Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

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ocollens
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Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by ocollens »

I have never understood why Soviet forces are barred from purchasing as support a forward observer and a medium mortar bombardment like other nations.
By the late war certainly they were lavishly equipped with mortars (rifle battalions had 9 82mm) and artillery observers down to company level.
I don't believe this point has been raised and answered already but forgive me if I've missed it.

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Seret
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Seret »

ocollens wrote: I don't believe this point has been raised and answered already but forgive me if I've missed it.
It has, but it's been a while, so it's a fair question.

The thing about Soviet fire support was that it was organised differently from most other nations. They tended to control it at a higher level than CoC really represents, and it was used to deliver planned fires, rather than ad hoc ones. Your pre-game barrage could just as easily be from the battalion's mortars (probably all of them firing together) as it could be proper artillery.

Soviet fire support was less responsive and flexible, but their planned fires were very nasty.

Captain W Martin
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Captain W Martin »

Hence the additional modifier on the pre-game barrage.

Would be good to have the option of air support (like the 'Closing the gap' Pint sized campaign gives the Canadians for '44+ lists....

The VVS had a shed load of IL2's.......

Archdukek
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Archdukek »

My understanding is that your typical Soviet platoon commander wouldn't be able to call on mortar support other than a pre-arranged barrage. However, there might be a case late war for allowing the use of an FOO in a Big CoC game were the Soviets are fielding an infantry company.
John

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Actually the Soviets did decentralise their artillery when required - on defence or exploitation and deep penetration.

They grouped them (the same as did the other nations) when making a breakthrough attack.

Part of the confusion arises from the fact that Soviets used larger formations - both for infantry attacks and artillery support - but the infantry in -particular were smaller formations to start with and soon wore down very quickly - so a regt may have a company size bayonet strength.

The myth comes from one article in Lone Sentry. That is a translated extract from the WW2 42-43 Soviet manual - I obtained an English translation of the full document from Nafziger. I sent 3 extracts along with 5 first hand accounts of dispersed artillery used in WW2 to Rich - he said he would read them but has not had time over the last year or two due to personal issues and other projects.
. These came from an online document translated poorly by google (but well enough to understand the basics) this was a collection of reports from Soviet officers on their engagements . Soviet high command published a selection of them as part of their training manuals for officers 1942-44.

These show allocations of single batteries to Company and platoon actions when required.

if anyone wants a copy just PM me
Cheers
TT

ocollens
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by ocollens »

Hi TT,

Thanks for your contribution. My contention is that by 1943 at least Soviet fire support was available down to platoon level. Certainly they did concentrate it but they could do both, and sometimes at the same time. I found the wartime US information manual On the Way: the employment of mortars in the Red Army (available at CARL) very useful.
In it is also significant that Storm Groups at Stalingrad (so we are talking about November 1942) had artillery observers attached to the first wave. This is not preprogrammed fire.

Captain W Martin
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Captain W Martin »

One of the things that really appeals to me about CoC over BA is the 'play the period not the rules' approach, feedback from the designers and the more old-school feel and approach to the game.

If there is reasonable evidence to suggest actually the Soviets later in the war did have this level of
fire support available then its simple to put it into the support list! :)

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Arlequín
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Arlequín »

Seret wrote: The thing about Soviet fire support was that it was organised differently from most other nations. They tended to control it at a higher level than CoC really represents, and it was used to deliver planned fires, rather than ad hoc ones...

Soviet fire support was less responsive and flexible, but their planned fires were very nasty.

Truscott Trotter wrote: The myth comes from...
There are a lot of these about, albeit that there is usually an element of truth there.

The most obvious test of truth is to ask why would you place mortars under company, battalion and regiment command, if those company, battalion and regimental commanders had no control or authority over them?

Short answer is that you would not.

The 'On The Way' article TT mentioned is here: http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ontheway/

Note that the article goes for 'may be combined' rather than 'were always combined'.

The upshot is that if units were combined under an ad-hoc centralised command, a Soviet mortar barrage could potentially be far heavier (up to 3x) than that of other armies, as each unit under a command shared target data. This was not possible in other armies where each company, battalion, or regimental unit operated in isolation to those of its fellows.

All that side, I find 'mortar barrages' farcical in CoC in any case; the 18" barrage area is pretty much the fragmentation area of a single 81mm bomb (the 80% frag radius of a 81mm M43 bomb is 25 yards, the M45 and M56 bombs are in the region of 30 and 35 yards - roughly the same as a 105mm shell). A 'short barrage' by a mortar unit might be 5+ (varies by nation) bombs per tube, covering an area the size of the average table with overlapping burst diameters; a pre-game barrage in other words. Mortar units don't do single shot 'HE sniping' and a single weapon can have four rounds in the air before the first lands.

Okay some abstraction is needed to get them into the game (but it's feeding a fantasy rather than 'playing the period'), but then we create a system by which rifle grenades become at least as effective as the light mortars adopted to replace them (a 60mm bomb has 1.5x the HE filling of a British No. 36 grenade). Then of course there is also the telepathy used to spot for them.

Seriously, give the Soviets in-game mortar barrages and make the fantasy universal. :roll:

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Seret
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Seret »

Truscott Trotter wrote:Actually the Soviets did decentralise their artillery when required - on defence or exploitation and deep penetration.
But were they still being used for indirect fire when used in this fashion?

Take the Fortified Regions, their battalions had tons of 82mm mortars and Zis-3 guns which they did decentralise down to as much as platoon and company positions, but they were all strictly direct fire.

Captain W Martin
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Re: Soviet mortar bombardment - why not?

Post by Captain W Martin »

Interesting stuff.

Should the size of the barrage area be increased or just dropped from the list for you?

Its an important point you make about 'play the period' and getting the balance right between fact and fun....

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