Tachanka?

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica

Tomm
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:58 pm

Tachanka?

Post by Tomm » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:22 am

On a similar equestian note, has anyone done rules for the horse drawn tachanka wagons which accompanied Soviet cavalry with MGs on them to provide some fire support?

Warbases do a rather tasty one.

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 6799
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Truscott Trotter » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:33 am

No official rules - not even in Winterstorm Soviet Cavalry list :cry:

But there has been some discussion and suggestions on the topic previously.

https://toofatlardies.co.uk/forum/viewt ... nka#p16105

https://toofatlardies.co.uk/forum/viewt ... nka#p13814

as you can see it is a subject that interests me - chariots in WW2! :lol:

User avatar
Seret
Posts: 3954
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Kent UK
Contact:

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Seret » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:32 am

Why not use the rules for the carts from the first Kursk PSC? Activate on a 1 (or 2 if within 4" of another cart) and move at normal infantry rate. No running, no bonus for road movement. Crew count as in light cover. I'd say you can't fire the gun while moving. Maybe something like a full phase to mount or dismount the gun?

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 6799
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Truscott Trotter » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:50 am

Umm because they are carriages not carts and designed to move at full trot/ gallop to keep up with cavalry . Deploying to fire mounted by rotating to face away from the target.

I would give them road and hard ground bonus but severely restrict them in broken/ difficult going and no crossing linear obsticles

The shooting part is easy but how to make them vulnerable to return fire without making them completely useless is harder.

Afterall there role was to fire at enemy cavalry/infantry in the open but to dismount the MMG in other circumstances.

gebhk
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:21 am

Re: Tachanka?

Post by gebhk » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:26 pm

Sorry, tried to resist, but can't help myself because of personal connection with many of the folk I will quote. I know its not Soviet, but I am fairly sure that experience with MG taczanki in Poland must have some cross-over, so for what it's worth:

Shooting from the taczanka:
The boingy leaf spring suspension (and that was much the same on the Soviet version as far as I can see) bounced the gun all over the place when it started firing. To achieve even moderately rubbish results (as compared with firing from the ground) against a column of 'cavalry shaped' targets at 1km - 1.5km, required the wheels to be dug into the turf and blocks of wood to be inserted between the springs to lock the suspension as far as possible.

Piotr Laskowski, a professional cavalry officer specialising in MMGs who modestly describes himself as a 'not a bad shot' (his mates said he could sign his name legibly on a wall at 50m, but that's by the by) carried out the following experiment: He set up a series of cavalry targets along a (comparatively) good, even country road. Then starting from a 100m out he had the taczanka gallop past said targets while he let loose 50 rounds. Result: not one single, solitary hit. 90% of the bullets went straight into the ground or into 'God's window' as they say in Poland. There was no question of aiming the damned thing as the taczanka, gun and gunner bounced in every direction in every possible combination. And that over a good road by the standards of the country not a rubbish one (the norm in Eastern Poland and, I expect, on the other side of the border too) or cross country.

In short hitting anything from a machine gun mounted on a static taczanka except at point blank range should be considered a fluke akin to winning millions on the lottery :o . From a moving taczanka, the odds move in favour of the Martians landing on the head of the Loch Ness Monster :twisted: .

Speed:
Yes the taczanka is supposed to have a similar rate of movement as the cavalry and no doubt can achieve that on the march on good roads. However consider a race between a motorbike and a truck on narrow windy roads, over bridges, through villages and open country. Even if both vehicles have similar theoretical maximum speed, my money is on the bike every time... Which leads us to:

Manoeuvrability
On the narrow roads of eastern Poland, designed for 1-horse wagons at best and bridges designed for one man and his goat, the 3-horse abreast Polish taczanki were a nightmare. I remember vividly my Grandad's descriptions of his battalion's retreat from Bialystok into Lithuania in 1939 (he was the MG company commander). The taczanki had to be unhitched at virtually every bridge (of which there is an abundance in that part of the world), partially manhandled over and then the horses rehitched again on the far side. Because of the tandem arrangement, the harness was so complicated you needed a *******! master's degree in saddlery to figure it out. His views on the subject, couched in sound military language (very unusual in his case which is why the subject sticks in my mind) were echoed by many other cavalrymen of my acquaintance and in writing. I can only imagine what the 4-horse hitch of the Soviet taczanka was like in these circumstances (which I suspect were similar in much of the Western Soviet Union at the time). However, to be fair, the wz 36 taczanka got the seal of approval from rtm Laskowski - this may well have depended on the area of operations of course and, if my memory serves me, Laskowski served in a cavalry regiment stationed in Western Poland, where the ex-Prussian roadway system was infinitely better than the ex-Russian one in Eastern Poland.

An added complication for the Soviets would have been the vehicle itself. The Poles had experimented with a vehicle of similar design in the late 20s but it was quickly found to be unsuitable - mainly due to its huge turning circle (making a 3-point turn on a typical road, for example, virtually impossible). For this reason the taczanka ckm wz 36 was introduced which, because of its limber-and-trailer design giving it a 'central hinge', could turn the gun section virtually on the spot.

Conclusions
Allthough the regulations grandly blathered on (admittedly less and less as time progressed) about the taczanka's primary role as a mobile fire asset supporting the cavalry charge, repelling sudden attacks on marching troops, blah, blah, no one really took any of that nonsense seriously. Rtm Laskowski notes that the training schedule in his unit allowed for one live fire session from the taczanka per year and never without first digging in the wheels and blocking the suspension as describe above. Otherwise all firing against ground targets was carried out from the ground. Given that a trained gun crew could get the MG off the taczanka and firing an aimed burst in less than one minute, probably less time than manoeuvring the whole contraption into a suitable firing position, there was little point in doing the latter.

There were then, basically, two practical uses of the taczanka. Firstly as a means of transportation which allowed the MGs to keep up with the cavalry on the march and to deliver the gun quickly to a new firing position (provided this could be done under reasonable cover of course). Opinions on whether the taczanka was better or worse than pack horses for the purpose vary and I suspect this may well be related to the type of terrain the opinion-givers campaigned over.

Secondly as a mobile AA asset for columns of troops on the march (which was why Polish infantry battalions had a platoon of MGs on taczanki in addition to their normal machine gun cart-transported ones). Since the aim of these MGs was to spray lead more or less randomly into the sky to discourage enemy pilots from getting too cosy rather than to actually down the planes, the lack of accuracy wasn't a big problem.

In short, a slightly more mobile equivalent of the German If5.

To cheer up all you lovers of taczanki/tachankas (and I include myself in this description very much) out there, I can think of one use of taczanki against ground targets in September '39. An advancing German infantry company mistook a retreating Polish infantry column for one of their own. They double timed to the regulation distance behind and dutifully trudged along in best German order. Unfortunately for them, the Poles figured out what was going on first. Even more unfortunately two taczanki with guns ready to fire were the tail-end Charlies of the Polish battalion. When they opened fire at a range of yards, I am sure you can imagine the outcome.
Last edited by gebhk on Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
General
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:26 am

Re: Tachanka?

Post by General » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:00 pm

Reminds me of the use of reindeer pulka's in Squad Leader.

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 6799
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Truscott Trotter » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:45 pm

Gebhk I take you points but perhaps I didn't explain well enough?

Soviet Tachankas (I assume Polish ones are similar with one less horse?) are designed to be used on the steppes, not in towns. All vehicles should have to slow on narrow windy streets - even motorcycles. Unfortunately only tracked vehicles are penalised in CoC.

Also cavalry rarely moved at a gallop unless in last stages of charge trot/walk / rest is normal and the Tachankas could certainly keep up with that better than a cart at foot walking pace

I do not believe they would fire on the mover at all. But they would fire mounted while stationary. Usually at 500=-1000 m from the approaching enemy they could then move off if the enemy got to close but if they did fire while moving I doubt they would hit anything. Also they usually operated in units of 4-12 .

So in all I do not think they are suitable for CoC sized engagements however we all want our toys so lets make rules for em I say!


I realise this is a film not actual footage but it does give you some idea of them in motion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmmQP8E1dXQ

Tomm
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:58 pm

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Tomm » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:33 am

On a related note.....

Do Cavalry get effected by Urrrrraaaaggh? 5d6" to combat?

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 6799
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Truscott Trotter » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:35 am

Now now Tomm thats very naughty next you will be asking if Tachankas using Urah can move at full speed through woods 😋

Tomm
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:58 pm

Re: Tachanka?

Post by Tomm » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:23 am

Well, clearly not! That would be silly!

Post Reply