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Old January 4th, 2015, 10:01 PM

codman codman is offline
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Default Tips for playing as the Soviets 39-45

Looking for some pointers to use on a Soviet campaign from 1939-1945. I've got a 1 rifle infantry company, 1 medium tank company, 1 motorized rifle company, 2 BT tank platoons, 1 heavy tank platoon and 2 platoons of towed AAA.
I've just started to battle the Finns and my troops seem to panic as soon as the shooting starts. I try and keep them within the command range of their platoon leaders and rally them as much as I can but those rascally Finns seem to appear out of nowhere and the Finnish ski scouts fight like demons. At the moment I'm stuck in this "lovely" forest where the LOS is one hex if you're lucky and my armor isn't much help, even if they are in the same hex with the infantry platoons. Not sure if instead of using support points for artillery I should invest in some flamethrowers and see if that helps but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cod
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Old January 5th, 2015, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Tips for playing as the Soviets 39-45

Sounds like you need combat engineers as support.....
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Old January 5th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Tips for playing as the Soviets 39-45

You don't seem to have any artillery in your core force. You need a FOO in your core, and at least a couple of on-map mortar sections plus (eventually) a battery of off-map guns when their cost wont put your core into artillery overload.

Both the arty and the FOO (never risk that unit!) will gain experience over time and hence fires will arrive much quicker. Support artillery wont ever get better at the job.

Against the Finns, in nasty close terrain, you need arty and experienced grunts. Your infantry will become so after 5 or so battles, provided they don't die horribly and restart at the bottom of the experience ladder.

Your best tactic in that case is to advance in a very narrow front, not greater than ~1km wide (20 hexes), following really close behind a creeping barrage of mortar and artillery fire that sanitises the Finnish infantry. At the very least, they may be found in pinned condition so your inexperienced conscripts have a better chance. Crucially - pinned troops don't close assault your tanks! - and in this time fram the Finns tend to use unranged infantry AT weapons (no panzerfausts). Advance really close behind the belt of fire, and accept blue on blue - if a few teams run away, let them recover and follow the herd when (if) they get sorted. Advance some armour into the beaten zone and beat up on any pinned squads you find, but always leave some MP to retire them back to the main line again though (don't leave them beside a squad who may rally and assault!). NB - a few cheap support points bought armoured cars with just an MG are quite useful for this advance into the shellfire - find - biff - retire tactic.

So - core artillery, and in your support buy you buy komsolets ammo carriers for any mortars in your core. Plus some more support grunts (e.g. ski troops in winter, engineers in the assault) and some more artillery - 76mm and 107mm off-map arty are good against infantry based armies (ie Finnish) and don't crater the ground.

So - get some core arty, and practice the WW1 style advance behind a creeping barrage in the advance. Artillery is the "Red God of War" after all.

In the assault - the direct and general support are quite useful support toys (Cheaper!) for building a beefy walking barrage. Simply start the belt of fire at the 50% mark of the map and walk them forwards 1-2 hexes till onto objective #1. Until your advance guard approaches then just walk the barrage back and forward 5-10 hexes to deal with any initial line of defence. Start the creep towards the objective when you have your phalanx all lined up and ready to go. Plot about 1/3 of the batteries 5-6 hexes behind the main belt, to catch routers from the main belt of fire and smash these to pieces. (Even better in the advance - the enemy is not dug in so is easier for the arty to winkle them out and hence get them running into the deeper 'killer' battery fire zones).

In the defence - lay gold spots near your critical approaches and pound these even before the Finns actually appear, in order to disrupt their advance. A cheap general or direct support 76mm battery from your support points can be good here, less likely to put you into overload penalty, and if firing on predetermined targets, fast enough response.

In the meeting engagement, only go for one objective cluster that is nearest to you (in terms of time, not distance - one a few hexes deeper in clear terrain may be better than the closer one that is in woods). Plot your belt of fires 5-10 hexes on the enemy side of the target objective, and plan to fight a defensive battle using that belt of fire walked back and forwards on his advancers. Once you have attrited enough of these with your defence line and the arty belt just in front of the defence line, start thinking about an advance on the next nearest cluster (leaving defenders on the gained one). Consolidate on the next one, and eventually advance on the last one - ie use the "bite and hold" strategy.

Advance/assault along a road in a deep forest (or a large urban area) is quite straight forwards too. But here you use a "linear barrage" along the length of the road, planning to sanitise all enemy out to about 3-4 hexes either side of the road, while you drive a column along it to the initial objective. So here, plot about 2/3 of your batteries all along the road length and circle these about the initial spot as the column advances, moving any fires that drift more than 3 hexes away from the road. The other 1/3 of the arty fires a narrower barrage in front of your column's head. You deliberately keep any 122mm or larger crater-making artillery away from any fires on the road line here - you want the speed along it, so destroying the surface is contra-indicated!. Even dismounted grunts can move rather fast along an undamaged road. As the column reaches a "circling" battery - add it to the creeping barrage, or plot it onto the target objective (delay will be long so plan ahead).

The plan of the linear barrage aligned along the road line is to drive off any troops in a position to spot your advancing column. So the area to blast is dictated by who may have LOS to the road - if there are open vistas, the dust from the shelling may not be enough to screen your guys, so use some smoke on those gaps in the town or forest.

The key to a Soviet LC is getting your conscripts up to an experienced level where they can compete since they are not good to start with. That will take 5-10 battles. With such low training (and hence spotting and rally ability etc) due to Stalin's officer purge - you require the artillery arm to do the main heavy lifting for you. Since the arty is rather unresponsive (bar any core formations over time) - the creeping barrage is the about best tactic to use, even if it is rather "WW1" .
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Old January 5th, 2015, 05:54 PM

codman codman is offline
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Default Re: Tips for playing as the Soviets 39-45

Don and Andy,

Thanks for the advice and once I get done with this battle I'll give it a try. The walking barrage idea intrigues me as I've never thought about it too much before but there's a first time for everything... ;-)

Cod
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