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Distance between trench lines


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Hello,

something I did not figure from my sources, is about distance between the forward trench lines on static type WW2 frontlines (Leningrad/Volchov area 42-43 ect.). Not regarding listening posts, standing patrols ect. I would simply assume that the closest possible distance would be the minimum security range of friendly artillery, which would be at least about 100-200 for smaller calibers and 200-400 for the big stuff! Terrain plays another role off course and flat open terrain surely requires the frontlines to be a bit more seperated, than close and broken terrain with lots of cover terrain types (woods in particular). Another issue could be importance of a particular section of the frontline and whether it´s contested or not.

Any of you have some examples from your sources? smile.gif

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The Parpach front in the Crimea was semi-static between January to May 7 1942. The distances between lines varied greatly but was generally large and seemed to be determined by observation range, the range of weapons and the terrain. In the southeast corner of the northern 8km salient which formed between february through May 7, the distance could be 500-2000 meters. The lines consisted mostly of strong points and fortifications to channel and delay attacks rather than continuous 'lines'. There was enough room between the lines in some areas to assemble entire battalions of vehicles or troops during low-vis conditions.

Around Sevastopol the distance between static lines could be many kilometers. Whoever controlled the high ground (typically the russians) could make life impossible for the enemy many kilometers in every direction regardless of the terrain below. You had to be able to supply your front lines, so otherwise defensible terrain might be untenable if the routes to/from the position were under enemy observation from a stongpoint 10km away.

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My "22nd PZD #2: Korpetsch" at The Proving Grounds uses a large number of trenches, both as trenches and to simulate the hundreds of meters of anti-tank ditches in the area. The necessary huge fortification bug-bonus makes it impossible to get more than a minor victory, maybe major.

However it's a pretty mobile encounter so might not be what you're looking for. Best HtH but OK axis vs AI. Playable allied vs AI but axis AI can't win.

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Has anyone ever created any WW1 style battles using trench systems? I.e two relatively close and heavily fortified front lines (pillboxes, trenches, barbed wire, mines, foxholes etc); high level of damage to terrain; mostly infantry, field guns and off-map artillery in terms of forces; no air cover; lots of mud (or snow).

If so, where can I find one? And if not, could someone who is better at map design than me please, please make one? Maybe would work best as an operation or just one very long battle with plenty of re-enforcements

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Soviet war correspondent Vasily Grossman at Stalingrad:

Sometimes, the trenches dug by the battalion are twenty metres from the enemy. The sentry can hear soldiers walking in the German trench, and arguments when the Germans divide up the food. He can hear all night the tap dance of a German sentry in his torn boots. Everything is a marker here, every stone is a landmark.

from "A Writer at War"

Of course, Stalingrad was atypical.

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Quite.

400m is the standard distance. That is far enough that the rear rank can cover the front with heavy weapons, and be dangerous with rifles to men moving in the open above ground. But far enough men actually in the back trenches are basically safe from anything short of enemy artillery.

Understand that wire or mine obstacles would be in front of the first line, and sometimes a chain of small listening posts and outposts might be put out, 100 to 200m in front of the forward position. Occupied only by small patrols or the occasional MG team, and evacuated in the event of serious enemy attack. In quiet times they would provide security for the first line, against e.g. night trench raids and the like.

In static fronts, the front line trenches of the two sides had a tendency to approach each other, as one side or the other prepared for attacks by digging saps and approach trenches, typically at night. They wouldn't get closer than was safe for the men in typical quiet periods, though. In tight terrain (heavy woods e.g.) that might be 100m but that is exceptional.

20m figures mean one side really consists of survivors hiding in the rubble, and doesn't really reflect a line, rather a position taken by the enemy but with some hold-outs scattered through it. In Stalingrad, the Russians frequently infiltrated small units into areas the Germans had already taken, but from which their main assault groups had withdrawn (for other sectors etc).

Understand the force to space varies enourmously in city fighting. Sometimes a whole battalion will fight for a single housing complex, clearing every room, while at other times a single platoon will put MGs at its corners and a few men at the low level windows and doors, to hold it.

Well, in the thin places the Russians would sneak back a platoon to a company, at night, to make the Germans fight for the same location repeatedly. They'd steer for buildings a few layers back, behind the German front line, moving through the buildings themselves most frequently (mouseholing), crossing a few alleys and such by packet movement (a few at a time), less frequently by using the sewers, and last and least the (rubble strewn) streets.

During and right after such an infiltration, the closest approach might indeed be 20m. But that is being played up for the sake of bravado. No real fighting position lasts within grenade throw of the enemy.

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Originally posted by gangofmao:

aloha...

this probably not the right thread,

but thought people that interested in strong

defensive battles/operations might look here.

can someone recommend a good operation/battle

that uses lot's of trenches?

those my favorite kine to play...

Want to attack or defend? If you want to attack one you could try one of GeorgeMC´s monster battles: "Panzerkeil to the Mius", avaialble at TPG or possibly at his website (not checked) http://www.blowtorchscenarios.com/

You need a fast computer, but you are rewarded with a great scenario and a beautifully crafted landscape! :cool:

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Originally posted by JasonC:

Quite.

400m is the standard distance. That is far enough that the rear rank can cover the front with heavy weapons, and be dangerous with rifles to men moving in the open above ground. But far enough men actually in the back trenches are basically safe from anything short of enemy artillery.

Understand that wire or mine obstacles would be in front of the first line, and sometimes a chain of small listening posts and outposts might be put out, 100 to 200m in front of the forward position. Occupied only by small patrols or the occasional MG team, and evacuated in the event of serious enemy attack. In quiet times they would provide security for the first line, against e.g. night trench raids and the like.

In static fronts, the front line trenches of the two sides had a tendency to approach each other, as one side or the other prepared for attacks by digging saps and approach trenches, typically at night. They wouldn't get closer than was safe for the men in typical quiet periods, though. In tight terrain (heavy woods e.g.) that might be 100m but that is exceptional.

20m figures mean one side really consists of survivors hiding in the rubble, and doesn't really reflect a line, rather a position taken by the enemy but with some hold-outs scattered through it. In Stalingrad, the Russians frequently infiltrated small units into areas the Germans had already taken, but from which their main assault groups had withdrawn (for other sectors etc).

Understand the force to space varies enourmously in city fighting. Sometimes a whole battalion will fight for a single housing complex, clearing every room, while at other times a single platoon will put MGs at its corners and a few men at the low level windows and doors, to hold it.

Well, in the thin places the Russians would sneak back a platoon to a company, at night, to make the Germans fight for the same location repeatedly. They'd steer for buildings a few layers back, behind the German front line, moving through the buildings themselves most frequently (mouseholing), crossing a few alleys and such by packet movement (a few at a time), less frequently by using the sewers, and last and least the (rubble strewn) streets.

During and right after such an infiltration, the closest approach might indeed be 20m. But that is being played up for the sake of bravado. No real fighting position lasts within grenade throw of the enemy.

Thanks JasonC! you made a very good summary of the most common possibilities! :cool: Thanks to other commenters as well! smile.gif

During my current research about the hurtgen forest battles, I found reports about the germans using the "infiltrate by night" method on the US forces with great success! In particular the pillboxes were raided during the night and had to be faught for by the US forces repeatedly. Later the US solved the problem by blowing most of the pillboxes, so the germans didn´t had a reason anymore to conduct these particular raids. Little later the US used the same tactics with success on the germans (in the hurtgen forest), so at last all learned from the russians. :eek: :D

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