On Soviet Artillery II

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On Soviet Artillery II

Postby matrin » Fri 19 Apr 2019 11:42

In the midst of Beta Phase II I made a post about the sorry state of Soviet artillery and it's poor representation in steel Division 2. Here I am again, making the same argument because nothing has changed and MadMat's assurances that "Infantry" Divisions will have access to 122mm on map M-30 howitzers.

So far we have seen 3 of 9 Soviet divisions, so not a majority, but these 3 divisions are supposed to represent the best that the USSR has to offer in SD2 and the artillery tab has so far hardly come to play with tube artillery. Rocket artillery has been excellent for the Soviet divisions, but the tube artillery has been very poorly represented. To start, the 76mm F-22 divisional gun that the Soviets get is the one they went into 1941 with, a gun which had stopped production in 1939 and armed very few divisions in 1944. The Zis-3 76mm had long since replaced the F-22 as the primary divisional gun of almost every division of the army or the F-22 USV, which is a different gun from the one we have in game and was also mostly replaced by the Zis-3. This puts the Zis-3 in a very unique position, as it served as both the primary field gun and heavy anti-tank gun of most Soviet divisions. The German's have no equivalent artillery gun, and the Western allies' closest counterpart is the 25 pounder, though it was not typical doctrine outside of the North African Desert.

On to the representation of Soviet artillery Doctrine itself. The Soviet military doctrine saw artillery as one of the central components to any successful defense or offense as opposed to the supportive role that the German, American, and British armies saw the use of artillery. This means that the Soviets preferred to use their larger guns in more centralized units that were given priority missions to support attacks, defenses, counter-battery, and critical point barrages. These tended to be pre-planned or pre-sighted operations, but they were also very well coordinated and often could be walked forward of advancing troops in high concentration.(1, pg. 5-7) In SD2, this is totally absent, for an army that concentrated upwards of 300 guns per mile of front, they seem to have few medium and heavy artillery options, while the German divisions all have had a plethora of medium and heavy artillery options. The Soviet tank Corps don't have organic artillery higher than 76mm, though Soviet mortars should have the benefit of radios, though that will addressed later. That is fine, but they should get plentiful access to 122mm and 152mm offmaps then if you are not going to give them the guns that would have likely been assigned to their front directly. There is, however, no excuse for the Guards Rifle division to not have 122mm howitzers, which were organic to ever rifle and guards rifle division of the time.(2) I feel as though these soviet divisions are being unfairly stripped of their fire superiority in artillery because Soviet Military doctrine doesn't conform to German/Western military doctrine on artillery assignment and application on a divisional basis.

Now I come to Soviet mortar usage in combat. First off, the Soviets placed Mortars, medium(82mm) and heavy (120mm) in a position much more similar to German and Allied medium artillery pieces. I mean that as them being the primary reactive pieces of artillery at the regimental and divisional level. As such, soviet mortars should get the benefit of using forward observers, since soviet doctrine emphasized the use of mortars en masse and in coordination with a very forward observer through radio or field telephone. This was true in 1941 and was even more true in 1944, since better equipment and practices allowed mortars and observers to practice this coordination much more safely than they had in the early war. Whereas 81mm German mortars were more likely to either be directly spotted or used more decentralized a the battalion level, the Soviets tended to treat their mortars as Americans or Germans would treat 105mm howitzer barrages, calling in corrections and walking the mortars onto their targets. This is especially true of the heavy mortar batteries. Of course in order for man packed mortars to be useful, the alignment bug needs to be fixed. But this is just another area where Eugen has failed to really even do cursory research on the employment of artillery in Soviet Doctrine, which should greatly effect how artillery is implemented in SD2.

In short, the Soviet artillery tab is getting the shortest end of the stick possible as far as tube artillery is concerned, while the German divisions are showered in every piece that could potentially be assigned to it. I would love to see what sources Eugen has used to determine the artillery compliments that every division has available to it. I have tried to find open sources, but it is quite difficult and I am not in a position to purchase a half dozen books on this very specific subject, though I would love to. I have, below, cited three sources though that have informed some of my more fact reliant conclusions.

(1) https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... 0001-6.pdf
(2) http://www.niehorster.org/012_ussr/44_o ... 4_grd.html
(3 Not cited, but good for further reading) https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/view ... odmilintel

Also posted in reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Steel_Division ... illery_ii/
Also Posted on Steam: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1036860/ ... 059358401/

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Re: On Soviet Artillery II

Postby Rabidnid » Fri 19 Apr 2019 16:17

Yes to all that.

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Re: On Soviet Artillery II

Postby Sunburn » Fri 26 Apr 2019 14:50

That was a good read +1 from me.

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