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Soviet training missions / Cold War doctrine


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Posted (edited)

Whoever tried Soviet training missions from scenarios knows how potent that can be if well executed (well, under ideal circumstances). Here's a short US Army educational video on  Soviet Breakthrough tactics.

I am sure there is some guy in the US Army Education branch slapping his forehead thinking "I wish I had Combat Mission Cold War" 4 decades ago.

 

 

Side question. This video, nor Soviet training scenarios, mention it but hear me out:

The Infantry company follows behind the tanks and shouldn't deploy if not forced. However, once they have to deploy to take over some key terrain, is the second wave supposed to wait or they just run over positions the first company is attacking? To complicate further, infantry company is expected to lose some vehicles so how do they follow the advance? When is the batallion supposed to reorganize?

Edited by mbarbaric
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Posted (edited)

I admit am not an expert, but from reading it seems that the Soviets expected the first wave to get decimated while degrading the enemy, then the 2nd wave assaults through (and 3rd wave continues after the 2nd wave is decimated...)  At that point they should be through the enemy and can spread out to the right and left to get behind the enemy's flanks and disrupt his rear.

ie:  A very fixed and rigid attack plan designed for conscripts.

Edited by Erwin
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So, not necessarily. If the situation warranted it, then certainly, but there's no reason to expect that all deliberate attacks will be meat grinders - if everything is working as planned then the enemy can't put up a reasonable defence - there's a reason why the doctrine of Active Defence was a way to "Lose a battle slowly", and that may well have been the best they could do in the period depicted in the first half of CMCW.

The structure is certainly simple, as befits a conscript army, but there was room for tactical flexibility, particularly outside of the deliberate attack on line (and naturally the fire missions and especially operational complexity were well developed).

 

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1 minute ago, domfluff said:

but there's no reason to expect that all deliberate attacks will be meat grinders

Attacked with 1 million men the Seelow Heights. Lost 30000 men it was not a decimation 30000 is 3%. The Germans defended with 100000 men and 1% got killed. This one was the mother of breakthrough battles. Zhukov carried out the foreign politics of his country, that is beat the Western Allies to Berlin. Terrible figures I am certain you will agree, but the Soviet infantryman was not a zombie. 

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57 minutes ago, mbarbaric said:

Side question. This video, nor Soviet training scenarios, mention it but hear me out:

The Infantry company follows behind the tanks and shouldn't deploy if not forced. However, once they have to deploy to take over some key terrain, is the second wave supposed to wait or they just run over positions the first company is attacking? To complicate further, infantry company is expected to lose some vehicles so how do they follow the advance? When is the batallion supposed to reorganize?

The preference was always to remain mounted - it is one of the reasons the BMP was invented and this is a truism across whatever level of echeloning you want to take the discussion to.  As to a battalion reorg - yes of course this would happen but essentially once a unit has culminated it will reorg on whatever objective it is on and the attack will be resumed/maintained by a subsequent echelon.

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Posted (edited)

From the American side they saw the battlefield as presenting them with a 'target rich' environment. The Soviets looked at the same battlefield and saw overwhelming offensive firepower deployed. Sure, you've got a dozen enemy tanks in front of you like a shooting gallery but they're all shooting back - at you!

Edited by MikeyD
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42 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

From the American side they saw the battlefield as presenting them with a 'target rich' environment. The Soviets looked at the same battlefield and saw overwhelming offensive firepower deployed. Sure, you've got a dozen enemy tanks in front of you like a shooting gallery but they're all shooting back - at you!

I am baffled how much stick soviets get for their approach. I appreciate it even more now that I've learned more and saw how the all combined arms fit together. although, soviets really miss helicopters in  this game. hope new engine reslves air units.

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6 hours ago, mbarbaric said:

The Infantry company follows behind the tanks and shouldn't deploy if not forced. However, once they have to deploy to take over some key terrain, is the second wave supposed to wait or they just run over positions the first company is attacking? To complicate further, infantry company is expected to lose some vehicles so how do they follow the advance? When is the batallion supposed to reorganize?

Some great feedback from Combat and Dom which I am going to piggyback on. 

The best way to think about the Soviet advance is leapfrog. A motor rifle battalion that is forced to deploy/dismount its infantry will be bypassed by follow on forces which will continue the momentum of the advance. The dismounted battalion will consolidate and reorganize itself and will eventually fall back into the leapfrog chain moving forward. Another way of thinking about it would be a conveyor belt.

Its important to remember that the Soviets did not assume that their combat formations would have been obliterated in frontal assaults and that they would just overcome the enemy with sheer numbers. Overwhelming an enemy by weight of firepower is not the same as overwhelming the enemy by weight of bodies. No one thinks the latter is viable.
Its also important to mention that Soviet doctrine is actually quite flexible. It is supposed to flow like water, avoiding serious opposition while finding and exploiting weak points, all the while hammering enemy positions with ungodly amounts of artillery support. The second training mission is meant to show this off a bit more, as the whole battle is a bit more freeform, and the Soviet commander needs to develop and shape the battlefield on the fly, without all of his combat power from the start. 

18 minutes ago, mbarbaric said:

although, soviets really miss helicopters in  this game.

So, if you are commenting about how air units in general are handled, then I do agree to an extent. In the case of Soviet CAS, all of it was to be provided by the gunships. But it is important to remember that there were only a limited number of helicopters to go around, relative to all of the ground combat formations. Helicopters would only have been committed to supporting attacks considered to be of the highest priority. This is the reason I did not include them in the first training scenario, as the scenario is trying to depict a very simple, ideal, typical deliberate attack by a motor rifle/tank battalion. In that type of typical deliberate attack, helicopter CAS would not be expected. 
If it was a river crossing or another tactical problem that is much more inherently difficult, then helo CAS would be much more likely to show up. 

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Setting an actual helicopter down on a CM-size map within range of an enemy with AA assets wound be suicidal. Helicopter transport can be simulated, though. Enemy reinforcements arrive - a blocking force to our rear is jeopardizing our supply lines. Call them paratroopers or call them helo-borne infantry, the bottom line is you've got light infantry on the map. I went with that narrative for two CMSF2 scenarios.

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I like that video. It would be nice to have the 2S1 122mm SP gun on-map in the modern CM titles at some point, as the video states that they were to be used in direct fire against ATGM's. Could throw in the 2S3 as well...

I suppose the Soviet tanks' smoke laying capacity would be too hard to code, but it seems like such an important capability for them. 

Kind of funny that the Soviets get some frightening Stravinsky as background music and the US Army gets a sort of wandering porno jazz theme. 

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