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Favorite/ Easier Force


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This is a very juvenile question I know but I’ve been reading the forums and gather that it seems most people disagree with my assertion. So the question is which force do you find the easiest to play with Rus/Germ and which one is your favorite. I know the first question is complex because it depends on which force in what quantity specifically. But the question is in general.

 

Personally I find in this timeframe the Russians are generally easier to play as. Armor is on par generally and I believe the Russian infantry is far superior. As far as my favorite, I lean slightly more towards the Rus.

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For me it's a dead heat. I enjoy playing both sides, with all of their inherent strengths and weaknesses.

If forced to choose I'd pick Germans as favorite, mostly down to their machine guns and top-tier armor, which I find more interesting (but not necessarily better) than the Russian tanks. Their advantages in optics, command and control and the aforementioned weaponry swings the vote. Command delay is not a thing in CMx2, which would swing it even more.

In 1944, the two sides are pretty well-matched from an equipment point of view, even if it's dissimilar in some ways. Germans tend to feel like a sharper, more surgical, but more brittle option than the Russians do. So in Combat Mission it comes down to scenario design, and often the real-world advantages one side may have had are less evident in what we play in this game. It's tactical of course. If Combat Mission were operational or even strategical, then things would perhaps look different.

For me, the word 'balance' has a negative connotation when it comes to war gaming. There's a sense that balance is a thing to strive for in scenario design, and while I get it, I think it serves to skew perspectives. Balance in (single player) historical wargaming should not be a priority in my view. It's OK to face difficult odds, or have no chance at all. The lack-of-balance should be a feature too, and if it was more woven in to scenario design I think I might have a different perspective on the subject of Russian vs German in Red Thunder.

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Both historically, as well as from a gaming perspective, I'd say the main issue is less of which force is better/easier to use as much as which side has more variability in their options. Let's take a look at how each side stacks up:

Infantry

Although the Germans do have their good machine-guns, almost all Soviet squads have a higher complement of automatic weapons overall, and their mix of light MGs and SMGs will usually overwhelm the typical German infantry unit that still is mostly filled out with soldiers equipped with Kr 98 rifles. If the German unit is equipped with StG 44s (i.e. Begleit, Sturm & Volksgrenadiers) then the balance swings in their favour, but most units do not have StG 44s. Although the German infantry does have a distinct edge in anti-tank weapons (Panzerfausts/Panzerschrecks are far superior to anti-tank rifles), most of the time it is fighting other infantry and not tanks, and so I'd give Soviet infantry the advantage overall. 

Mechanized Infantry

This definitely goes to the Germans, with a catch. The German halftrack units have an excellent array of weapons and vehicles that gives them a considerable degree of flexibility on the battlefield. The Germans also have lots of special vehicles (e.g. AA vehicles) that the Soviets have no equivalent to. However, it should be remembered that both historically and from a gaming perspective, most German infantry (and even mechanized infantry for that matter) did not possess that many halftracks and other specialized vehicles. So this advantage usually doesn't mean all that much.

Armour

This comparison is interesting. From a purely technical standpoint, Panzer IV < T-34/85 < Panther, and Tiger < IS-2 < King Tiger. Thus, again, although the most powerful German armour is technically the "best", the Soviets have standard issue tanks/assault guns that outclass the more frequently encountered German armour (which is already rare enough as is). So I'd give this one to the Soviets as well, although only from mid-1944 onwards. 

In a nutshell, I'd say being the Germans is easier when you have the best they have to offer. A force equipped with Panthers, halftrack equipped infantry (especially Sturmgrenadiers), Sdkfz 251/21 AA vehicles plus armoured cars/scout halftracks represents a very powerful armoured fist that ought to be reckoned with even in the last days of the war. However the bread-and-butter Soviet complement of T-34/85s, IS-2s and SMG equipped infantry will usually be more than enough to deal with your average German infantry/armour. So I'd say that, for the period RT covers, the Soviets are easier to play when averaged across the board, but whenever the Germans can assemble the best mechanized elements they've got then they can absolutely tip the scales in their favour. 

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45 minutes ago, pintere said:

Mechanized Infantry

 

This definitely goes to the Germans, with a catch. The German halftrack units have an excellent array of weapons and vehicles that gives them a considerable degree of flexibility on the battlefield. The Germans also have lots of special vehicles (e.g. AA vehicles) that the Soviets have no equivalent to. However, it should be remembered that both historically and from a gaming perspective, most German infantry (and even mechanized infantry for that matter) did not possess that many halftracks and other specialized vehicles. So this advantage usually doesn't mean all that much.

In my research of a couple panzer divisions, only one battalion out of the four were equipped with halftracks. The other three were motorized.

I forgot how many mechanized battalions a SS panzer division had. They had six infantry battalions instead of the normal four.

Edited by Artkin
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I personally find the soviets to complete azz kickers. Talking specifically about the guards formations here. Each rifle company comes with 6 AT rifles, two machineguns + three more from the weapons company. Each platoon has four squads of infantry, a sniper, and the hq. There are plentiful amounts of boots. And you dont have six or seven man machinegun teams like the Germans.......

As for the armor, as said, the Soviet standard issue armor is leaps and bounds better than the German. It's cheaper, the 85mm gun (On the T34/85 specifically...) is often  enough to flat out penetrate panther upper front hull/glacias under 1000m.

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16 minutes ago, Artkin said:

It's cheaper, the 85mm gun (On the T34/85 specifically...) is often  enough to flat out penetrate panther upper front hull/glacias under 1000m.

Lower hull and turret, but not the glacis plate. You need an IS-2 for that.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B
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That must be a Panther G. The Russian 85mm cannon normally cannot penetrate the Panther glacis plate at any range. But the G series has "occasional manufacturing flaws" that allow hits that normally would not penetrate the upper front hull to randomly penetrate. I don't know the exact probability, I would guess around 10% or so.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B
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8 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

 But the G series has "occasional manufacturing flaws" that allow hits that normally would not penetrate the upper front hull to randomly penetrate. I don't the exact probability, I would guess around 10% or so.

Ah another surprise never mentioned in the manual.

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10 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

That must be a Panther G. The Russian 85mm cannon normally cannot penetrate the Panther glacis plate at any range. But the G series has "occasional manufacturing flaws" that allow hits that normally would not penetrate the upper front hull to randomly penetrate. I don't the exact probability, I would guess around 10% or so.

Brittle armour plate and it looks like it wasn't just late Ausf G's, here's an Ausf A with a chunk missing:

vtq1tdospt821.jpg

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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25 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

It should affect Kingtigers, Jagdtigers, Jagdpanthers and Jagdpanzers too IIRC.

Probably, but it doesn't. It's all based on research Lorrin Bird did 20 years ago. The data he found was mostly specific to Panthers so they get the special treatment.

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