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Thread: History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR

  1. #41
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    I'll do it in '41.

    As for the in-game situation, AIvAI it seems to play out pretty well. The poor GDE of the soviets makes them need humongous masses of troops to advance at all. Though to be honest, the whole Lapland area should have far less troops in it, a la EU3s attrition. Just impossible to move the amount of units I did (6 divisions) on one rail line.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  2. #42
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    Finland has always been f'd up in HoI, and always will be. ...But that 50k men in Suomussalmi is a bit new to me, always thought the Soviets only sent like 2 divs.

    And yea, EU attri FTW. Central Finland didn't have any direct railroads to the Soviet side at all. So basically the Soviets would have sent 50k men to march in -40 C to total scorched earth forests without any chance of resupply.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valistaja View Post
    Aye, and that is very historical because battles like this and this happened in the area that belongs to that province in-game.

    Note: According to the Finnish Wiki the Finn casualties of the Battle of Suomussalmi were 350 fallen and 600 wounded while Russian casualties were approximately 27 500 dead (my personal estimate is 27 500-30 000).

    Now how the hell could you achieve that in-game with the same 1:5 ratio (actually initially the Finns just had some regiments but eventually 11 000 men against the 55 000 Soviets), not to mention the Russians had far superior equipment, tons of tanks etc.? Exactly, you can't, and that needs to be fixed somehow.

    EDIT: Oh and good job Quaazi. You should've gone for Stalin's goal though: annexation, since you had the chance. :P
    The Finns would need a colossal boost to their Forest/Winter defense in order to simulate their capabilities. Also, perhaps some small (ST capped at 20) unique units of ski troops with high toughness and defensiveness.

  4. #44
    Excellent AAR style. I hope you write about the war with Germany the same style.

    33,000+ casualties is a bargain price to pay to take the Finn's prime defensive ground compared to the 250k to 1million men lost in the historical scrap (sources vary, and astonishingly, the 1million dead estimate is from a Russian general).
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  5. #45
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    I like the style; maybe also talk a little about promotions and so on if any happened?

    Also, Stalin wasn't big on vodka himself. He liked having others drink while he observed, however.
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  6. #46
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    Oh, an aftermath update will come too at some point, when this damn heat wave is over. I can't think right now.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  7. #47
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    The Winter War - Aftermath

    Analysis

    Before peace had been signed, Stavka was already working on analysing the bitter victory over a minor nation. All estimates had predicted a walkover, but the month of combat in which soviet troops took great casualities, quickly showed otherwise. It was imperative to scrutinize every aspect of the war to mend the shortcomings that were now apparently there. All major commanders (Shaposnikov as the head of Stavka at the time, Kliment Voroshilov as the commander of the Red Army, Ivan Konev as the commander of the 1st Mechanized Army, Semyon Timoshenko as the commander of the Leningrad Front, Valerian Frolov as the commander of the Karelian Front) of the war were to start working on detailed reports on the war. Only the Karelian Front had performed as was expected from them, and the reason for that was mainly small finnish troop presence in their area.

    Most important was the study of the first battle of the Mannerheim line, in which the much vaunted mechanized army was defeated in a brutal 8 day battle. The first reason that was cited by all participants was: "...terrible co-operation [...] lack of communications between advancing and supporting units, and their tactical reserves [...] headlessness on polk level and lower eventually resulted in the attack running out of steam and into a disorganized mess over which the division and corps commanders had no control" (Ivan Konev, from the monograph "Study of mechanized elements in the Soviet-Finnish war"). Timoshenko arrived at the same conclusion, although shifting much of the blame unto supporting branches: "The first artillery strike on the first day of the war, the 15th, was largely ineffectual due to poor aerial scouting and lack of scout formations in the artillery formations, as well as the lack of communication between Kuznetsov's fleet (and its huge 450 mm guns of the battleships) and the land forces, often resulting in the naval gunfire ending up completely off-target." (Semyon Timoshenko, from the monograph "Critisisms on the Red Army in 1939"). Timoshenkos accusal of the naval elements can however be seen as an effort to clear his own units from blame, as the Leningrad Fleet was nearly impervious to critisism from anyone but Stalin himself. Indeed, the fleet didn't respond to these allegations at all, neither did it conduct an analysis of its combat performance. He also claimed: "The mechanized formations had no desire to wait up for their supporting units, and their own infantry support was too few and too motorized to function properly on the frozen and hostile terrain [...] A good example of communication error happened two days (20th) into the attack: when the first units of the Leningrad front advanced over the first line in the finnish defenses (the first light defense line, meant for delaying the advance units), now completely abandoned by finnish troops, they found interesting reports of the state of the finnish formations a day before. The most interesting fact in those documents was the situation of the finnish 18th division, which was apparently very undermanned, underequipped and demoralized from the first soviet armored offensive. However, these documents reached Stavka only on the 23rd, the day on which the attack was called off completely. Had that info been available to Stavka, or Konev, on the same day, the weakness of the 18th division could've been exploited easily, especially so because our intel had already identified the division as being in the complete center of the finnish defense line, a situation very suitable for our attack."

    However, while Timoshenko's report focused mainly on the problems with communication and co-operation between different branches and formations, Konev also added: "... lack of force concentration from the Leningrad Front [...] lead to poor follow up assaults by supporting elements, leaving the breaching tanks alone and vulnerable." In his view, the decision to split up the infantry units of the Leningrad Front was a major cause of the defeat on the Mannerheim line, and in hindsight, the claim has some validity to it. The attacks north of lake Ladoga failed even with 3:1 superiority in numbers, making the 9 divisions that were allocated to the area completely useless for the rest of the war, as well as being another nail in the coffin of the first draft of the attack plan. Perhaps the deployement of the minimum necessary troops to north of Ladoga would've been a better course of action, leaving more troops free for the massive attack on the Mannerheim line. However, Konev expressed no such doubts prior to the assault, although later he, as well as Frolov, thought of this as the main error in the first battle plan.

    All cited inadequate aerial support as a reason contributing to the defeat as well. Timoshenko: "...Rychagov (Chief of the Air Force) did not allocate it's scarce resources as necessary. The 1st CAS Fleet was stationed at Murmansk, where it played no effect in the combat at all. When redeployed southwards after the breakthrough of Frolov, they were ready for battle only by the last offensive to the Mannerheim line, on the 4th of December, that is, 19 days after the start of hostilities [...] Over half our aerial support resources entered the war near the end of the war". Seeing the effect of the air force during the second attack on the Mannerheim line, this claim seems to hold water. However, Timoshenko and Konev, as well as Stavka, had all the opportunities to demand the bombers be placed to the southern theatre. They did not do so, as pre-war estimates predicted hardships in the northern sector, despite Frolov assuring Stavka that the resources already allocated to him were enough to accomplish his objectives.

    Konev's report also deals specifically with the problems of the armoured units as well. In his view, the decision to attach BA-20 brigades instead of KV-1 brigades "... was a total disaster [...] The armoured car formations had served us well against the japanese (referring to the battle of Khalkin-Gol earlier in the year) when the terrain was flat and spacious. But in the forests of Finland, the roadbound lightly armored cars could not support the advancing armour as was hoped, and their ability to suppress infantry with their machine guns was insignificant". Indeed, the BA-20 was designed as a infntry support vehicle meant for mopping up demoralized troops, but using them in parallel with the BT-5s and T-28s was a costly mistake. The KV-1 was a phenomenal tank that could've served the needs of the 1st Mechanized Army, and nearly a thousand of them were already produced, formed into 15 brigades in armies stationed in West Ukraine (occupied Poland). Not a single KV-1 saw combat in Finland, however.

    Only Frolov's report had positive deductions in it. His monograph "Northern theatre of the Finnish war", focused on the exploits of the elite mountaineer troops under his command: "... most importantly, they were not confined to roads and railroads during offensives. Their attacks were mostly on foot, and they were transported via large transport hubs only when the situation demanded, like the quick dash towards Oulu, during which our armored trains, overcoming the difference of track width in Finland and Russia, proved themselves as an useful tool for rapid troop movement". He also claims: "... the mountaineer corps were most prepared for the war. It seemed like they were the only ones to understand that the combat would take place in winter, and indeed their history in the Caucasus and other mountainous regions made them well suited for winter warfare. But their light and mobile weaponry also helped their advances". This conclusion had little impact in Stavka, however, as light and mobile infantry was considered a novelty rather than a solution, and with good reason. While the mountaineers worked perfectly in hostile weather and terrain, the Soviet Union was a humongous nation with much more borders in mild climate rather than the extreme conditions of Lapland. Frolov would remain the commander of the Karelian Front, and was greatly rewarded for his results. It was also implied that in the future, he would be in charge of all operations against Finland, as well as devising them.

    Doctrinal changes

    The Red Army was already developing the "Deep Battle" doctrine (despite its connection to purged officers), of which Finland was hoped to be a good example of. The experience gained from the Winter War were instrumental in developing this school of thought. Combined arms was considered an easy feat to achieve earlier, but the poor communications showed how vulnerable different branches really were. Most important was the development and production of tank-level radios, which was considered a key aspect of a proper coordinated armoured offensive. This would be combined with lower-level command units, while still centralized to the Corps/Army command, effectively creating a third dimension next to strategy and tactics. This operational level would combine strategic goals and tactical means, hopefully resulting in a very flexible course of battle. It was an unorthodox plan, but very promising. Finland was not a site to test this doctrine though, and practical use would have to wait.

    A very crucial reform after the war was the reduction of importance of the political comissars. The Red Army would be remodeled to be less politicized, and more like a convectional, traditional army. Commissars, while still a menacing force amongst officers, would no longer have the say in tactical and strategic decisions, leaving them the role of what was essentialy military police. Stalin saw the necessity of this, but compensated by meddling more with the decisions of Stavka in the future. However, this reform was a major step towards building up a proper, formidable fighting force.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  8. #48
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    Clearly one or two lessons learned there.
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  9. #49
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    Indeed and very important ones. Now it's time to prepare for greater scale conflicts.
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  10. #50
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    The World in 1940.

    By the first of May 1940, the world had plunged into a war it could not emerge from again easily. Months earlier, in september 1939, Germany declared war on Poland when the latter refused to hand over the "Danzig corridor". The germans took what they wished by force, however, and as the Allies of UK, France and smaller nations, guaranteed the independence of Poland, they declared war on Germany days later. What followed the defeat of Poland in only a months time was a period of relative calm, as the Allies took no actions against Germany in any theatres except the air. Germany however, invaded Denmark and Norway in April 1940, conquering both. As the snow vanished from Europe, the situation was expected to heat up soon.



    In China, war had been going on for two and a half years. The Nationalists had lost Nanjing in 1939, but managed to hold out with sheer numbers elsewhere on the frontline. Their material situation was terrible, and their little outside assistance came only sporadically from the Soviet Union and the United States of America.

    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  11. #51
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    Soviet Union in 1940.

    In May 1940, the Soviet Union was fully gearing towards war. An herculean effort to industrialize had yielded results, as the Soviet Union had become the largest manufacturer of weapons and military hardware in the world, and the second largest economy in terms of GDP. Every resources imaginable was enslaved to the war machine, as Stalin threw everything there was to create the strongest army in the world.



    Soviet stockpiles of raw resources were depleting fast, but the deficit was tolerable. In exchange for raw resources like coal and steel, the Soviet Union traded in military supplies and foreign currency. Very much effort was put into synthetic oil production, to complement the already large oil production in the Soviet Union.



    The Soviet Union had in it's disposal some very modern weapons systems, like the IL-2 Shturmovik and the KV-1 tank. More and more troops were being equipped with these modern miracles, but the size of the Red Army made it a long and arduous effort.



    The Red Army itself was the third largest military in the world on paper. Over 2 million men served in the armed forces in 1940, with thousands joining every week. An ace up Stalin's sleeve was the degree of mechanization of the Red Army - 15 tank divisions plus a large amount of independent tank brigades, together with tank destroyers, armoured cars, self-propelled artillery systems and motorized divisions allowed the cream of the Red Army to enjoy mobility never before seen.

    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  12. #52
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    Post Report ZE-40

    The NKVD report of the three main threats to the Soviet Union in 1940 was a very influential and shockingly accurate document, which influenced Soviet planning greatly in the following year. It was created in conjuction with NKVD intelligence and STAVKA analysis. Here excerpts of it are displayed.

    Report ZE-40

    Analysis of the German Wehrmacht and its supporting institutions.

    The German Wehrmacht is the strongest military in the world in both practise and on paper. It is technologically advanced, albeit not an equal rate, well trained and equipped, extremely well-lead and has obtained combat experience from campaigns in Poland, Denmark and Norway, as well as the minorly contested occupation of Czechoslovakia [...] The German Army employs a doctrine based around strategic penetration and fast achievement of strategic goals through the use of armoured spearheads. This doctrine is viable thanks to the superb communication and coordination of german combined arms units and their supporting infantry units. The former are the punching power of the army, who, in practise, have been concentrated into specific points in the front, most often weaker troops or harder to defend areas, and then used to creat havoc and shock in the enemy rear once the front has been breached. A very mobile strategy in theory, it does rely greatly on supporting infantry to mop up the opposing forces after the strategic breach has been made. This is a very important point, as it shows extreme reliance on those armoured spearheads, and general impotence should those spearheads be blunted.

    Germany has somewhat inadequate resources to put the former theory into proper practise, despite its seeming success in Poland in 1939. With estimated 15 divisions of armour, they cannot afford to employ more than two spearheads at once, meaning their offensives can only aim for two strategic goals [...] the PzIII and PzIV tanks are greatly inferior to the T-34 design in finalization at the moment, and not superior to our current models of BT-7s [...] In all expectations, Soviet and German tank formations should perform equally in battle, as Soviet superiority in technology and numbers will be negated by German experience, training and coordination.

    The Luftwaffe, in every aspect, overshadows our air force. In numbers, have only half the planes Germany does, and in terms of technology, our Yak-7 cannot compare to the german BF-109 series of planes. Our IL-2 CAS aircraft are of equal quality to german CAS aircraft, the JU-87 series, but our two-engined bombers are greatly inferior to their german counterparts [...] The Luftwaffe would e on the frontline in any action in the western front, meaning that in the scenario in which Germany faces a two-front war, our air force can cope with theirs.

    Serious reforms are necessary for the Red Army to compete with the german Wehrmacht. If enforced now (28/04/1940), the Red Army could be brought to rival the Wehrmacht, in all estimations, by the winter of 1941 at the quickest.

    German construction and research suggests their current priorities lay in defeating the British Royal Navy. This is a near-impossible task when looking at the strength of the Kriegsmarine, but it is expected that they will continue their submarine warfare strategy of World War One instead of a surface fleet one. Great focus is also being put into the development of more modern aircraft.



    Japan is currently fighting a war in China, in which we have the opportunity to test some of our weapons by providing aid to the chinese as we have done so far. Their progress is slow but steady, and without foreign direct intervention, China is estimated to not last longer than 2 years. Soviet resources in the area are minimal however, and any direct attack against Japan or the Kwantung Army would require the repositioning of most of our forces.

    Japan has a rather obsolete and clumsy military, which is fine for fighting the chinese but not comparable to us, as seen in Khalkin-Gol [...] In all probability, the threat from Japan to our Far Eastern holdings is minimal.



    The US Army is small and unexperienced, and will probably have no strength to intervene in european matters for another year or more. However, US industry is the largest in the world, and if geared to war, it can outproduce every country in the world [...] (US) manpower reserves are massive, and strategies of attrition would not work against them in a military level.

    Should the americans join the war against Germany on behalf of Britain, their intervention would have to wait until 1943.

    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  13. #53
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    Allright, three short but sweet updates to show where I am standing at the moment. Sorry for splitting them up like that, it's for indexing's sake.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  14. #54
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    No need to be sorry, it was quite pleasant to read this way.
    The German Luftwaffe looks, as always, quite scary.
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  15. #55
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    Looks really neat, I like the reports.

    Your spy networks are impressive.
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  16. #56
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    The Stalin Line

    The Stalin Line

    In 1938, after the Great Purge hit the Red Army, Stalin and his obedient higher command were becoming more and more concerned about a possible joint polish-german attack on the USSR (or any variation thereof). In the works were plans to create a strong line of defences to stall any movement deep into Soviet territory. Thus the Stalin line was born - a large strip of fortified regions meant for constant localised warfare and strategic immobility until initiative is gained.

    Due to the sheer amount of land that was necessary to hold, a different posture than the fabled Maginot line was adopted. Indeed, the core idea of the Stalin line was much different from the Maginot line, in both purpose and execution. Soviet intelligence repeatedly tried to infiltrate the czech military instead to gain their experience in building defensive lines, and during the Munich agreement, in the general confusion, NKVD came across a large amount of documents detailing the now-german defense lines. As the czech lines and completely opposite to the Maginot line, the Stalin line was directly meant for combat instead of acting as a deterrent.

    In theory, the line would strech from Odessa to Polotsk, covering all the major areas suitable for offensives in between. The first debate when determining the exact location of the line was that should the Dnieper River be included as a natural barrier or not. In the end, the more offensive approach of a more flexible line won out, resulting in the fortified regions being created in front of the river rather than on and/or behind it. The reasoning behind this was that the river itself would form a backup defensive line should anything go amiss, stopping a breakthrough and giving a chance for any gap to be sealed quickly. Also, considering the offensive mentality behind the fortifications, it was decided that any Soviet breakout from the line would be severly hindered by the river.

    Works began in 1938, when the czech plans had been acquired. Most emphasis was put to the Ukraine, which held extremely vital industrial assets. Indeed, the line was near completition there already by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The MRP forced Stavka to reevaluate their thinking behind the line, as hundreds of kilometres of buffer had been taken from Poland. The decision was to decrease the speed of construction for a while, as more important projects, like tank production, took priority. However, the line was also extended to the Baltics after the annexation of Latvia, all along the Daugava River to Riga itself. The production was helped by the seizing of border fortifications in Estonia, Latvia and Poland, which were dismantled and brought to the Stalin line. Effectively, the line was the fallback point of the Red Army in any scenario, in a shocking display of foresight. It was estimated that the line would be completed throughout the winter of 1940-1941.

    The line itself was composed of fortified sectors, meant for funneling enemy troops into killzones. Fortified sectors were designed to be impregnable, forcing the enemy to move around the heavily defended fort into areas in which rear units could counterattack the attackign units with ease. It was designed for high-intensity battles rather than being a strategic deterrent, and its main goal was to inflict horrendous casualities to the enemy while the defending troops rest for a strategic counterattack. The line was placed in a way that it would allow for encirclement operations once initiative had been gained.


    Layout of the defensive regions
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  17. #57
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    Allright, so I pussied out and built defenses. Of all my experiences as playing as the SU, I've remembered that every time I lose the Ukraine, my industry implodes. And I won't have any of that.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  18. #58
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    In game terms...forts level 3-5 or more ?
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  19. #59
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    Rather strong, from level 10 in the ukraine to level 5 northwards.

    The thing is, level 10 forts won't necessarily stop them either. I've done a game with the plan I'm doing right now and they breached the plains province forts with ease. I am afraid I'll get a breach in the line somewhere this time too, what with the insanely powerful germany and all. Especially seeing how quickly the forts are brought down by combat in AoD. So I'm expecting large german casualities, but a breach. Which is fine in my book. But it's a gamble - can I hold the line before winter sets in or will I have to abandon it, losing all the IC I've poured into it.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  20. #60
    Dauphinois la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
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    I see, as long as you manage to contain German breakthrough it shall be fine.
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