Thursday, April 7, 2016

NQM Orders of Battle - Eastern Front : Soviet 2

Soviet Tank Brigade
Bde HQ   Commander mounted in Gaz Jeep(s3), Gaz Truck(s3), 82mm Mor(s3), SMG(s3), AntiTankRifle(s2-3)
The Brigade HQ
Med Tank Bn1 Comd T34(s2), 2 T34(s2)
Lt Tank Bn1 Comd T60 or T70(s2), 2 T60 or T70(s2)
The Medium and Light Battalions. I couldn't find T60s or T70s, so these Japanese Vickers are standing in.
The wire baskets on the back of the T34s allow me to place small dice or infantry on them.
Motor Rifle Bn1 Comd stand(s3), 2 SMG stands (@2 or 3 figs), optional MG stand(@2 or 3 figs) can replace one SMG stand , Gaz Truck(s3)
The Motor Rifle Battalion.
(Back to Soviet Orbats) 
The pre-war Soviet tank force was held to be the equal of any army anywhere, but they discovered that their  Tank Corps proved too unwieldy to command. The Soviets thus started the war against Germany with Tank Brigades. The tank inventory was grouped so that tanks in a Brigade were as far as possible of the same type.  
The BT and T26 tank appeared in about equal numbers (16 Brigades of each). Much rarer were the T28 (3 Brigades) and T35 (only one Bn in a Mixed Brigade with T28s). As the war progressed the Soviets changed TOEs (Tables of Operational Equipment) frequently as new tanks became available, and old ones were destroyed or became obsolete. It was not until well into the war that the equipment program caught up with losses. It would be fair to say that you could be justified in fielding just about anything, but beware of introducing stuff too early in the war, and check to see just how common some of the equipment really was. 
Tank Brigade Sep 1941-Mar 1942 
The Brigade contained in total 1 KV1 (s1),  1 t34(s2), 1 T26 or BT(s2). You can see that in anyone else's army this is 5 strength points of tanks - a strong company or weak Battalion! Some Brigades lacked the KV1s. The low point was reached in Feb '42 with a TOE of a mere 27 Tanks (s2-3). By April 46 tanks (s4-5).The problem was that operating light medium and heavy tanks in the same brigade just didn't work. This led to the TOE being reorganised in Summer '42 to create as far as was possible, all-medium tank brigades. 
Tank Brigade Jul 1942  
1 T60 or T70(s2), 2 T34(s3). On paper, a Bn of BM13 Katyusha rocket launchers (s3) was added. Sometimes these even appeared on the ground.
Tank Brigade Nov 1943 
3 T34(s2) these may be T34-76 or T34-85, or a mix of the two. Some brigades were being designated as heavy and contained KV1s. Some brigades contained lend-lease (some 16% of all Soviet tank production),
 or even captured enemy tanks (only ever small numbers) - keep one to annoy your opponent if he becomes too cocky.
In our campaign, the toys available dictate what appears in the Tank Brigades, so my lend-lease is made up of my Western Desert force, and you will see MkVI light tanks standing in for T60s. The appearance may not satisfy the purist, but the method follows real life.
There is nothing to stop you amalgamating 3 x strength2 units into 2 x strength3 units. Tactically, the first option gives you more firepower with less staying power, and the second option gives you fewer guns with more battlefield endurance.
Throughout this period, the Motor Rifle Brigade stayed reasonably constant, except that there was an increase in provision of SMGs to the infantry, and and increasing tendency for them to ride into battle clinging to the tanks as "tank desantny". This was a desperate tactic, and casualties were high. Combat would "strip" tanks of their infantry, and leave them vulnerable to destruction by determined infantry tank hunters deep inside the enemy defended positions.     
The tank strengths above are all derived from S.J. Zaloga's Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two (ISBN 0-85368-606-8)
I calculate 1 Strength point as being equivalent to 10-12 tanks, thus a model represents 20-25 tanks.

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