Jump to content

Tips for playing Soviets?


Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm relatively new to Combat Mission (picked it up last year), but became hooked quickly. I have spent nearly all my time playing the U.S. due to understanding it being a relatively newcomer friendly faction. I have played a good deal of CMFI and CMFB, with a little experience in RT and BFN. I have been rotating through the games, coming around to RT again, and I'm looking at playing the Soviets. The few other times I've played them, I've really struggled with the infantry, though so far I've spent most of my time with partisans (I've seen advice saying to start with small scenarios and work your way up). I know that these formations are relatively low-quality, but I do find that they handle very differently from U.S. G.I.s. The lack of rifle grenades and mortars are what really make the difference (Though, of course, they make up for it in other ways - more PPSHs, real LMGs, etc.).

The manual advises players that they have to think differently playing as the Red Army, with the one-up rule and centralized planning, but I think I'm really struggling to wrap my head around it. As the U.S. I've learned a pretty rudimentary (but functional!) approach... Contact W/scout teams--> Bring up fire support --> destroy enemy -->  Repeat. I don't really think this works as the Soviets, or at least, it hasn't worked as the partisans.

I've also gotten a few more small-scale takeaways from my time with the US, like "German MGs are really scary!" and "Don't engage panzers from the front with shermans!" "Germans like to deploy in reverse slope/covered positions in order to mitigate fire disadvantages!"

TLDR: I'm looking for advice on how to approach engagements as the Soviets, either just tips specific for situations (I.E. X gun on Y tank is really good) or just a general approach to things that might be different from the U.S. Also, if I got any recommendations for scenarios that highlight specific strengths/weaknesses of soviet capabilities I would be very appreciative. I played the "Muddy Affair" scenario in CM:FB and it was very "Educational"... I finally beat it after a lot of trial and error, but I learned a lot in the process.

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My notes for using Sov tactics to beat the Germans/NATO in RT/CW:

Time spent on recon is never wasted.

Time and resources spent killing enemy recon is never wasted. 

Have a plan and execute it. 

The artillery fire plan supports the maneuver plan. The maneuver plan dictates the fire plan and these must be mutually supportive. 

A company of Sov tanks spots better than any single German/NATO tank. If you're fighting a 1:1 tank duel you're doing it wrong. 

Take away the better spotting offered by the German/NATO tanker habit of fighting unbuttoned. Get them heads down to decrease their situational awareness. 

When you attack, attack! Don't poke him with one finger at a time. Make a fist and crush the enemy with overwhelming force. 

Use a platoon to crush a squad > use a company to crush a platoon >> use a battalion to crush a squad. Fair fights are for suckers.

Keep pressing attacks until they aren't feasible anymore, but don't reinforce failure. The Germans/Americans never have enough troops/tanks. 

Just because you have mass doesn't mean the only way forwards is a frontal assault. There are other ways to win that don't involve sticking your dick into the meat grinder until it jams. Recon routes that bypass the enemy, the Germans/NATO never have enough troops/tanks to cover every avenue of approach. Infantry infiltration is a thing.

AT if you're playing the Sov: 
RT: Your best AT weapon is your tanks. Your infantry doesn't have any good AT weapons outside of close assault. Use your infantry to get spots on enemy tanks and relay that info to the tanks. Don't be afraid to dismount tank crews so they can push forward and get their own spots. On the attack push AT guns forward to support the enemy. 
CW: RPGs will knock out a M60 from the front. Your man portable ATGMs (>AT3s) are even more scary. Use infiltration tactics to get the ATGMs forward into range to support attacks. Make sure to protect the carriers since they are stuffed with reloads and make big boom if hit. 

Take your time, don't be in a rush to die. You'll probably run out of people, tanks, and/or ammo before you run out of time. 
 
Urban warfare: 

Don't move in the streets. Mouseholing is optimum, then back gardens, then alleyways. Stay out of the streets. Use supporting weapons to create mouseholes and gaps in walls. 

Don't go in through the front door. If you can arrange it start at the top and clear down. 

Suppress every building that has line of sight to your maneuvering force. If you can't suppress or smoke it don't move that way.  

H
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Halmbarte said:

Time spent on recon is never wasted.

Time and resources spent killing enemy recon is never wasted.

Interesting! Recon and screening is an area I am still developing. I've heard a lot about Soviet emphasis on reconnaissance. With the Americans I tended to shoot first and "ask questions" later.

7 hours ago, Halmbarte said:

A company of Sov tanks spots better than any single German/NATO tank. If you're fighting a 1:1 tank duel you're doing it wrong.

Very much agreed on the last point! Experience with the Americans shows that fighting German armor with 1:1 brute force is for chumps.

8 hours ago, Halmbarte said:

Keep pressing attacks until they aren't feasible anymore, but don't reinforce failure. The Germans/Americans never have enough troops/tanks. 

Just because you have mass doesn't mean the only way forwards is a frontal assault. There are other ways to win that don't involve sticking your dick into the meat grinder until it jams. Recon routes that bypass the enemy, the Germans/NATO never have enough troops/tanks to cover every avenue of approach. Infantry infiltration is a thing.

This is part of where I struggle. In the "F&R Home" mission the stragglers will literally crumble under sustained infantry fire. Up until I saw the infantry contacts streaming across the fields in the back I thought I was actually losing and had never quite achieved "Fire Superiority" on account of there being an MG42 present (shows what I know). I have a hard time sizing up enemy forces and evaluating what I'm up against. I suppose this will come with experience. Infantry infiltration seems intriguing.

8 hours ago, Halmbarte said:

Don't be afraid to dismount tank crews so they can push forward and get their own spots

I've heard this was done IRL with 76mm Shermans before they got muzzle brakes. How does this work mechanically? can you dismount part of your crew (I.E. the commander) to spot for the gunner? Can you dismount one tank in a troop and it will spot for the others? Do you dismount the crew, spot the enemy, then return with the tank? Sorry, my grasp of C2 links is not strong, and I would hate to try this just to get my crew blown up without a scratch even on the tank, though I guess it saves the rear echelon guys the trouble of hosing it out.

All your advice about urban warfare seems very sound and I will keep it in mind the next time I'm playing an attacking force in an urban area. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding dismounting tank crews, game mechanics wise you dismount the entire crew and they move was a unit. Put them on a short fire arc so they don't start busting caps at the enemy with their AK. 

Dismounting the crews isn't w/o risk, but neither is charging out blindly w/o having a clue where the enemy is. 

H

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly I dont handle soviets troops that much differently than I would do with german or american troops.

However their vehicles,especially the cold war ones, have the tendency to loose "spotting battles" against the  western tanks.

So either play against doctrine and keep the commander in the open hatch and/or bring a bunch of them with you to increase their spotting ability.

The Last one though I would advise for every nation. With tank duels you are on a good way of loosing the engagement.

Try to overwhelm the enemy locally with more forces.

 

Facing those big kitties up front is still a bad idea. However you have some toys where they have to rethink if they want to face you. Speaking of JS2 (later variant), JSU Series, SU 100...

Those are some big guns that can make big holes. The downside is that they take time to reload and, as Ive said, the spotting is a bit worse than western tanks.

With a good command line though you can let the infantry do the dirty work to spot the Kraut tanks and let that information reach your Tanks. They will now reveal those Tanks a lot quicker... usually.

 

Dismounting Tank Crews can be advised for all nations and not just for the soviets. However I used this only If I had noone else to do the spotting instead.

 

Note that infantry will "Talk" to nearby friendlies about certain danger.

So If the hatch of a Tank is open and infantry with crucial informations stands besides it or rides on it, they will pass that Info sooner or later to the Tankcommander.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brille said:

Facing those big kitties up front is still a bad idea. However you have some toys where they have to rethink if they want to face you. Speaking of JS2 (later variant), JSU Series, SU 100...

 

The problem* I mostly have with CM CW is the Americans in '79 & '80 vs the T64 or better Sov tanks. It's like the M4 Sherman vs Panther all over again, except the Soviets made a whole bunch of T64s & T72s. It can be pretty disheartening to get multiple solid hits on the from of a T64 just to have it shrug off hits from sabot & TOW. 

H

*And by problem I don't refer to a problem with how the game works, I mean that the US Army (and NATO) would have been in for a total shock when they found out about the composite armor on the T64 & T72 the hard way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Halmbarte said:

The problem* I mostly have with CM CW is the Americans in '79 & '80 vs the T64 or better Sov tanks. It's like the M4 Sherman vs Panther all over again, except the Soviets made a whole bunch of T64s & T72s. It can be pretty disheartening to get multiple solid hits on the from of a T64 just to have it shrug off hits from sabot & TOW. 

H

*And by problem I don't refer to a problem with how the game works, I mean that the US Army (and NATO) would have been in for a total shock when they found out about the composite armor on the T64 & T72 the hard way. 

 

Yeah those soviets tanks can be very frightening and even those bmp too.

In schock force they often are laughable easy to spot and taken out but in cold war without thermals and proper US ifv you get to understand why it was such a leap forward.

 

I almost lost an entire M60 platoon to them once in a battle while they stayed completely hidden.

In the same battle I got to know the capabilities of the T80s and only reached a stalemate with lots of luck and some good hits from the 2 M901 you got.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/12/2024 at 6:40 AM, Brille said:

So either play against doctrine and keep the commander in the open hatch and/or bring a bunch of them with you to increase their spotting ability

This is interesting. I also didn't realize that there was a difference in C2 made by buttoned/unbuttoned commanders. Unbuttoned seems until contact seems the most reasonable to me. Is there an accuracy difference from having the commander opened up as well (Better shot spotting)? What's the 'official' doctrine about this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, TheQuakerOatsGuy said:

This is interesting. I also didn't realize that there was a difference in C2 made by buttoned/unbuttoned commanders. Unbuttoned seems until contact seems the most reasonable to me. Is there an accuracy difference from having the commander opened up as well (Better shot spotting)? What's the 'official' doctrine about this?

There is no aiming advantage as far as I know. "Only" the situational awareness of the tank and its spotting ability rises drastically because the tank commander has obviously a much wider field of view and can use his ears too to determine the direction of incoming shots.

 

Doctrine wise soviet tankers were advised to button up once they have reached their combat area. In contrast western/ German tank commanders often stayed in the open hatch even in the thickest battle to keep the said advantages and to react quickly to incoming threats. Of course that came with the cost of lost lives or injured commanders.

 

However how close the soviets followed that doctrine I dont know. But I read enough books that I can say that they followed it pretty much in the early stages of ww2. This lead sometimes to odd encounters, where soviet tanks rolled past german tanks just a few meters away.

 

With more experienced crews (and better arranged tank interiors) this might have changed in the later stages to a degree maybe.

 

In game you can say that often a Tank that has his commander on the look out will outperform another one that is buttoned up.

 

The good thing for 5men crews in most battletanks is that you have a "spare" commander with you. So even If the original one is hit there will be another one to take his place. Though that one often comes with worse softfactors and you loose the bow MG in the process.

So while I would not count for it it is nice to know. :D

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Brille said:

Doctrine wise soviet tankers were advised to button up once they have reached their combat area. In contrast western/ German tank commanders often stayed in the open hatch even in the thickest battle to keep the said advantages and to react quickly to incoming threats. Of course that came with the cost of lost lives or injured commanders.

I can see why buttoning up is a disadvantage here, especially in the case of the soviets where there's not as many radios to relay information from the infantry to the inside of the tank. I think in practice in CM this might come down to what you expect to go up against. If you're in an infantry support role, I think it makes sense to occasionally trade spotting for crew safety, at least, when there's not a serious antitank threat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/13/2024 at 4:57 PM, Brille said:

In schock force they often are laughable easy to spot and taken out but in cold war without thermals and proper US ifv you get to understand why it was such a leap forward.

As somebody who plays a lot of shock force 2, it's easy to forget that their equipment isn't necessarily bad, just woefully outdated. In CW, against equipment of the same generation, they can be quite scary.

It would have been interesting to see how AFV development would have progressed if history played out differently, I doubt they would have been satisfied with slapping a cheap thermal on a T-72 and pretending it's a next generation tank like the Russians did (to be fair it was probably all they could afford with the implosion of the economy during the 90s).

Edited by Traitor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've touched on the Soviet open/closed hatch fighting in another thread here, but in summary:

As has been pointed out, Soviet doctrine (don't know about modern Russian) was "fight closed up". However, the WW2 experience was that a lot of tankers realised that that just didn't work very well in practice, and stopped doing it as they got experienced. That's been a recurring theme I've seen in several Red Army tank crew autobiographies. TC arrives at his unit, fights buttoned up, is told by his crew "you'll die just as dead if a Panzer/PaK you didn't spot destroys the tank as you'll be by small arms fire", heeds said advice or doesn't and realises that yes, he's not seeing much at all.

Typically all AFVs in CM have inferior spotting with their crew turned in until thermal sights become a thing. In the WW2 titles I keep tanks unbuttoned until within roughly within 300m of enemy dismounts or built up areas. A tank with a dead TC is handicapped, but a couple of terrified survivors with a burning, exploding tank are substantially more so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hence the overpressure systems (gas can't get into the crew compartment if air is always being pushed out). I don't know just how long that's been around though.

I would assume that wasn't the only or the original reason for Soviet doctrine advising to fight buttoned up though, since it was common doctrine long before shutting the hatches would protect the crew from gas attacks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Anthony P. said:

a lot of tankers realised that that just didn't work very well in practice, and stopped doing it as they got experienced. That's been a recurring theme I've seen in several Red Army tank crew autobiographies.

That is interesting.  Have often wondered if the fact that (thanks to historical hindsight) "we know better" means that we are playing (the Russians especially) in an ahistoric manner.  Eg: Are players doing the "senseless" human wave attacks that we read so much about?  

If experienced Soviet tankers did fight open-hatched, then that probably makes a huge difference in play.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've definitely seen vids of some people going "hurr durr human wave attacksR'soviet".

It ought to be said though that overall, Soviet tank crews did have a propensity for fighting buttoned up during the war (even in armies which trained to fight unbuttoned, there were commanders who complained that their tank crews much too often didn't (see remarks about welding Sherman hatches open)). Based on personal accounts though, it simply wasn't unheard of or even uncommon for Soviet tank commanders to simply just learn what actually worked best instead of slavishly following official doctrine to the letter, something I'd wager goes for most militaries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...