Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:31 am

and another one
To prevent any possibility of this, the commander
decided to lay an ambush in the zone held by the right
flank. A section of tommy-gunners under Senior Sergeant
Bukvin was detailed for the ambush. The tommy-gunners
crawled into the bushes under cover and took up suitable
positions. The sergeant placed his men so that the enemy
would be caught in enfilading fire, and ordered them not to
fire without a signal from him.
The commander's fear was justified. As soon as the sun
began to sink enemy tommy-gunners gathered in the
depression one by one, until there were 40 of them. They
moved carefully up the depression in the direction of the
bushes. Soviet tommy-gunners, not betraying their
position, followed the movement of the enemy group. The
enemy left the depression and made a dash for the bushes.
When they were within 50 yards the sergeant gave the
signal, and a hail of lead burst on the Germans from three
directions. About a dozen were killed instantly. The
remainder threw themselves on the ground, but the level
land offered no protection from bullets. The tommygunners
continued to mow them down, disposing of the
entire group in less than five minutes. The ambush had
removed the danger of enemy penetration behind the
battalion lines.

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Seret
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Seret » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:45 am

TT, looking strictly at the rules mechanics the Soviets can use the ambush rule with:

Can ambush:
Tank hunters, scouts, flamethrowers, snipers, ATRs, Maxims and DSHKs.

Can't ambush
Parts of rifle squads

On top of that, what does the actual ambush rule represent? It's only very small teams, I'd argue this is not a planned ambush, it's an ad hoc one launched using a small team of men to exploit an opportunity. Larger ambushes involving squads or platoons (such as the infamous "Soviet fire sack") would be launched using your command dice, not the ambush rule.

Is this realistic? Well, Soviet training of the individual both during and after WW2 focussed largely on execution of battle drills (particularly attack drills). There was no great emphasis on personal initiative, no professional NCO class like you'd get in a western army, and even junior officers weren't encouraged to improvise. That's not to say that there's anything about being a Russian that renders you incapable of thinking for yourself, just that the culture within their army and the way it trained its men did not emphasise or reward initiative at very low levels. This is in stark contrast to other armies, particularly the Germans, who wrote the book on low-level tactical flexibility.

I think the lack of teams within Soviet squads does a good job of approximating the relative rigidity of Soviet units at the low level. They're clearly not innocent to the concept of the ambush, and certain specialised units (like scouts and tank hunters) can execute an ad hoc ambush, but a rifle platoon is more monolithic and will be conducting ambushes in a more planned way using larger numbers of men. The examples you posted support that, we're talking about ambushes of 40 men, not 4. In CoC that type of ambush would be done with command dice, not the actual "ambush" rule and a CoC dice. The rules don't preclude ambushes by Soviet troops at all, they just make you do it in a different way.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:16 am

The full US AR section can ambush as it one team
So its not the size of the team

EDIT Sorry Seret I am gonna leave this one now as even if I posted 100 first hand accounts no one would change their views. The High and Middle command difficulties of 1941 are taken to be the small unit command issues of 1944-45. No need for any evidence of Soviet mindless monolith its a well known 'fact'

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Seret
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Seret » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:44 am

Truscott Trotter wrote:The full US AR section can ambush as it one team
Yes, because they had NCOs that were trained to show that kind of initiative and low-level flexibility. It's not an issue of 41 vs 45, the Red Army carried on training their infantry (and those of their client states) this way right through the Cold War, too.

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Arlequín
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Arlequín » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:37 pm

I do wonder if the popular conception of the Red Army Soldier as 'armed donkey' actually stands up to any real scrutiny. The U.S. Army certainly thought their tactics sophisticated enough: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewc ... odmilintel (TM11-45 Chapter V Tactics).

Russian squads were also apparently divided into a gun group and a rifle group, pretty much like anybody else's, even with an assistant squad leader. From what I can gather squad and platoon training was conducted when units were rotated out of the line and fresh recruits joined units.

I will grant that training might have been rudimentary in '41-'42, around the time of 'Order 227' etc, but the same could be said of the U.S. Army in the Winter of '44-'45, when virtually untrained draftees were sent to fill the gaps in U.S. units. Things got so bad they even armed black servicemen for a time... I imagine that went down well with the Dixiecrats in Congress!

Late-War Germans have no such restrictions either (or so I believe, I haven't looked) and we are talking old men and teens handed a weapon and given rudimentary training... but still apparently more tactically savvy than a typical Russian grunt.

Granted Soviet manuals are hard to come by, but I do suspect we are in danger of pandering to a stereotypical image of Soviet troops that probably won't bear out to be true.

:)

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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by jdg » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:51 pm

I must be missing something. Where does it say that whole US squads can ambush?

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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by jdg » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:01 pm

The important difference between western and Soviet platoons is that NCO weren't and still aren't trained to take independent command but were their to relay commands from the officers.

In most western armies squads could work as semi-independent maneuver units whereas in the Soviet army platoons were considered the smallest maneuver unit

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Arlequín
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Arlequín » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:47 pm

I managed to find the Soviet Platoon and Squad Handbook (1942) in a Word document, to which I've added a machine translation which forms the second half of the document.

It's not formatted and very rough and ready... but if you're really keen and don't mind putting the work in, I imagine it would be rewarding. It's a big file btw.

Soviet Platoon & Squad Manual 1942

There is also a U.S. Army translation of the Battalion Manual too if you're interested;

Soviet Battalion Manual

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Seret
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Seret » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:14 pm

Arlequín wrote: Late-War Germans have no such restrictions either (or so I believe, I haven't looked) and we are talking old men and teens handed a weapon and given rudimentary training... but still apparently more tactically savvy than a typical Russian grunt.
As you get later in the war the Germans should be using their Green option more and more, while contemporary Soviets would be regulars in almost all cases.

If you're talking Volksturm there's no list for them I've seen but it would be pretty hard to justify giving them anything fancy.

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Arlequín
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Re: Stupid Question: Single Team Squads

Post by Arlequín » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:39 pm

'Should' is still an option though and is therefore left to the player to decide which he prefers. This is obviously not the same as 'cannot'. I also don't imagine there's a whole tsunami of people out there who will now shout up and say "Yes I always play my Late War Germans as Green!"

I'm always content to be beaten down by a weight of evidence on anything, but I can't help feeling that the current Soviet depiction is perhaps more at home in a 1940K Codex and perhaps owes more to our shared Cold War dogma derived from the passed on idea of the 'untermensch' and watching 'Enemy at the Gates' too many times.

Short answer: Where does our idea that the Soviets were as dumb as bricks come from? I suspect it's one of those "But everyone knows that's true" cases.

;)

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