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Noobie Seeks Clarification on Russian dis/advantages


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" What are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Soviets "

I have heard that the Russians are handicapped in game by:

- Tanks with the big guns like 122 or 152 guns can’t knock out German tanks if there is no penetration. You would think something like a big HE explosion alone would knock out or kill the crew and cause major damage

- T34 tanks can’t penetrate the front of the later Stug III tanks when it should at least give partial penetration.

- The 45 mm gun on say the BA10 has too low a penetration rating compared to the T 60 light tank which has an identical gun.

I wondered if anyone could tell me if these are true or not and what other problems there may be that should influence a Russian players force selection prior to battle?

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Originally posted by auto:

" What are the main advantages and disadvantages of the Soviets "

I have heard that the Russians are handicapped in game by:

[underrated big guns, 80mm StuGs, something I hadn't heard about the 45mm]

These seem to be points in which Russian kit in the game does worse than its expected performance (and I would add that the Russian 85mm seem under-rated, too). One might also add places where German kit performs better in the game than one might expect; air-cooled SFMGs having higher firepower ratings than water-cooled ones, German bolt-action rifles reaching to 500m when Soviet ones for some reason don't, and the PzGr 40 round for the 50mm L/60 not bulging the cartridge-case and rendering the gun inoperative every time it's fired. Finally, the excessive effects of large-calibre HE rounds seem to favour the Germans, as they have the 15cm sIG in their force-mix, and the Sovs can never pick 122mm or 152mm weapons in the direct-fire role despite the fact that it was done historically.

However, this isn't really the "advantages and disadvantages of the Soviets" for force selection, this is a bunch of quibbles about perceived historical effectiveness.

For most QBs, I would tend to favour the staple weaponry that tends to be thought of as typically Sov:

-- A good, cheap, general-purpose MBT in the T-34. Use them en masse.

-- Good guns. The 76mm field guns are excellent tank-killers early war, and usually cheap; the 76mm IG is useful, mobile and usually cheap; the 57mm AT gun is a great hole-puncher, and the long 45mm is not to be sneezed at for side shots right until the war's end.

-- In the early war, some extremely hard-to-kill heavy tanks in the KV series.

-- 120mm mortars -- usually cheap, big bangs, and not as unresponsive as most things that size.

-- SMG infantry -- don't muck about at a distance, get stuck in close. Also benefit from Soviet 7.62mm SMGs being made unaccountably much better than German 9mm ones.

-- Most infantry anyway -- big sections (section size doesn't appear to matter much in real life, but it does in CM), plenty of LMGs from mid-war, and a good few SMGs too. Also benefit from the "Human Wave" rule, which applies only to the Sovs.

-- PTRs. Yes, I know they are a joke when used against MBTs, but it is often nice to have ranged anti-vehicle fire against light vehicles, of which the Germans have plenty (recce vehicles, light Panzerjagers and SP sIGs, half-tracks carrying all sorts of things), even if it isn't all that effective. Use at least three on any single target.

-- RPG-equipped tank hunter teams. Once the RPG-43 grenade comes in, it can be fiercely effective if a tank is foolish enough to get close. There is something deeply satisfactory about zapping an opponent's Tiger with one, especially when the bailed-out crew sneak up to the nearest available cover where the lurking tank-killers polish them off with SMGs.

All the best,

John.

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The Russians biggest single advantage is the power of their infantry against other infantry, particularly in terrain that favors close approach (woods interiors, built up city e.g.). They can exploit this and their other advantages to decimate the German infantry with HE, and then overwhelm what is left with superior infantry. It is thematic for Russians to try to win the infantry war, while fighting the armor war on a shoestring, in other words. The more cover there is, the more promising that approach is.

The PPsH is the best SMG in the game. Full SMG squads are very cheap - the 7 man mech variety particularly so. The 9 man full company variety can be used split. Ammo "wind" is limited but they kill plenty before they go dry. Only secret is to always use short arcs to prevent waste of ammo at 100m ranges and higher. 70-80m is a good distance.

There are also several 1 LMG, 3 SMG varieties with good ammo, the most flexible infantry in the game. Early that is Recon A. In late 1943 and early 1944, the type 1943 infantry has it. (Earlier they have a less useful 4x9 squad arrangement, with more LMGs but lower ammo).

Pioneers have low firepower but high ammo and demo charges. Before the RPG equipped tank hunters appear in mid 1943, pioneers are the only adequate Russian anti-tank infantry, due to their demo charges, range 30m. Affordable if you buy a company and split them into 3 groups each with an HQ and 2 squads. In a small fight, you can take one "regimental" 2-squad platoon instead.

Starting in July of 1943, Russian tank hunters get access to the RPG-43 antitank grenade. 2/3rds of THs taken will have them, usually 1 but sometimes 2-4. These are extremely effective if used by unspotted units from hiding. Range is 40m. The other 1/3rd will have only useless molotovs. Consider them "dummies" and use them as listening posts and scouts.

Air power is significantly overmodeled in CM, particularly the anti-armor power of strafing attacks. And the single biggest beneficiary of that generous modeling is the IL-2 Sturmovik, the standard varieties with 23mm cannons. They fire twice per strafing pass for up to 6 passes, enemy Flak permitting. With extreme effect on any vehicle less than a Tiger. Their bombs and rockets before the strafing are dangerous to infantry and light armor. Put one of them up against armored Panzergrenadiers without Flak sometime, and you will see what I mean.

Very large HE is overmodeled in CM, against infantry. Each side has ways they can exploit that. The Russian ways require definite skills but can be very effective when done right. The two main methods are "map fire" by cheap but high caliber FOs, and direct fire from assault guns.

By "map fire" I mean FO fire missions pre-planned on turn 1, then delayed for some appropriate minute using the Q key. It is not allowed in meeting engagements, and always suffers from lack of intel at the moment it has to be planned. But if you predict enemy locations accurately, it can be as effective as called fire. The Russian trick is to take FOs with only conscript quality (to reduce the cost) and then use them only for map fire, which is basically unaffected by FO quality level. (Reload times between flights of shells are slightly longer, that is all).

The best modules for this are the 300mm rockets, which are quite inaccurate but so powerful it does not much matter, and the 152mm and 122mm guns (not howitzers). These cost ~135, 64, and 70 points respectively as conscripts, with rariety off (which Russians definitely want as a setting - "standard" rariety is not standard, but very pro-German).

The assault gun method has a different problem. German armor is typically very hard to deal with (because they get types with front armor thick enough to stop most Russian AT rounds, with guns capable of killing pretty much anything), and they also possess excellent towed and infantry AT. The survival of any Russian AFV long enough to deliver its full ammo load is therefore problematic. It takes careful driving, "keyhole" tactics (limiting LOS to only the target area by e.g. sighting out from between 2 houses), patience, etc.

The best item for this is the SU-152, available from early-mid 1943 and cheaper than the later alternatives. Late in the war the IS-2s and ISU-122 and ISU-152 are also available. Of those the IS-2 is best for its armor, from June 1944 on - you only want the 1944 model and not "early". But those are expensive, and sometimes a turretless ISU is preferable for expense reasons. Do not take the SU-122 early in the war, it is much less capable and in particular lacks AT ability, which all the others have.

The HE ammo loads of these vehicles is very low, a dozen shells being typical. The 152mm varieties fire only 2 rounds per minute. But a single shell, if it hits a building or the right area of woods, can destroy the target for the balance of the game. Massed targets (overstacked areas) are particularly nasty. A properly handled heavy assault gun can kill a platoon of enemy infantry and have even chances against any size enemy AFV, both.

But beware, the low rate of fire is debilitating in straight up armor duels. You never want to go toe to toe with enemy armor, unless e.g. the enemy has only 75L48 or less and you have IS-2 1944 model armor. You can shoot and scoot to fire a single round while they are facing a different direction, and reverse back out of LOS to reload. Do not think of these critters as armor war heavy hitters but primarily as killers of infantry, carefully kept alive for that purpose.

The Russians have other useful items, but not so useful as to count as advantages compared to the Germans. Here are a few -

infantry mortars. The 82mm hits quite hard - a single minute will pin any infantry point target. Switch to another or cease fire afterward to stretch the ammo over enough targets. The 50mm are weak but if fired in pairs at the same target, readily inflict pins, and they have the ammo to keep it up for some time. They are also medium speed, meaning as fast as regular infantry on "move", as long as not under fire. Both are useful against guns and MGs in particular.

120mm mortar FOs - the standard Russian "reactive" artillery support, used where the Germans would use 105mm. Reaction time is about 5 minutes, which is not short but livable if you plan ahead. Short adjusts add 2 minutes typically. Hits hard enough to pin or break a platoon in woods with a minute of fire, and has ammo to do that twice. Not effective vs. trenches, though, and limited effect on heavy buildings.

57mm ATG - the best ATG the Russians have and the only one that can hurt Tigers. Adequate armor penetration. Against the heaviest stuff, a range of 400m or less is helpful, and initial side aspect. Sometimes fails due to limited behind armor effect, penetrating once or twice then take out itself, without KOing. Rariety makes it expensive unless it is off.

76mm Mountain gun - use as an infantry gun. Very cheap at around 30 points. Much better AT ability than the standard infantry guns or than the 45mm ATG, and much more HE firepower than the 45mm ATG. Kills vanilla Panzers and StuGs out to about 500m with initial side aspect. Frontal armor generally immune, except light armor.

T-34/85 - From 1944 on, the Russians have an effective all-purpose medium tank in the T-34/85. Ammo modeling issues make 1943 85mms ineffective, do not take them. But these work. Moderately expensive, and most German serious AT weapons can kill them. But excellent mobility, strong HE ability, and adequate AT effect. Against "cats" you want ranges under 500m, and to come at them from multiple sides, when they are not looking etc.

The following "vanilla" Russian items are undermodeled and less effective than their German counterparts, but still must be used. Do not rely on them as much as their historical prevalence might suggest, though, or you will just get undeserved underperformance. Particularly against "cherry picking" German unit selections.

T-34/76 - powerful only in 1941, middling in 1942 if the Germans don't take 30+50 front long StuGs - but they will. Still have to be used, just so prevalent. The gun is adequate for AT only with side shots, and not adequate even then against Tigers. Kill light armor readily enough. Good infantry killing firepower from huge HE loads and overmodeled canister in close. Best use is against pure infantry positions from just outside infantry AT range (75m or so early war, 200m once panzerscrecks appear).

ZIS-3 76mm towed gun - same need for side shots against many threats as the T-34. Stealth can make it easier to get inital side aspect shots, especially on defense. Tend not to live very long after opening fire, but can frequently be trade 1 for 1 for enemy tanks. Smaller HE load than a mountain gun. Much cheaper than T-34s, these are the basis of most AT defenses, used in crossfire patterns from hiding.

Maxim MMG - moderate firepower and quite modest ammo load, considering the real ROF. (Brit and US Maxims get a more realistic 125 ammo rather than 75). Still useful because they avoid detection when firing, for anyone outside 200m, if in good cover. The basis of ranged pinning fire to slow movements across open ground. Maxims in trenches are the only effective Russian "bunker"-like position. Do not use them against anyone in cover, let HE handle that. (An exception is using their ammo depth to maintain a pin or prevent rally, once something heavier has made an enemy duck).

37mm AA - good, full power AA effect, discouraging enemy planes from making 2nd and 3rd passes. Good, full power effect against infantry, though detected a bit too readily (typically out to 800-900m) when firing. Kills very light armor like halftracks. Undermodeled AP performance makes them less effective against vanilla panzers and StuGs with side shots at range. But still a necessary item. In contrast, the 25mm AA is stealthy but unable to hurt things.

AT minefields - an essential component of Russian AT defenses. Work fine, but QB set up rules frequently prevent them from being placed far enough forward. Defenders get only half the map and LOS typically extends from the halfway point to the back, in most areas and on most maps. So enemy tanks can frequently get LOS to any point the defenders might be (that can see anything, at least) without ever crossing a location where an AT mine can be placed. Still useful on tight terrain maps, e.g. heavy woods, or medium woods rural. Cannot be placed on pavement, limiting use in city fights (daisy chains can be used, but area easy to avoid and removable).

There are also a few exotic items that are useful occasionally, for specific tasks, but that have drawbacks of their own. Here are a few -

KV-1 heavy tank in 1941, early 1942 - This is the "Tiger" of its day, practically unkillable and seriously armed for the opponent it will face. Take the 1941 model, as the 1940 model has a less effective gun. Once the Germans have 75L48 guns, these become as readily penetrated as a T-34 and not as mobile, and once they have 80mm thick fronts its own gun becomes much less effective. But through about March of 1942, these are the single most powerful units in the game.

Valentine IX - This lend lease tank gets a 57mm gun, weaker than the Russian towed 57mm but with better AT ability than the standard Russian 76mms. Critically, it can penetrate a StuG from the front at medium range. The gun gets limited HE ammo and only modest blast, and the tank has no MG, so the anti-infantry ability is miniscule. It therefore acts as a pure AT weapon. Armor is too weak to stop any standard German AT round and the vehicle is quite slow. But 1-2 of these can be a godsend is the AT war.

Do not try to kill Tigers with them, however. From the front the shots will bounce, despite what the penetration tables say. The Valentine will also "cower", popping smoke and reversing. From side aspect you can try it, but you only get 1-2 shots before the thing turns, and low behind armor effect makes the chance very low. Stick to killing StuGs with these, therefore.

Sherman tanks, lend lease - These are useful for a similar reason - the US 75mm can KO a StuG out to 500m or so. Good anti infantry ability but much higher cost than a dedicated AT Val-IX. Late war, the 76mm Shermans are no better than T-34/85s. (In the real war, the 75s were no better than T-34/76s, but in CMBB they are).

Captured German armor can be used as specialist AT shooters. Beware though, you can't get their armor for anything less than Panther prices. All captured StuGs are 50mm front, and German guns penetrate further anyway.

SU-76s - cheap HE chuckers, with the modest AT ability of T-34s. 76mm HE is not nearly as effective as supersized HE, though. These are generally quite thin in armor terms and almost any German gun will kill them. But you can have almost twice as many, making them a budget choice in small QBs e.g.

Lesser aircraft - Yaks, Las etc can be had for half the price of a Sturmovik. The limited artillery point budgets sometimes preclude the big IL-2s. Look for types with bombs plus multiple strafing passes, preferably with at least one cannon. Do not expect the mere 20mm cannons to hurt tanks as much as the IL-2s multiple 23mm do, however. And avoid types with pure MG strafing or only 2-3 passes.

T-34/57 - In 1943 with rariety off, this exotic medium tank is the best in AT terms in the Russian fleet. Much higher ROF than the SUs of the day. Better penetration than even the 85mms available in 1943 (SU-85, 85mm AA), and better than the British LL 57s. Adequate infantry fighting ability from its MGs, though the HE is weak. These can fight StuGs on better than even terms, and even have the mobility to flank Tigers and the punch to penetrate their sides if the angle is flat enough.

OT-34 (flame tank) - these get a useful flamethrower with excellent range and ammo supply. In 1944 there are T-34/85 versions. By far the most survivable flame weapons in the game, either side.

SU-100 - at the very end of the war the Russians get this quite useful dedicated tank destroyer. The gun is much more effective than the 122mm, with a higher rate of fire particularly useful. The front armor is thick enough and sloped enough that it can bounce plain 75mm at any range and even Panther rounds at long range. Arguably the ISUs also had useful armor historically, but in CMBB their slope and slope effects are modeled so low they are "eggshells with hammers". This one has the hammer still and isn't an "eggshell" anymore.

50 caliber HMG - Quite limited ammo, too low for the higher FP compared to a Maxim to make up the difference. Unable to fire at enemy aircraft, historically their main purpose. The only reason to take these is to get some stealthy halftrack killing ability in a more useful form than the ATR, on defense. Kill HTs more rapidly because they don't have to accumulate as many hits. Slow speed is a drawback on the attack but no big deal on defense.

Ampulet flame mortar - these exotic 1941-2 weapons are significantly overmodeled. Basically they have ~60mm of AT penetration and can hit a third of the time or so out to 250m. This makes them quite effective "infantry" AT weapons, the early war version of a "panzerschrek". Quite cheap. Once enemy armor transitions to 80mm fronts, no longer useful really, but far superior to ATRs in killing ability, and to DCs and RPGs in range.

Then there are items that are so undermodeled they should be avoided, unless you are striving for realism. Here are some of them and their CMBB specific limitations -

ATRs - I've test fired 3000 rounds of ATR ammo at plain panzers to see if they ever get track hit immobilizations or gun damage results. They don't, all enemies were untouched. These are effective only against light armor. Flat side shots can penetrate plain panzers occasionally, but the behind armor effect is so low, these things only kill if they can penetrate 10 times running. Which in practice limits them to killing halftracks and armored cars. Stealthy when firing and tend to attract disporportionate amounts of fire once spotted, making them occasionally useful. But not to be relied on for anything. Use real guns instead.

25mm AA - stealthy but simply don't hurt things. Occasionally pin infantry in the open or bother a halftrack with a side shot. Penetration is so low even halftracks can bounce shots from the front. Single 25s will not deter a strafing FB either. Use a 37mm AA instead, it is more realistic and much more effective.

45mm ATG - in the real deal, these penetrated plain German types in 1941, and from the sides throughout. The later high velocity version with APCR was effective clear to the end. In CMBB, multiple side shots on plain vanilla panzers can be effective, but in all other respects they are undermodeled and underpowered. Use 76mm mountain guns instead.

bunkers - undermodeled in CM generally and too easy to take out. The Russian ones suffer further from crappy armament. The gun one has a 76L17 infantry gun with no antitank ability whatsoever. The MG log bunkers have DP LMG firepower rather than Maxim level firepower - they can barely pin a unit hit in the open. The concrete MG bunker is somewhat better but very expensive and readily killed by any tank that parks in its covered arc. Use a Maxim in a trench instead - much cheaper and also much stealthier.

Flamethrower (foot team) - gets a good 45mm range, but only 4 shots and above all, debilitating "slow" speed. The German model gets 9 shots and medium, in return for 32m range. These are useful for AT ambush sometimes, or in town fighting, particularly as static defenders (torch any of these 3 buildings when enemy arrive e.g.). But cannot be used for their historical pioneer role, they are just too slow and vulnerable. Instead use the flame model T-34s.

Early war light tanks - the T-26 really was a crappy as it is depicted in CM. The BTs were much better and fully equal to most of the German tank fleet of 1941. But for the same reason the 45mm is nearly useless, tanks carrying it are nearly useless. Here the armor is also so thin that German *HMGs* can kill them, and 20mm autocannons on Pz IIs and PSWs reduce them to scrap metal easily. 1941 era Russian 45mm rounds will bounce from the front of a Pz II.

85mm AA - the Russians historically used these in 1943 in special AT battalions in each tank corps, much as the Germans used them 88s in 1941-2. They were historically successful enough that the gun was chosen as the baseline for the T-34/85. In CM, Russian 85mm ammo in 1943 is so undermodeled it will bounce from the front of a StuG (30+50 model) at 500 yards. Take a 57mm ATG instead.

SU-85 - same as the previous. Historically these were important in the second half of 1943, a critical period of the war. The Germans had Tigers and Panthers in some numbers by then, and the T-34/85 and IS-2 were not yet available to counter them. They used these as specialist AT weapons. In CM, you can't, they suck at it, because the ammo modeling is so poor. You will just get "shell broke up" results. In 1944 the ammo improves, but by the time it does turreted T-34/85s are available, superior to the SU-85 is every respect.

SU-122 - modeled in CM as a pure HE chucker, and so rendered ineffective. In real life they had enough HEAT ammo to be perfectly respectable tank killers, limited only by the relatively low muzzle velocity and therefore accuracy at range. In CMBB, they so rarely get any HEAT at all, and then only a couple rounds, that they cannot expect to hit anything with one before running out. The HE is powerful enough to kill a plain panzer or StuG only with a side hit. Take a less neutered SU-152 instead. (In scenarios, they can be used effectively if they are given ~12 HEAT rounds each, in the editor).

76mm FOs - while these were the standard Russian indirect artillery in the real deal, they are not very effective in CMBB. The reaction time is the same as the 120mm mortars. They get 2.5 times the number of shells (100 per FO), but each is much less powerful. Against large bodies of infantry with limited cover, these are effective - but only because anything is. Bigger is better, take the 120s instead.

82mm FOs - the most reactive Russian artillery with 3 minute response times, falling to 2 minutes late in the war. The 9 tube variety also fires very fast, giving pretty good target coverage. The problem is the units hit just pin and 2 minutes later are fine again, typically. Can occasionally hurt open topped armor, and if fired for long enough (2-3 minutes, full module amounts basically) they can cut up infantry in woods or open. Sometimes the good reaction time is useful for smoke. But generally, the firepower of on map 82mms is much higher because the rounds are delivered much more accurately, while lasting damage to infantry is easier to get with bigger caliber FOs. So take on map 82s instead and pick the targets.

Infantry molotovs - you can't avoid being given them, but they actually reduce infantry AT ability. Thrown more readily than an infantry close assault ("grenades" shown as thrown), but much less likely to hurt anything, even opened topped stuff. An early war Russian infantry AT defense should instead use ampulets, pioneers with demo charges, and hidden AT minefields.

Late war "heavy SMG" infantry types - these add one DP LMG to an SMG squad, and then take away a bunch of the ammo ostensibly to "feed" the LMG. Not remotely worth it. The fp of a single DP at medium range is too tiny to matter, and its extra contribution at ~100m is not nearly enough to outweigh the ammo reduction. At close range, the ammo reduction is pure loss. Take pure SMG types or DP types with only 3 SMGs and an adequate 40+ ammo, instead.

I hope this is helpful.

[ June 03, 2006, 09:45 AM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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John D Salt,

I think you're seeing as counterintuitive what are really two different design philosophies for automatic weapons. The water cooled Maxim/Vickers/Browning, etc. are designed for sustained fire, which is why the cyclic rate is not all that high and definitely why the water jacket is fitted. The best example I know of is one Hogg cited in which 12 Vickers, well supplied with water and ammo, continuously fired for 48 hours during a WW I battle in order to deny a piece of ground to the Germans. I believe there were three stoppages total!

By contrast, the MG-34 and MG-42 were explicitly designed for battlefield mobility and high cyclic rate, with the specific purpose of hitting the infantry targets repeatedly before they could get into cover. Numerous combat accounts bear out the fact that this worked very well, it being common for a man to take several hits when struck by fire from one of these. To do this, they gave up the sustained fire capability inherent in the water cooled, slower firing designs above. They also gave up the considerable heat dissipation inherent in the water cooled scheme, but partially offset this via quick change barrels.

Since firepower in CM is a function of bullets per unit time, burst for burst, the higher ROF MG-34 and MG-42 will produce more firepower than their water cooled counterparts, but they do so at the cost of effective ammo loads, thus combat staying power, which is expressed in the game as ammo points.

Regards,

John Kettler

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JK - um, hate to break it to you, but HMG-42s with the highest ROF and a fp rating to match, are given *more* ammo points than Russian Maxims are. 85 vs. 75. For which I can see little justification.

While someone might want to argue the wheeled Maxim is physically heavier, it is not like 4 of the 6 man crew can pull it around like so many sled dogs. 1-2 must move it, and the rest can carry ammo, just like the HMG-42. The rounds are the same weight, basically.

The fp ratings are approximately in a ratio 1.6 to 1, or 40 bullets per HMG-42 ammo point, to 25 per Maxim ammo point. If the weights carried were equal, that would imply the Maxim team deserves 135 ammo points, not 75. Or that the HMG-42 deserves only 50, not 85.

Or any proportional point between. But the gun with 1.6 more rounds needed per ammo point to justify its firepower, does not deserve 13% more ammo points are well as the higher fp rating. If the firing ratio is better approximated by 1.3 to 1, you'd still see 110 ammo for the Maxim. Instead it is given radically less sustained fp, over its whole ammo load, that the German air cooled HMGs.

That my figures are reasonable is obvious from the British Vickers and large team US M1917 HMGs, being given 125 ammo points, right between my 110 and 135 figures. But for some unfathomable reason, the Russians are just arbitrarily given only 60% as much ammo per MG.

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As someone who started playing the Russians a couple of months ago, I can heartily recommend them. Yes you have to know what you are doing, so download JasonC excellent training scenarios and play through them. You can search the forum for advice using "russian training scenario" and you will get pages. I kept all the advice I was sent and it runs to 35 pages!

As the Russians you have good fast tanks, tough infantry and loads of firepower. The only thing I miss are all those neat half tracks for moving infantry around. There is a counter to every German uber weapon including the dreaded StuGIII, just keep under cover, be patient and kill it with the appropriate weapon.

My favourite is the T-34 SMG rider combination, fast, powerful and able to pose problems to any defence.

Remember in reality the Nazis destroyed 5 tanks for every one they lost for much of the war but the Soviets built 30,000 tanks a year and the Nazis only 5,000. The only time the Soviets standard tank was inferior was in mid 1943, at every other time the Soviet standard tank was as good or better.

Play them in the right way and you will have a lot of fun as the Soviets.

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Originally posted by Der Alte Fritz:

[snips]

The only thing I miss are all those neat half tracks for moving infantry around.

Crikey, you must be one of the few CMers who actually find half-tracks useful. Share the secrets of your success, I insist!

In real life, remedying the lack of an APC was one of the first equipment priorities for the Soviet Army (with provision of assault rifles and shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons close behind). But I've never found half tracks much use in CM:BB, partly because of all those bloody PTRs.

Originally posted by Der Alte Fritz:

Remember in reality the Nazis destroyed 5 tanks for every one they lost for much of the war but the Soviets built 30,000 tanks a year and the Nazis only 5,000.

According to Zaloga & Ness, "Red Army Handbook 1939-45" (Sutton, Thrupp, 1998) Soviet tank production was never higher than 25,400 annually.

Production and loss ratios between the Soviets and the Germans, adapted from page 181 of the abovementioned book:

Year Production ratio Loss/exchange ratio

1941________2:1___________________7:1

1942________5.6:1_________________6:1

1943________3.3:1_________________4:1

1944________1.85:1________________4:1

1945________4:1___________________1.2:1

Overall the Sovs produced 3 tanks for every 1 Germany produced, on the basis of much the same annual steel production. The Germans used the other two-thirds of their steel on SPs and half-tracks.

All the best,

John.

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Regarding half tracks, I am comparing Soviet recce forces with White Scout Cars and M5 HT with standard Soviet infantry who travel on trucks or walk. The trucks are slow off the roads, offer no protection to long range fire and cost 25 points. The scout cars and HT cost 35/38 points, are good cross country and have 8mm protection. The Germans do not field large numbers of AT rifles so your main threat is from tanks guns or armoured cars. Use them to move infantry up to their jumping off points and their MGs for long range fire and they are usally quite safe. If I ever get Soviet recce forces, I use them as a reserve as they can be switched from flank to flank quite quickly behind your own lines. Worth 10 points to me compared to a truck.

Regarding production and loss rates, I approximated but you seem to agree with the basic proposition. Germans tactics and tanks are very skilled, kill more Soviet tanks than they lose but the Soviets produce more and can sustain those losses. Ergo if you are a newbie like me, do not be put off playing the Soviets because you take losses. There are plenty more where they came from and we will grind the Germans down.

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JasonC,

I see your point now, but have simply not spent enough time playing CMBB that I've really had to go in and compare the ammo loadouts for MGs. Having seen the numbers now, though, I'm inclined to agree with you. I really wish BFC would fix these sorts of issues before releasing CMC, since otherwise, we merely perpetuate an existing problem.

What I don't agree with, though, is the ridiculously short (45mm) range listed for Russian flamethrower teams! IMO, this could make using them effectively very demanding.

auto,

You can't use early Russians the same way you can

most other troops, but used properly, they will bring you victory. I played CMBB during Beta Demo

for the first time ever as the overall Russian commander in an early war combined arm attack scenario, and we shattered the German defenders despite the morale hit (best troops were Green), short command radii, no tank radios and unresponsive artillery. I know it can be done. We punched clear through the defenses and had tanks in the rear by game's end.

Regards,

John Kettler

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DAF - um, Russian infantry does not use trucks, it walks. Russian *mech* uses trucks for one portion of the infantry - motor rifle - and for their support weapons, while the rest - typically SMG - ride on tanks.

Russian *recon* on the other hand, mostly rode motorcycles, not scout cars. They are not depicted in CMBB because it does not show motorcycles, but an excellent approximation is simply to mount a recon C platoon in 7 jeeps.

I do not find the M3 scout cars all that useful. Yes the Germans lack ATRs, but they always have HMGs. And German HMGs readily kill things with 8mm armor.

I sometimes take a few vehicles to reposition guns and slow teams. Jeeps work if the route is covered, being quite fast. But they are vulnerable. Realism aside, I find the universal carrier the best solution. The extra armor makes them considerably more survivable than jeeps, and full tracks make them quite fast off road. The MG is much weaker than those on the M3, it is true. But if the M3 doesn't live very long that is academic.

When Russians want to attack at speed or reposition, though, they don't rely on recon infantry nor on light vehicles. They send full tanks with riders aboard.

Yes enemy fire can brush the riders off. If the enemy fires at range, however, he shows himself to the tanks, which annihilate him by fire. If he holds his fire to avoid giving targets to the tanks, the tommy gunners dismount close by and worm their way through the cover the defenders are in, with 1-2 moving while the rest cover.

This method of attack is far superior to SPW mounted infantry for the same budget, because the fighting power of full tanks is so much higher than MG armed light armor. The point mix used, instead of 1 infantry to 2 vehicles to 1 armor, is more like 1 infantry to 3 armor. And the tanks do far more of the work.

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JK - um, 45m is good range for a foot flamethrower. German ones only shoot 32m. They are both close assault weapons, meant to be used in woods or building interiors and the like, where LOS isn't appreciably longer than that.

The problem with the Russian ones is not the range, but slow speed. (And the limited 4 shots of ammo, which makes it harder to use "area fire" from just out of LOS - order area fire once and they are dry). German ones are medium speed (and 9 shots), so they basically move as fast as the rest of the infantry (and can use area fire).

The Russian solution, though, is just to use the OT-34 flame tanks instead of the foot teams (other than the defense ambush role already mentioned etc).

The early 1942 model has drawbacks - only 8 flame shots and no radio. (Range is good, 90m). But the 1943 model is excellent - only 19 points more than a standard late T-34 with rariety off, for 16 flame shots with 100m range. And a radio, so the response to orders is good. The OT-34/85 is likewise effective but more expensive - 22 points more than a standard T-34/85, same 16 shots.

OT-34s model 1943 are about as effective a short range infantry killer as there is, with giant ammo loads for the 76mm, including canister, plus full MGs and 100m flame. And cheap for all you get. When they wade in to 100m or less, things die. The Germans have to counter them with schrecks, hoping to keep them out at 200m plus.

The German flame armor has much lower range but very high ammo loads - 80 shots with 60m range for their best flame weapon the Panzer III, and 55 shots with only 50m range for the SPW 251/16. The SPW is inadequately armored, is open topped, and needs to get too close. The III can be effective. But the Russians ones have nearly double the range and full tanks with main guns as well, much more useful overall.

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JasonC,

Your quip came with a delayed action fuze. First, I chuckled over the touche. Only later, though, did I catch the subtle humor in the ATG remark. Well done, sir! I should also congratulate you on yet another fine discourse on CM weapons and tactics.

Would you be willing to resume writing THE BOOK OF ARMAMENTS? I thought I remembered where you'd need to resume the work in progress, but I guess I'll wait for one of the Pythonites to supply the necessary citation. I believe it was something like Book 1, Chapter 2 which was last invoked (re Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch). Thus, you will need to do a great deal of work to make the ordnance lists current!

auto,

You're welcome! Sometimes, we who've played CM since the Beta Demo tend to forget how daunting the system can be to first timers, and the learning curve is steep (get the CMBB Strategy Guide!) but offsetting this is one of the most helpful and knowledgeable groups of people you're ever likely to encounter. Be it computer woes, tactics, obscure data, starting a new career or almost anything else within reason, someone here will pop in and offer help. We've even got recipe threads and learned discussions on what makes the best CM libation.

Welcome aboard!

Regards,

John Kettler

[ June 05, 2006, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: John Kettler ]

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Originally posted by JasonC:

The German flame armor has much lower range but very high ammo loads - 80 shots with 60m range for their best flame weapon the Panzer III, and 55 shots with only 50m range for the SPW 251/16. The SPW is inadequately armored, is open topped, and needs to get too close. The III can be effective. But the Russians ones have nearly double the range and full tanks with main guns as well, much more useful overall.

Don't forget that the Mk II Flammpanzer is the only German AFV that can knock out a KV-II in early '41. It isn't easy, mind you, since a near miss from a KV-II can knock out a platoon...but FYI.
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I am not sure from your initial post if you have actually played Soviets before. So apologies if this is old news to you. Here is my list of scenarios supplied with the game which I enjoyed playing as the Soviets.

Iron Roadblock

Katukov Strikes

Pop Guns and Elephants

The Balka

Borisovka Station

Hill 312

Kalinin Raid (I like the scenery in this one but find it hard going as you are fighting down a narrow road. So I make the first platoon of tanks T-34/57 1941 and delete the second German reinforcement forces)

Anyone else got any late war suggestions or good ones to download from the Scenario Depot?

cheers

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Originally posted by Der Alte Fritz:

I am not sure from your initial post if you have actually played Soviets before.

Well I never actually said but for background info I will inform you all now.

I only started playing about 3 weeks ago now, I was playing as Germans and Soviets and getting nowhere fast,I decided to concentrate on one side while learning and picked the Soviets. It was after making that chioce that I heard that the Soviets were unfairly represented and the Germans were much better so I thought I would ask here.

I am now playing PBEM games with various people and So far have only won a game against the Computer with the Soviets.

Much to learn and very eager to beat my German opponents.

Cheers all.

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Welcome to the Red Army Comrade!

Go to this site and download the training scenarios written by JasonC. http://www.blowtorchscenarios.com/

There is no better way to learn - let me know if you want my notes - I am just doing the battalion level actions at the moment.

If playing PBEM you might consider picking the appropriate month and year. I would say start with 1942 before the intro of the Tiger or Panther or with early 44 so that you get T-34/85 and SU-85/100 but no King Tigers or late 45 so that you get proper IS-2s. Better to ask for details from a grog this is just a guess.

Oh and pre-plan all your artillery missions in the first move otherwise you end up wasting it.

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Originally posted by Der Alte Fritz:

I am not sure from your initial post if you have actually played Soviets before. So apologies if this is old news to you. Here is my list of scenarios supplied with the game which I enjoyed playing as the Soviets.

Iron Roadblock

Katukov Strikes

Pop Guns and Elephants

The Balka

Borisovka Station

Hill 312

Kalinin Raid (I like the scenery in this one but find it hard going as you are fighting down a narrow road. So I make the first platoon of tanks T-34/57 1941 and delete the second German reinforcement forces)

Anyone else got any late war suggestions or good ones to download from the Scenario Depot?

cheers

I've a couple of late war scenarios check out Tankovyi Desant and Railyard Blues at the website address in my sig line below (I think both are also at TSD II). Enjoy!

Cheers fur noo

George

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Originally posted by auto:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Der Alte Fritz:

I am not sure from your initial post if you have actually played Soviets before.

Well I never actually said but for background info I will inform you all now.

I only started playing about 3 weeks ago now, I was playing as Germans and Soviets and getting nowhere fast,I decided to concentrate on one side while learning and picked the Soviets. It was after making that chioce that I heard that the Soviets were unfairly represented and the Germans were much better so I thought I would ask here.

I am now playing PBEM games with various people and So far have only won a game against the Computer with the Soviets.

Much to learn and very eager to beat my German opponents.

Cheers all. </font>

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