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Principles in deploying a russian btn

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Please point me to the relevant threads, if you can.

I've a Russian Btn, mid 43' about to be attacked by an opponent on a map 1200m wide and 3000m deep.

Theory is I set up my btn then we fight a series of 20-or-so turn battles where we import the troops each time so it's a little like an operation but represents ongoing combat.

These battles will be infantry and artillery only - presumed to be a supporting attack along the flank of a push by an armored division.

At this sketchy point, I have assumed I'll have build a couple of strongpoint with wire and trenches further back and some smaller efforts forward with just foxholes and wire.

An aside question might be what is a sensible set up for a front line Ruskie btn defendin a sector of the front? Many mines? Much wire?

Help eagerly sought! smile.gif

Thanks in advance

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The work is already done for you. Go to TPG and download Kursk Assault and Kursk Assault II. Everything is in place and there is an explanation of how to fight the position. Use artillery and hide until the last moment.



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No armor means you don't have to think through the AT net part of the defense - the real set up involves "weaving" that into the "soft", anti-infantry defense.

Your basic positions are company strongpoints and heavy weapons nests. With an AT network, also AT gun nests - which you can have here, too, as direct fire HE chucker positions.

A platoon may be subtracted from any given company strongpoint to (1) screen the front with an outpost line, or (2) support one of the heavy weapons or gun positions against close infantry assault.

You can have 2 up and 1 back or the reverse. I'd probably go with 1 up on that limited a frontage, but take your pick.

The next principle is that the strongpoints do not cover the entire frontage, only portions of it. That is what makes them "strong". The areas outside the strongpoints are covered by (1) obstacles, (2) ranged fire from the heavy weapons and guns and (3) registered artillery.

If you use an OP line, its only purpose is to give intel and warning about the direction of the attack. Do not expect it to hold if actually assaulted and do not attempt to reinforce it. Personally I keep such things to a minimum - their real tactical role was front security in quiet times, and the men hung out in them have too short a life expectancy to be really useful in a major fight. Minimum means like an tank hunter or two and one ATR, maybe 1-2 DP LMGs - just a few eyeballs in other words.

The guts of the defense are the infantry heavy weapons positions, and the gun positions (the latter especially when facing armor, it is true).

They belong around 400 yards behind the front if LOS permits, for the first of them. Put others farther back and use the full width. The weapons are Maxim MGs and mortars in full defilade with spotters, also FOs and sharpshooters and ATRs. As already mentioned, then can have a single platoon added for close security, full strength or light a squad.

I find in CMBB that more than 2 MMGs in the same heavy weapons position is counterproductive - spread is better - and my preferred mortar groups are also small, a single 82mm or a pair of 50mms. Then just makes more of these nests. Their role is to cover all open ground areas with *stealthy*, ranged fire. Meaning, not big targets given for reply fire.

Set up that network first. Next the AT net would go in, with the idea of covering close approached to the heavy weapons nests and best lines of tank advance. In your case, instead sight guns (long 76mm, mountain, or infantry 76mm on map) to see covered areas close enough to see and firefight the MG positions. The idea is, MG fire takes the open, HE traps pound cover when men bunch up in it.

Next create a line of denial ahead of the first row of heavy weapons positions. The idea is to prevent enemy infantry from getting within about 200 meters of them. A line of denial doesn't mean a line of infantry, it means a mixed sequence of "traps" of different types strung across the frontage, with an eye to denying all useful covered approaches.

One "trap" is "you just ran into a full company strongpoint". Another is "you just ran into an AP minefield. Another is "this clump of woods is owned by and operated by the Red Army Artillery Butchers Brigade". Another is a "dummy" position with just a string of wire and a 2 squad position with HQ, because you can't cover everything. Or 2 squads but they are pioneers with demo charges, plus hiding FT. He doesn't know which will be which, and can try door number 1, or door number 2, or...

The company positions themselves need a higher level HQ, 2 full platoons, any leftover squads and often one each from the full platoons handed to the higher HQ. Internally, 2 up 1 back positioning is the most common. The back position should be able to face about in place to become a 360 defense if passed by. Useful additions are a few ATRs and tank hunters, and in the early war an ampulet to give some AT ability - but not so relevant in your situation.

The company position should have trenches. Some of the MG and gun positions it helps, especially to avoid him guessing where the fire is coming from and plastering the available cover, but range covers a multitude of difficulties and the shooters back there are stealthy.

All the squad infantry is hiding initially. HQs can be "eyes up" with short arcs, to get spots.

One company strongpoint should *not* have LOS to another. If it falls, you do not want it turning into a trench cover firebase to take the next. Use hill dividers, forest treelines etc. If LOS cannot be avoided at least avoid also being anywhere close - like, stay 400-500 yards away minimum. The heavy weapon positions should be back far enough to remain sound or unspotted when a company position falls, but *should* have LOS.

The idea is to invite the attacker to lay seige to a large, not a small body of infantry, well dug in, or to bypass it. If he wades in, stay and die to the last man, just selling themselves as dearly as possible. No bug outs under fire. If he bypasses, stay quiet until someone who did so looks vulnerable, then open up with the nearest two platoons. Leave one "quiet" to have fresh shooters to reply to a close assault.

As for artillery, register in cover not immediately occupied by friendly infantry. The FOs should have LOS to open areas but can reach it by "shifts", counting on the MGs to slow men trying to cross open. Avoid firing off all your artillery early. If you like, a single conscript FO can "map fire" soon after the start to "spoil" part of the advance - rockets are also fine for that, though a bit expensive. But it isn't strictly necessary.

Light 82mm mortar *FO*s are "reactive" in time terms, but hit very lightly and are recovered from rapidly. The best use of them is to suppress an enemy infantry force at the moment of close contact with a company strongpoint, not firing into otherwise uncovered areas, especially not early.

The on map mortars have enemy overwatch as their main mission - guns especially. Secondary mission, enemy HMG teams that set up in cover close enough to worry you and to be fully spotted. Stay out of open ground yourself, and MG fire from clear back at the start line should not be too big a problem - guns are, though, and your mortars need to shut them up.

In the overall conduct of the defense, you are not trying to keep the enemy out. You want to let pieces of him in, and have them hit traps that can chew a platoon at a time to pieces. You aren't even trying to keep him out of your chosen infantry strongpoints. You just require him to pay pint for pint in blood to take any of them.

He'll wear out and lose his support weapon, ammunition supply, and fresh good order infantry "wind", and clock time, before he makes it to the back of your defense. In operational contexts, a second echelon formation slides in and sets up the same all over again right behind, in the time it takes to chew through the first one. Well, in tactical terms, those are layers 4 through 6, but you get the point. (Sometimes bypassed or broken forward elements would escape and evade after dark).

As an aside, allowing full ammo resupply after every 20 minutes of action is rather unrealistic and will stress this (or any) defense.

A note on counterattacks. Local counterattacks down to the smallest scale were part of German defense doctrine. Don't try it here as the Russians. They also used counterattack, but expected it to be delivered either by mech arm forces, or by a larger infantry formation not previously committed, on a limited part of the front. Not the immediate front line defenders. They are as deep in their holes as they can get and staying that way.

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