almost always has the short range full-auto advantage.

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I also suspect by this time a lot more German troops were using the Russian SMGs than what is depicted in the documentary footage. I bet alot would have a Kar98 and carted a Russian SMG if they came across one.

Hard to say. Having an extra SMG or two in a squad would certainly be handy, and there's no disputing that this was done at least to a degree. But picking up enemy weapons also brings with it the challenges of procuring and carrying ammunition for the weapon. The Germans did covert some PPsh to 9mm but AIUI this was not a heck of a lot, so most Landsers who picked up a PPsh would probably have to scrounge ammo off the battlefield for it.

And there is the weight issue. PPsh isn't especially heavy, but it's a lot heavier than the typical modern SMGs -- about 8lb., only slightly less than a k98. And bear in mind that German riflemen were already saddled with carrying enough ammo to supply the squad's MG42(s) (a hungry beast if ever there was one). The weight issue is further compounded by the fact that general the Germans were seriously short motorized transport at this point in the war, so most of their infantry was getting around on the Mk. 1 fuss. An extra 5 kilos or so may not seem like a heck of a lot, until you have to carry it on a 40k march...

So did some German soldiers pick up PPsh? Certainly. Was this common enough to justify inclusion in CMRT? Unproven, at best.

And further bear in mind that there is similar evidence that the Soviets made substantial use of captured MG42s. So if you're going to give the Germans a few PPshes here and there, to be fair the Soviets should get some MG42s...

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Is CMRT forests/trees considerably different from CMBN? What would a "typical" russian wilderness forest density be? 1-2-3 trees/Tile? Any new forest ground tiles in there?

Well...give me some german mortar support and I´ll make your russian sub machine gunners life in the forest most uncomfortable. :D ...unless off course CMRT adds some overhead protection for foxholes and trenches at last.

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Remember in my AAR my main concern was at the linear danger areas, the open areas between the wood masses. That is where the Germans need to be with their high ROF LMGs and their rifles... the SMGs have to close to be most effective.

Ken, I'll take the Germans, you take the Soviets and we'll do a little test game to explore some of this theory. Two German platoons on defense v a Soviet SMG company on the attack. Up for it? ;)

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Is CMRT forests/trees considerably different from CMBN? What would a "typical" russian wilderness forest density be? 1-2-3 trees/Tile? Any new forest ground tiles in there?

Well...give me some german mortar support and I´ll make your russian sub machine gunners life in the forest most uncomfortable. :D ...unless off course CMRT adds some overhead protection for foxholes and trenches at last.

As announced elsewhere , there is a new "saplings" set of tree tiles that add the option for smaller trees in addition to large ones.

I think the biggest difference is that map/scenario designers have gotten a lot more experienced and better at making believable forests. Tree and ground cover density on the forest maps is highly variable -- clusters of heavy woods and dense trees, but lots of more lightly forested areas and small clearings as well.

Net result is that LOS/LOF in woods is often extremely unpredictable. It's mostly short, but from any given point there may be small arcs where LOF is possible out to 100m or more.

Very realistic, IMHO. In all the forests I have trod through, in places the foliage might be so dense you can barely see your outstretched hand, but a few steps in any given direction might yield a window through which you can see quite a ways.

And yes, the German infantry does have their own set of advantages. MG42s are still kings of the mid- to long-range engagement. As Bil mentions, if the German player can interdict open areas with MG42 fire, it's very hard going for Soviet infantry unless they can bring up armor support.

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I think by this period the German Army on the EF was largely an ad hoc affair. Groups were formed, dissolved and reformed at will and any TOE was disregarded. The German soldier knew the war was lost, but also sensed what lay next if and when the Russians got to the homeland, that produced a different type of fanaticism and willingness to be flexible.

I was also thinking along the lines of picking up a weapon from a dead soldier and using it until you ran out of ammo and just throwing it aside. There was no shortage of bodies with weapons on the EF and just pointing a smg and shooting in the general direction of the enemy to lay down suppressive fire is quite useful and effective in a short distance firefight.

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I think by this period the German Army on the EF was largely an ad hoc affair. Groups were formed, dissolved and reformed at will and any TOE was disregarded. The German soldier knew the war was lost, but also sensed what lay next if and when the Russians got to the homeland, that produced a different type of fanaticism and willingness to be flexible.

I was also thinking along the lines of picking up a weapon from a dead soldier and using it until you ran out of ammo and just throwing it aside. There was no shortage of bodies with weapons on the EF and just pointing a smg and shooting in the general direction of the enemy to lay down suppressive fire is quite useful and effective in a short distance firefight.

The problem I think you will find is generally the opportunities to grab a Russian SMG aren't high (even assuming BF would allow for buddy aiding the enemy). Odds are if there are a number of dead SMG guys, they are at some distance from your troops and your MGs did the work. If they get close, as Ken noted, odds are your guys are not in possession of the battlefield any longer. :P

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Remember in my AAR my main concern was at the linear danger areas, the open areas between the wood masses. That is where the Germans need to be with their high ROF LMGs and their rifles... the SMGs have to close to be most effective.

Ken, I'll take the Germans, you take the Soviets and we'll do a little test game to explore some of this theory. Two German platoons on defense v a Soviet SMG company on the attack. Up for it? ;)

Always! In fact, as I told my men this, three of them charged off into the distance, screaming "urrah, urrah" as they disappeared over the rise.

;)

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