I will make a little overview over the DDR’s units: what they are, how to use them etc. This will be expanded over time (I hope), starting with the most unique section of the DDR’s roster, the infantry.
At the top there is a glossary, at the bottom a link-section. If you want to have your link added there, just drop a note. Also alls tips are welcome.
- The DDR in Red Dragon
GT (Grenztruppen der DDR) – border troops; separate from the NVA, the Grenzer were a military force on their own, tasked with the defence of the E-German borders
Hb (Haubitze) – large gun
KHS (Kampfhubschrauber) – attack helo
KPz (Kampfpanzer) – MBT
MFRW (Mehrfachraketenwerfer) – MRLS
MfS (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) – Department of State Security; the infamous Stasi, combining secret service and secret police as well as armed forces
NVA (Nationale Volksarmee) – national people’s army; the main military force of the DDR
- LaSK (Landstreitkräfte) – ground forces; the army, avoiding the traditional term Heer used by W-Germany
LSK/LV (Luftstreitkräfte/Luftverteidigung) – air forces/ air defence; again avoiding the traditional term Luftwaffe used by W-Germany
VM (Volksmarine) – people’s navy; much to the dismay of the admirals, the navy was not called Seestreitkräfte in line with LaSK and LSK/LV, but named after the mutineers of 1918.
SFL (Selbstfahrlafette) – self-propelled vehicle
SPW (Schützenpanzerwagen) – APC
SPz (Schützenpanzer) – IFV
THS (Transporthubschrauber) – transport helo
FJB-40 stands for Fallschirmjägerbataillon 40 (paratrooper bataillon), so these are the E-German paras. Unlike the W-German namesakes, they were a really small group, trained for special operations behind enemy lines. The “40” indicates they were directly attached to the high-command of the NVA, used only for strategically important missions.
In game, their role is well reflected by elite status and a diverse armament consisting of an assault rifle, a RPG, and a manpad. None of these weapons are impressive by the standards of the game though. In fact, they are all obsolete except the rifle. However for raids in enemy territory, where they would not meet the best enemy forces (hunting CVs, artillery etc.), they may suffice. Their transport options is everything wheeled and all the transport choppers the DDR has, which means they are flexible enough for everything you want them to do.
Still, when in doubt, chose their successor, the LStR-40.
LStR-40 stands for Luftsturmregiment 40 (air assault regiment). In the later 80ies, the FJB was expanded to a regiment and given a broader range of missions, including storming enemy positions from the air according to Soviet airborne doctrines. In short, the LStR-40 is basically the FJB-40 ’90, having the same transport options, too.
EUG was really generous giving them top-notch equipment. They got a carbine akin to the AKS-74U, essentially a SMG with rifle range but without the CQC bonus. It still makes them very deadly in closer range without being helpless at longer ranges. The RPG-29 Vampyr is simply the best of its class and can deal with any vehicle, while the Igla is a respectable manpad.
These Fallschirmjäger, as the troopers were still called, can really wreak havoc everywhere. They are mandatory units in every deck possible. However, lacking a MG, they are vulnerable to enemy infantry. Using them at the frontlines, you have to supplement them. Fortunately, the LaSK has something to offer in this regard.
Mot.-Schützen (never called Motor-Schützen!)
Motorisierte Schützen are essentially mechanized and motorized infantry, the bread and butter of the E-German army. Due to the insanely high readiness, good training and consistently high ratings by both, Soviet and Western observers, EUG was right assigning them shock status in game.
Their armament is the standard combination most Eastern Bloc 15pt shock troops get, so that is nothing remarkable. What is remarkable is that they come not only in wheeled transports, but in tracked transports as well, including BMPs! People tend to forget that these BMPs, due to the higher veterancy of shock troops, also come with higher veterancy than other BMPs.
For 15pt they are totally worth it, perhaps a bit weak in the AT, however they are overshadowed by their successor again, the MS ’90.
Mot.-Schützen ’90 (never called Motor-Schützen!)
Equipped with the indigenous StG-94x series weaponry and updated RPG, they represent what the Mot.-Schützen may have looked like in the early 90ies. Unlike their predecessor their armament differs a bit from the Eastern Block standard: the lMG-944 is the light machine gun version in the StG-94x series and it is plain better than all comparable Redfor MGs. This means they are a bit more effective in anti-infantry duties.
For 20pt they are a must-have and may well be used together with the LStR-40. No excuse, get them.
The MfS Guards Regiment “Feliks Dzierzynski” completes what I call the fundamental trinity of the E-German infantry. It is best time, the Wachregiment was mostly a Mot.-Schützen unit with emphasis on urban combat.
Again this is reflected in game: SMG, disposable launcher RPG, and a CQC MG. Now the SMG may look bad at first glance. While having a high rate of fire, it has low accuracy (and thus damage output), and short range. However in CQC a bonus kicks in, doubling the accuracy. That means you have a high rate of fire with high accuracy. Additionally, being a 15-men squad they have a reload bonus. Long story short: a punch way above its actual weight class. The RPG-18 again does not look like much, but it fires at 20rpm so you can eliminate IFVs and FSVs really quickly, including the dreaded Marder 2. Lastly, the increased survivability thanks to the large squad allows you to keep them in combat and firing for much longer than 10-men units.
The weak points of the WR are the bad MG and the expansive transport options, which are the same the FJB/LStR-40 has. On an SF squad this is ok, since you do not buy many of them. But on a shock squad I wish for a cheaper option, especially when paying the extra charge for having 15-men. Still, whenever you have a town to hold or capture, use them.
The light riflemen are somewhat of an enigma, historically speaking. The NVA had a few Mot.-Schützen units designed for light infantry combat, but they would not be worse trained than the others.
In game however, they are only regulars. Their anti-infantry capabilities are comparatively low, but they do get an ATGM – a short ranged, low accuracy, low AP ATGM. Paying a lot for it, despite coming in the cheapest wheeled transport (SPW-152), I do not see any reason to take them.
The reservist riflemen are also a standard unit. They do possess an assault rifle, which is relatively good for a reserve unit, but they come with an almost WWII vintage RPG. Having 10-men they cannot even serve as a damage soaker and their transport option is too expensive for a reserve unit.
The assault engineers of E-Germany follow the standard assault engineer, napalm launching formula in game, having an assault rifle and a napalm launcher.
It is a good launcher and as support for your main troops they are doing well, like the whole unit class. You also get them in all kinds of transports: fast, slow; cheap, expansive; tracked, wheeled, helo... Their disadvantage, and that of the whole unit class, is that they only come in 5-men squads. They can be taken out easily by just about everything in game.
If you are good at micro you may take a try, but usually there are better options.
Contrary their name of tank hunters, they are really a fire support squad in game.
Their RPG fires at 15rpm and has HE value to hurt infantry at ranges above 300m, but the AP is rather low. Again, being 5-men only, they do not last long in direct combat.
I found it hard to use them effectively, despite their low price.
The Igla-1 was the most modern manpad the DDR historically had in service, and it was a downgraded Igla. Or an upgraded Strela-3, however you want to see it.
In game it thus has slightly worse values than the Igla, but it also has a higher availability. That coupled with the national or coalition availability bonus means you get a lot more per card and that makes them interesting.
It depends on your playstyle if you want to use them or not. Early landgrabs usually include the LStR-40 anyway, but for rearward positions they may be of interest.
Just avoid. Not even worth 5pt, much less the slot.
PALR Fagot & Konkurs
Not much to say about them. They are the regular Fagot and Konkurs-teams. The latter can be worth a slot as it is relatively cost effective.
The Mi-24s in E-German service were actually almost exclusively used in the attack role, but they could be detached to insert special forces from time to time. There was never a Mi-24A in the DDR though.
The prime advantage is the speed. If you decide for an early landgrab, these choppers are what you are looking for. Thanks to the heavy armour and armament they are not only battle taxis but can support your troops. Just don’t start thinking the Mi-24s alone could win the day. Their armament is not that strong. Combined with the DHS Mi-24P however your helos become a mighty force.
The disadvantage is, of course, the high price. Since SF like the LStR-40 are usual passengers, the price for such a combo is insanely high. This makes operating with THS Mi-24s a high-risk/high-reward strategy.
The Mi-8s were the bread and butter helos of E-Germany, used for pretty much everything. Their primary job however was indeed transporting and supporting airborne troops.
Neither as fast, nor as durable, nor as heavily armed as the Mi-24s, the Mi-8s still have respectable armament and HP. That makes them higher priced than the standard Blufor transports, but they are a lot less expensive than Mi-24s. It is not like you have much of a choice if you want affordable airmobile troops anyway.
The Mi-8s are effectively an intermediate step between the light transport helos like the Mi-2 and the heavy Mi-24. Since the DDR in game lacks a light transport, this is your main option if you want to go airborne. You could say it is not as risky, but also not as rewarding as the Mi-24.
Introduced only late and in small numbers to the DDR, the BMP-2 was to become the standard SPz in the 90ies.
And it truly has become just that in RD. While the BMP-2-line itself is common enough, the DDR got a special bonus in having the only BMP-2 without ATGM. The Konkurs is a respectable weapon, just not worth 10pt more for just three missiles. The 15pt base BMP-2 is cost effective transport and fire support option and thus the perfect mate of the Mot.-Schützen ’90. When doing this the BMPs also come with higher veterancy thanks to their shock-level passengers.
If you do not expect miracles of the BMP-2, it will not let you down. Use it, and avoid the BMP-2/c.
The BMP-1 was the primary SPz of E-Germany when the Wall came down and was available in many versions.
In game they are simply overshadowed by the BMP-2, totally and completely. The only advantage is the higher range of the main gun which can shoot outside of enemy RPGs with ease and may be a little more effective against infantry. Also you get the Konkurs on a BMP-1 for 5pt less than on a BMP-2.
But overall, just use the BMP-2. In 99% of the cases it will serve you better.
The main APC-line of the DDR is the first choice for fast ground transports.
Unfortunately they are expensive. The 1AP on the KPWT raises the price to 15pt; the SPW-80 will be 15pt soon as well. The 1AP is not totally useless but it is only a shadow of what it was before RD. Nonetheless you can use the SPW-line for more than just carrying troops around. Especially the SPW-80 with higher accuracy and armour can serve as nice additional support.
Overall it would be better to have a 10pt wheeled transport, but these will do ok. For cheap transports you have other options anyway.
5pt Tracked Transports
The Mehrzweckzug- und Transportmittel MT-LB and the SPW-50PK were available in large numbers for the DDR’s forces and so they are in game.
While nothing to brag about, you could transport almost all of your infantry cards in cheap 5pt vehicles and this is something, especially in a mechanized deck. Use a strike force of Mot.-Schützen ’90 in BMP-2 and more Mot.-Schützen as well as the heavy weapon squads in these transports, and you got one of the most cost-effective set-ups Redfor has to offer.
In RD’s timeframe, the SPW-152 was already relegated to rearward and reserve formations, and to the MfS Wachregiment for political bickering.
Their restriction in game, except not being available to the WR, is thus accurate. However costing 10pt, i.e. twice as much as the reserves they primarily transport, is too much for their role. It would adequate for the WR and it is somewhat ok for the Leichte Schützen, who have also access to them.
The Grenzer, E-German border guards, were a military separate from the NVA. They observed and defended the borders, and were relatively well trained, albeit lightly armed. I consider them one of the most underrated units of the Wargame universe.
In game they are given militia training, which does not reflect their historical training well, but keeps the price down. Especially compared to regular trained recon they are cost effective if you use them correctly. Do not, repeat, not attempt any active recon by running around and trying to spot enemy high value targets behind their lines. Instead they are mobile observation posts for your lines. You can spread them all over the map due to their low price and thus you are much harder to surprise. Achieving map control is easier with them.
Do not use them for anything combat related or scouting in enemy territory. They are purely defensive.
The Kampfschwimmerkommando 18 (KSK-18) was the Volksmarine’s elite unit of frogmen doing what frogmen do best.
In game they serve as snipers. As such they should not be used in active combat, because they die very quickly although they do pack quite a punch. The sniper rifle and the SMG provide anti-infantry firepower in close and in long range combat. Nevertheless, their true nature is that of a super stealthy spotter of high value targets to be destroyed via high-end artillery, which the DDR fortunately has. And if inserted quickly by a Mi-24 they can go deep into enemy territory.
In enemy territory combat should be avoided at all costs though.
The special recon teams were divisional assets for recon deep in enemy territory.
In game, they have adequate firepower for such operations, but are not survivable enough for heavy combat because they only have five men. The whole unit class suffers from this problem. Also they have only “very good” stealth, which is not enough for such a vulnerable team.
For long range recon the Kampfschwimmer are always the better choice, and for watching your lines the Grenzer do it for less. In the current meta I have to say: avoid them.
EDIT: you will find a most interesting, totally different opinion on them made by Mister Maf:
Mister Maf wrote:Flieger wrote:Thanks for the explanation. In a way, it makes sense. But are they really stealthier than 10-men teams? Because they both have "very-good" stealth. It might really change my perception if they got better stealth than the 10-men recon units.
10- and 5-man recon teams do have the concealment rating, but the larger squad size in 10-man teams makes them more likely to accidentally poke out of cover when you don't want them to, especially in spotty cover like hedgerows or forests that have gaps/rocks in them. Remember, these guys run in a big ring formation. On multiple occasions I've had my special forces infiltrators get caught because one or two guys out of the ten decided to stand out in the open like doofuses while the rest hid, or exposed themselves while navigating through very narrow cover. Even if it's only for a moment, that's all it can sometimes take for an attentive player to notice them and start hunting, and then you're at a high risk of losing one or more out of only four available commando squads.
Exceptional stealth two-man sniper teams are so sneaky because not only do they have the exceptional stealth rating, but it's extraordinarily unlikely for a squad member to accidentally step out of cover and give the whole squad away when they're walking along in hedgerows and such. 5-man shock teams are similar due to their tight formation, just with very good stealth instead of exceptional.
Of course, if you manage to get back there and find out that the guy's got a bunch of Fusiliers standing around his command Sultan, the best you can do is spot for artillery, because there's no way Spezialaufklärer are going to be able to fight their way in there on their own - but the same could be said for the snipers. But if you don't see it right away, you can feel fairly safe about combing the forests in the zone for the command unit, because they have enough firepower and training to take on pretty much any command up close that isn't a tank - and who puts a tank CV in their home sector?
That's why I say if you only have enough room for one recon squad in your deck, the 20-point 5-man shock teams are generally your best bet. They're the most flexible jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none option: they stay out of sight better than commandos, assassinate command units and artillery behind enemy lines better than snipers, and move much faster than militia - all with a balanced availability and price. If you have room for more than one squad in your deck, then by all means - take your pick of whatever other more specialized options are available and they'll probably serve you better working in tandem. From my experience, though, shock squads are actually a really capable Swiss army knife of a recon team.
The Aufklärungspanzer BRM-1K was a combat vehicle of the NVA’s recon forces, available in limited numbers only. Having radar equipment it is given exceptional-optics.
Being the only ground recon unit with exceptional-optics, it is simple mandatory. Since it is tracked, it is rather slow and the enemy will make it a priority target, and since it is slow, you need to watch it a lot.
I recommend using them to accompany your offensive operations only, they should not be used to watch over your lines.
The Artillerybeobachtungssystem (artillery observer system) SPW-60PB was tasked with designating targets for artillery strikes, as well as coordinating artillery with the advancing tanks and IFVs.
In game the ABS has worse optics than the BRM-1 but it is a lot faster and costs less. While I generally prefer the BRM-1, the ABS is a passable alternative when the BRM-1 is not available.
The Spähpanzer T-55 represents the tanks used for recon, although in real life, these would not be such old tanks. At least not exclusively...
In game, the T-55 is fairly useful especially in armoured and mechanized decks when you only have a limited number of BRM-1s. Like most DDR recon vehicles it has good optics, but much heavier armour allowing it to keep up its recon post even under fire. It can also fire back with relatively respectable firepower, although it will not hit much.
It is another good choice to accompany your offenses, but it can also provide recon in defensive positions due its durability even under direct fire.
Of all the cheap, good optics vehicles the DDR has in overabundance, the SPW-40A is the most useable.
It is relatively fast and can take on infantry quite well, also on light vehicles thanks to 1AP. But what makes it stand out is the 1750m anti-helo range. It is the greatest anti-helo range found on ground recon units in game, except the VBL Mistral of course. Posed in the rear, it can be nasty surprise for helicopter insertions, because it spots them early and outranges most of Blufor’s transport helos’ weapons.
You need to micro this unit a lot, but occasionally, it may pay off. All the other good-optics vehicles are not worth it, imo.
The NVA did not possess many of these radar equipped helicopters, and they were used slightly different, but at least we got an exceptional-optics helo. There is not much to say about, though. Keep them away from trouble, as they are unarmed.
Your standard recon chopper, nothing special about it. Used when the Mi-8R is not available, it does its job ok, having very-good optics for almost half the price of the Mi-8R. Still, when in doubt, I prefer the latter.
T-72 / T-72M / T-72M1
The T-72 was the pride and joy of the E-German armoured force, given to the best units like the 9. Panzerdivision, which by 1989 was exclusively equipped with them. Initially it had been planned to introduce the T-64, but then the T-72 was designated the standard tank of the NSWP states. The NVA operated a total of 549 T-72.
The base line T-72 is the same in all NSWP and USSR decks. It is relatively well armoured; NATO tanks usually have to do with a lot less in this price range, those also do not have an autoloader of the T-72, which is immune to moral damage. The firepower is ok for the price, perhaps a bit on the weak side. If you need a low-cost tank, this is a good choice.
The next step, the T-72M, steps up a bit in terms of firepower being more accurate and longer ranged, and has a bit more armour. But the price increase is also notable in the low-cost segment. Since you better use them as support tank for your infantry or as damage soaker for your best tanks, the base T-72 is generally a wiser choice.
The best tank the NVA historically had was the T-72M1, and it is a very cost effective tank in game. It should be your mainstay as it is affordable, relatively mobile, and packs quite a punch for its 80pt. However it is not cheap, you cannot squander them. So as long as you do not try going toe to toe with NATO heavies, this tank will serve you well.
T-72S / T-72S1
The NVA had its eyes on several improvements for the T-72, especially FCS, ERA, and GLATGM, being well aware that even their best T-72 was hopelessly outmatched by the Leopard 2 and M1. From 1993 on the DDR would have started to refit their T-72 to this new standard and from 1995 on factory fresh T-72S would have reached E-Germany – at least according the wishes of the NVA.
Indeed the T-72S and S1 can tangle with Leo 2 and M1, unless you try to engage the very best versions. They are identical except for the GLATGM. Good firepower and mobility are well worth the price. The Svir missile only costs 5pt extra and is also worth it; not because it is terribly good, just because it so cheap.
These tanks are your only means to compete in tank battles and are mandatory for your deck when available.
With more than 2.000 T-55 even in 1988, and still some 1.600 T-55 when the NVA was dissolved, this tank was the mainstay of the E-German tank power.
In game it is not. The T-55A may fill your need for a really cheap tank but it is really more of a deterrent than an actual threat to the enemy as it just does not hit the target and fires very slowly. The damage output is miserable. Furthermore the armour is not that good for the price, and this is not even taking the Centurion into account. If one does, the armour downright looks bad.
The T-55AM1PB is a little more interesting. It has better firepower than the base T-72 for some points less, but it is also slower and a little less armoured. But as firepower is not a strong point of both of them, and is mainly used against vehicles and infantry, the T-55 loses this comparison. It is worth a thought, but I usually decide for the T-72.
The T-55AM2PB has a little higher AP than the 1PB, also a little better armour, but that is not main difference. The GLATGM Bastion is. If we were ignoring it, the T-72 line would again win this comparison. But the Bastion changes the picture. It is not a good missile; however it is a missile with its inherent advantages on an armoured platform which gives NATO tanks in the same price range something to worry about. The problem is that it is just does not enough damage for my taste. I am undecided what recommendation to give. It surely fills the gap between the base T-72 and the T-72M1.
EDIT: again an intresting opinion by Mister Maf:
Even if they don't hit much, the psychological power of a whole bunch of missiles coming out of an advancing armored group (remember that your only other tank missiles as East Germany come from the T-72S) can sometimes be enough to rout the enemy. If they don't rout, well...then they get to eat a bunch of missiles. Multiple 40% accuracy 17 AP missiles all focused on the same target is nothing to laugh at. This is coming from somebody who built his deck such that every tank has a missile except the very top tier one (which has an autocannon to compensate) - it works. Just make sure you carefully manage your ammo - you only get four per tank, so you don't to waste them on some random APC. Still, four per tank on just four tanks is 16 missiles - that can do a lot in your favor in a firefight. You might find it to be just what you needed taking on NATO heavy armor as DDR?
A legendary tank, a symbol even for the NVA soldiers whose fathers often fought against, and the first tank the NVA took into service. Actually not a KPz but a mittlerer Panzer (medium tank), the NVA had some 500 of them, all build in 1945. Despite slight improvements they had to be relegated to reserve formations from 1961 on. By 1979 it was no longer present in noteworthy numbers, although the very last T-34 only retired from the GT in 1989.
In game it is very hard justifying a tank slot for it. The T-34 simply has no place on a modern battlefield. For some weird reasons it is more accurate than the T-55, but that does not help the general uselessness of the T-34.
Considered a short range system by the NVA, the KUB served to protect tank and infantry formations against enemy aircraft. It was seen as inadequate for this task already in the 70ies, because it was too slow, the set-up time took too long, and the system itself with its multiple vehicles was too cumbersome for actual frontline duties. The NVA, with its limited funds, had to keep in service until finally replaced by the OSA in 1984.
Other than in era-match or for a hard-core historical set-up, you really do not need the KUB. It has long anti-plane range and it does ok for the price, but that does not mean much. Low speed, autonomy and ammo count mean that you have to babysit this unit more than most Radar guided units, which need babysitting already due to the SEAD threat.
In 1984, the NVA received the first Fla-Kom 9K33M2, also known as OSA AK. The predecessor was not in the NVA’s service. The first unit to get them was the FRR 8 (Flugabwehrraketenregiment / SAM regiment), attached to the 8. MSD (Mot.-Schützendivision), which was responsible for offensive operations against Denmark mostly. Later the FRR 11 also got OSA AK; they were attached to the 8. MSD, which was another high quality formation for a strike through Fulda-Gap or against rebel Czechs. The OSA AKM was introduced to these units from 1987 on, although in smaller numbers. The OSA was the direct successor of the KUB, as the NVA wished for a more mobile air defence of its quickly advancing troops. The OSA was very much liked by the soldiers and the latest model had to be returned to the Soviet Union being sensitive technology, although some were kept for training and evaluation purposes (which somewhat undermines the idea of returning sensitive high-tech).
In game, the OSA line is a truly mobile air defence, being wheeled and thus very fast. While not a long range system, the OSA still brings suitable range and firepower in its respective categories. In Cat-A however, the OSA AKM is simply overshadowed by other AA systems. The availability increase coming with the DLC should make it a little more interesting though. Also you should underestimate what it can do in a motorized deck.
Like all Radar AA it is vulnerable to SEAD and they are quickly destroyed lacking armour. If you play a motorized deck or a historical DDR deck, then the OSA AKM is your first choice.
Perhaps the most unicorn-ish unit of the DDR, the TOR was indeed the wet dream of the TLA. Being the successor of the OSA in the Soviet Group of Forces in Germany, it is however only logical that the NVA would have followed this example. Indeed the TOR was on the NVA’s wish lists. Certainly this would not have happened before 1995, if in the 90ies at all, but it would have happened sooner or later.
[I personally would have preferred the BUK, which we know was to be introduced until 1993]
The TOR is the DDR’s longest ranging AA system in game, against helicopters and airplanes, and it is also the most accurately shooting one. As such it is hard not to recommend it. It is slower than the OSA due to its tracks, but that is not a big problem since its natural partner, the Tunguska, also has tracks.
Like all Radar AA, you need to watch it all the time prepared to shut it down when a SEAD plane is incoming.
Both these Fla-Kom Strela were introduced to the TLA to accompany armoured and mechanized formations directly in combat. The Strela-1 however was available in really small numbers only, because the USSR could not deliver them on time and the NVA later on switched to the Strela-10, which also came in small numbers only. Thus a total of 12 Strela-1 and 36 Strela-10 was available. They primarily protected tank units. The Strela-10 had to be returned to the Soviet Union being sensitive technology.
Both game units share the FF and IR trait of the missile, which is a very useful feature in the presence of SEAD. But other than that the units are very different. The Strela-1 is a wheeled and therefore fast vehicle, but the missile is relatively short ranged and low powered. The chief disadvantage is the low ammo count of only four missiles, which makes it very hard to use. The Strela-10 however comes with 12 missiles, which have a somewhat greater range and accuracy, making this unit a viable choice if you need non-SEADable AA. It is furthermore well priced.
The Fliegerabwehr-Startanlage 4 (anti-airplane launcher platform) is little more than four Strela-2 manpads grouped together. This system was mounted on a truck for the short range air defence of LSK airfields. It was intended for frontline duties, but merely to ease the job of the airfield defenders.
In game, the unit strangely has Strela-3 missiles, which were never available to the NVA. But that is ok, since the Strela-2 in game is simply useless. However a more useful what-if solution would have been the Igla-1. Anyway, since the unit uses man portable missiles, you cannot expect much. They are short ranged and have a very low HE value. The prime advantage is the capacity to bring 12 missiles quickly to any place of the map, e.g. when protecting motorized landgrabs.
In specialized decks, they may well be worth a deck slot, but overall the TLA offers better alternatives.
Introduced in 1969, the Shilka was the TLA’s standard SPAAG. It continued to serve as such until the very end of the DDR, supplemented only by Strela-1 and Strela-10 to make up for its small range. Within its range, the Shilka was still seen as an acceptable AA, although the NVA looked for solutions to either improve or replace the Shilka.
Pretty much the same could be said about units in game. Within its range, the Fla-SFL 23/4M is a totally viable AA, the problem is that the range is short by the standards of a Cat-A game. The baseline version is even worse, as it is shorter ranged and has a terribly low accuracy for a Radar guided unit.
I found very little use for the Shilka in game.
The Tunguska is in many ways the logical replacement of the Shilkas and the rumours about its introduction into the NVA are dense. In fact, we know the NVA already introduced the fitting C&C vehicle of the battery commander in 1989, send officers to the USSR for training purposes, and wanted to replace the Shilka. So it is fair to assume that the Tunguska would have arrived in the early 90ies had the DDR not fallen.
The only difference to the upgraded Tunguska-M which the Soviets can enjoy is in the lower range and accuracy of the missiles. They still outrange even the longest ranging NATO helicopter missiles and do not even need Radar to be guided. This capability alone makes the Tunguska an interesting system, but it also comes with excellent AA cannons as well, perhaps even the best in game: high range, ok accuracy, and insane rate of fire.
It is not as good as the Tunguska-M, but still can do the same for less. That is a good deal.
The self-propelled Granatwerfer (literally grenade launcher, however in western terms it is really a mortar) Tundscha came in 1985 to provide the Mot.-Schützen with more mobile fire support. Only very few were delivered when the Wall fell.
It is a lovable unit in game. It is one of the better mortars and while this does not mean much in terms of raw killing power, it can serve you as force multiplier. You can quickly lay down accurate demoralizing fire on enemy units, and you can shoot smoke grenades to cover your advances or retreats much faster and more flexible than heavy tube artillery could.
It is an ideal support weapon for a small price.
SFL-Hb 2S1 and 2S3
At the end of the 70ies, the NVA began introducing modern self-propelled artillery, which was first assigned to the Artillerieregiment 9 of the 9. Panzerdivision, later the Artillerieregiment 7 of the 7. Panzerdivision followed. After that, the Mot.-Schützen regiments were slowly given SPGs too; first those equipped with BMP, then those with SPW. Long story short, SPG were meant to be direct support tool of the armoured and mechanized formations, closely following them and even fight together with them if needed.
In game, there is very little use for both these artillery units. Due to the long aim time and low accuracy they are very inflexible and hard to use even in the offense. The actual killing power is not much worse than on high-end system so that you should be able to group some of these cheaper units and achieve devastating effects.
However this rarely if ever works in practice so that I have to recommend not using them.
Another controversial unit, the MSTA-S. It was introduced to the Soviet army only in 1989 and was not even revealed to the public when the DDR collapsed. We know the NVA wanted it, and it had the C&C vehicle already, but I also doubt it could have been acquired in the 90ies.
This top-of-line artillery unit sports modern FCS and has 10s aim time. The actual firepower is not overly impressive in its class but perfectly enough to kill with good precision. I am not much of a tube artillery player, but if I use the MSTA-S, it is to destroy the targets which my Kampfschwimmer spotted. This combination of excellent stealth, 10s aim time and firepower can be devastating. Of course, it also performs well in regular fire support missions.
For an artillery system it is well armoured and relatively mobile for being tracked, so enemy counter battery fire will have trouble killing it. The only disadvantage is the direct fire capability of the main gun, which only increases the price but has little practical use.
MFRW BM-21 and RM-70
The BM-21 is just barely in timeframe. Introduced in 1967 as divisional rocket artillery, it was phased out by 1976 when replaced by the RM-70 which used the same weapon system but on a better chassis, the Tatra 815. It was armoured, more mobile, and could carry a second set of rockets directly with it.
All these advantages are reflected in game, although the mobility and armour advantage can be neglected. Interestingly the RM-70 also has slightly higher rate of fire, which naturally adds to its destructive potential. You have to decide for yourself if that is worth the price increase, but I tend to say yes as the extra rockets eases your supply situation a lot. As for the rocket artillery itself, it is again a rather standard performance system. They are not for cleaning an area of enemies, but they can hurt, demoralize and even stun them, which makes the work of your troops much easier. In short, they are a force multiplier. The Uragan will have greater effect on the vehicles and less effect on the infantry.
In 1988, the Scientific Military-Technology Council of the Warsaw Pact recommended the long term introduction of the BM-27 Uragan to the rocket artillery of its members. Again, it is rather unlikely that it would have come by 1991 or even 1995. Unlike tube artillery, rocket artillery was a divisional asset and nowhere near the frontlines. The BM-27 would have made exception.
The unit in game serves as the infamous cluster munition launcher. There is nothing wrong with it as such. On the contrary it has good firepower, killing lightly armoured vehicles and damaging others very well, and can only be recommended if you like to use cluster artillery.
The BM-24 was an obsolete system by the time of Wargame and iirc it was no longer in use.
Anyway, in game it has the task of shooting napalm rockets all over the map. Napalm rocket artillery units serves specific needs, such as to set a town on fire where you suspect infantry or cover your retreats from such a town because the smoke breaks the line of sight. They are less vulnerable but also less precise and slower in effect than dedicated napalm bombers.
It is hard to give a recommendation. Like regular HE rocket artillery units they are best seen as force multipliers and are even more effective against infantry when you are close enough for a small dispersion pattern. But unlike HE rockets, the napalm effects lasts longer so you have to think ahead. I found napalm rockets useful when fired just behind enemy positions I assault. It breaks the enemy’s support units’ line of sight and makes it a lot harder to reinforce the position I attack.
The TO-55 was never in the service of East Germany. I do not even know if the NVA had any interest in flame tanks, so there is not much I could tell about from the historical point of view.
In game, it is a reliable tool to kill infantry, heavier armoured than most flame vehicles. In the woods, these units will make short work of every infantry when used in pairs. They are bit less capable in urban combat, but still ok. You can also use it to screen a retreat with flames and smoke.
While not a mandatory unit, it is not without its merits and worth a slot in the vehicle section where it does not have much competition for the slots anyway.
The Fla-SFL 57-2 was introduced to the DDR as divisional and regimental air defence asset of tank units. Later on, Mot.-Schützen units also received it. It was an AA until it was withdrawn from service in the 80ies. Therefore it is actually not entirely correct putting it in the vehicle tab since the NVA did not use it for fire support. In fact, AA assets were too important to waste them in such a role.
As a Wargame unit it is actually ok in this role. It can support troops rather well and offers good firepower for suppressing enemy units. Although its AA capabilities were greatly reduced with the range nerf, it is nonetheless a credible enough threat to helos. Of course, all that goes with the caveat that it is only “ok” for its low price.
Lacking competition, it can be worth a slot.
Unlike the 57-2, this unit is actually a very close representation of the role it historically had in the DDR. These light vehicles were designed to provide close range cover for the larger AA units, against air and ground threats.
Ironically, it has a greater range against helicopters than the big 57-2 in game. For a mere 10pt that is not too bad, and it can combat light vehicles and infantry too. However, the recon SPW-40 has the same weaponry, on a faster platform with added optics. I thus tend to prefer the SPW-40 rather than this, unless I got activation points to waste.
The Panzerjäger UAZ jeeps with SPG-9 served for adding AT firepower to the Mot.-Schützen units equipped with BTR (and thus lacking the BMP ATGM). They were also important to the paratroopers who also lacked strong vehicle AT. They kept the UAZ with SPG-9 to the end, while the Mot.-Schützen went for SPW-40P2 with ATGM if available. The Fagot was imo not mounted on an UAZ in the NVA.
I hate jeeps with a passion and these two are no exception. The Fagot variant must be one of the most useless units in the whole game. The SPG-9 variant at least has some use, having good range and HE power, so it can support troops for a low price. But it is also quickly killed, has a low rate of fire and AP power.
You may take the UAZ SPG into your deck and if you are lucky, it will not be totally useless. I would generally invest my ten points in another unit.
The SPW-40P2 supplemented the jeeps in the AT role of Mot.-Schützen units. Due the limited numbers of both vehicles (79 with Maljutka; 52 with Konkurs) they were never fully present in all units though.
The Maljutka variant is no good as the missile is bad, but the Konkurs actually has the chance to hit and hurt something. It is nowhere near as threatening as it was in ALB due to much heavier armoured opponents. Nonetheless I like it as it quickly brings AT power to wherever you need it, and the price is fair.
Often there are better options, but sometimes the SPW-40P with Konkurs can be nice unit and is thus the only vehicle I’d recommend.
Usually “HS” means Hubschrauber, helicopter, but not in this case. DHS is short for Diensthabendes System der Luftverteidigung (on-duty system of the air defence). It was the first line of defence the Warsaw Pact, including the USSR, had. As a joint operation between German and Soviet forces the units attached to the DHS were very much standardized in equipment and doctrine. In the 80ies, Mi-24 helicopters were added to the DHS to intercept NATO helos which had “strayed” across the border and low-speed civilian aircraft which would provoke violation of the E-German airspace. A Mi-24 could scare the hell out of a Cessna-pilot while a MiG would have just rushed by. Concerning WWIII, E-Germany realized that it needed AA choppers as much as most other nations did. Towards the very end, the Mi-24P attached to the DHS were to fly with gunpods, probably for AA duties. I think it is a small step from that to real AA missiles.
[Internal information: Originally, during the DLC development, a R60 armed Mi-24 was intended for Poland being the helo expert. The Polish marshal declined, for reasons I cannot follow. It was then offered to the DDR, which had no AA helo. With the DHS in mind, I thought this was a good idea, and I was happy the DDR could ‘adopt’ this lost child.]
In game, the DHS Mi-24 is not only a good AA chopper, it also has the best ATGM of E-Germany. It thus serves a dual role of busting tanks and attacking other helos and aircraft. The latter is certainly the most important role it has. With the extraordinary long range and good HE, it is a mighty deterrent against any helo, especially as it is fast and well armoured. The AT capacity is nice, too. It is unlikely that they would have flown both, AT and AA, and the Kokon-M was historically not in the DDR’s arsenal. But I like it.
The DHS Mi-24P is a predator. You prowl the battlefield like a wolf, always ready to strike. Being only helo AA and one of the best AT options you have as DDR, you will always find targets to kill which other cannot kill or only with greater difficulty. Ok, so the R60 misses sometimes. Still the very presence of this predator makes enemies think twice. Additionally the DHS Mi-24P is a perfect escort helicopter, especially for long range insertions of SF troops and early landgrabs. The THS will provide the necessary rockets, while the missiles of the DHS kill air and armoured targets.
(sorry, that was rather not good for a “small” unit guide, but I like that unit a lot).
The Mi-24P was for the army aviation what the MiG-29 was for the LSK, the pride and joy. This is the most accurate representation of what a late 80ies E-German attack helo looked like. In fact, these helos came so late, the DDR was about to be dissolved and the secretary of defence did not even want them anymore but had to buy them due to Soviet pressure. The Bundeswehr evaluated them positively, but still they were not adopted into German service after the Reunification.
In game, the KHS Mi-24P is nothing special, but it can do its job of supporting troops. None of its weapons are any noteworthy, they are just adequate for what you want to use them. The rockets are ok, not great; the missiles are ok, not great. The Mi-24P is priced accordingly and totally worth it. Just do not expect it to perform miracles. It is no Apache.
DDR can into air assault – this could have been the motto when purchasing the Mi-8 as a dedicated attack helicopter. It was meant to be a cheap stopgap until enough Mi-24 were available in greater numbers. This lumbering helo was suboptimal in that role, but it could carry a lot of weapons.
The Mi-8 in-game is not very interesting. It has a good rocket load, but the missiles are borderline useless. The THS versions can almost do the same for a lot less money, even though the KHS Mi-8 is quite low priced already. In an airborne deck, they may take a slot – but only because you have so many activation points. Usually, the KHS Mi-24 is a better choice.
The shining pearl of the NVA was the MiG-29. It is the only larger weapon system that the Bundeswehr continued to use, which itself is a testimony to its combat potential. In the short range brawls over the skies of Central Europe during WWIII there was hardly a better plane, as BVR would not have counted for much in an environment over a very small territory where you hit the afterburner and are amidst of thousands of airplanes battling it out.
The in game version of the MiG-29 took it a step further, adding excellent long range F&F missiles. Simply put, it is the best air superiority fighter of the DDR and even the best of the whole coalition. The enemy really need to throw the very best fighters in game at you to defeat it. However the MiG-29 comes with one card only, so the availability is low.
The question is not whether to take it or not, the question is whether to take 1x elite veterancy or 2x trained. I am undecided myself, and I often switch. Only when you can back up the MiG-29 with other fighters you should definitely go for 1x elite.
The MiG-23 line was not liked the by E-German pilots, nor by the high command. Build with long range engagements in mind, these fighters were as misplaced in Germany as they could be. The Germans preferred the more agile MiG-21 and MiG-29, seeking to replace the MiG-23 as fast as possible.
In game, the MiG-23 fighter is also a subpar solution. It does offer long range combat capacity, but nothing impressive. The close range armament is better, even good, so you can effectively support the MiG-29. But I found that the cheaper MiG-21 Lazur does a better job at that.
The Lasur (in the German transliteration) was an automated C&C system added to the latest improvements of the venerable MiG-21 in E-German service. Pilots loved that plane for its simplicity and agility.
These factors are well represented in game. The armament is simple but effective, consisting of six short range F&F missiles. They are a bit worse than on the -23ML, though. Still they can do their job of supporting the MiG-29 well, as the excellent speed of the Lazur allows to quickly closing the distance. Also, they can combat helos better since all their missiles have anti-helo range.
Since of that comes in an affordable package costing 85pt and good availability (4x hardened, 2x elite vs 4x trained, 2x elite on the -23ML), I would recommend using this as your second line fighter.
The Susi, as the Su-22 was affectionately called was the single high-tech solution the LSK had to attack ground and sea targets. Guided munitions were not the prime means of attack, even for the Susi, but it had a wealth of options if you wanted them – explicitly including several types of ARM.
This is the in game Su-22M4P, filling your need for a SEAD aircraft and filling it adequately. The missiles are relatively precise, their range is relatively high, and they can take out most AA in a single shot. You only get two of those, but I do not think that is a too big weakness since SEAD planes should not loiter too much.
You need to be extra careful with your M4P, because the availability is bad (2x rookie, which you should never do, and 1x veteran) and the Susi itself is slow, while having not a great ECM for a SEAD. Nonetheless it is a capable option you should consider taking into your deck.
The Susi could also carry lots of AGM designed to take out tanks, bunkers, and ships.
The missiles we have in game are nothing special, but they pack quite a punch. As such, the Su-22M4 can positively be a threat to even the best tanks, but you need to be extra, extra careful. It is slow, has low ECM and low availability.
Perhaps the greatest surprise of the DLC, the MiG-25 has some historical basis. In the 70ies already the Soviets wanted to sell the air defense version to the DDR, which respectfully declined answering: “where shall my interceptors make their first turn: over Paris?”, referring to the bad turn radius of the MiG-25. Indeed as an interceptor over Germany’s small and cluttered air space the MiG-25 was a really bad idea. But the recon/bomber version was a different matter. In JGB-37 (fighter bomber wing 37) it was planned to replace the universally disliked MiG-23BN. Since manoeuvrability is a subordinate issue for a bomber, while speed and ECM are primary issues, it was believed the MiG-25 would be a good choice.
Indeed, with its high speed, ok ECM, and payload, the MiG-25 is one of the best bombers in game. It may not be a nuke bomber like the F-111C of Anzac, but it gets the job done with good chance of returning home. There is nothing all too special about it, so I cannot say much other than that it is a good bomber.
Perhaps it is the best embodiment of the DDR in the game: a relatively low-tech solution that is not special, but gets the job done for you. Let the Soviets indulge in their 2000’s prototype madness, I gladly take the 70ies-tech bomber. Cost effective.
The MiG-17 seem obsolete in a game set 1991, but in fact the LSK kept the MiG-17 in frontline service as fighter bombers until the mid-80ies. They were reliable and liked by the aircrews, although everyone knew the chances of survival on a modern battlefield.
And it is no different in game. These planes are basically one-way-bombers, unless the enemy really screws up or you use them to bomb inserted troops deep in your territory. However they are well armed (better than what their historical counterparts would have carried, btw.), for their price that is.
Usually you just do not have the slots left for them, unless in an airborne deck. But in this case, I would not underestimate what a cheap bomber can do.
The MiG-23BN was something of the unloved stepchild of the LSKM; even before the Wall fell the DDR tried to sell them but found no one who would buy them. That is the only reason it served as long as it did. However it was not a terribly bad aircraft, in fact it did rather well, it just was not as likeable as the MiG-21 or the spiffier Su-22.
As a cluster bomber in game, you can use them to some good effect, although it is limited to what a cluster bomber can do. However for its class, the MiG-23 is actually pretty good. It is fast, has some ECM, and does not waste any points on multi-role armament. So you can use them to the maximum effect without thinking too much. And that is good.
Another iteration of the MiG-21, the LSK’s most numerous and most beloved airplane, this napalm bomber does what napalm bombers do. However it is very fast, probably the fastest of its class, and has at least minimum ECM. The MiG-21 thus can deliver its payload almost always, even in a high threat environment.
A MiG-21 version again, this is your rocket plane. It is fast like all MiG-21, fires the rockets in a volley and is gone. As such it is a reliable aircraft if you need rocket support. It is up to you whether you use the IRM for self-defence or if you go helicopter hunting. I for one would not consider it a true multirole aircraft though.
Deck overview by Raventhefuhrer
Deck overview by Stealth
Deck overview by Ace of Spades