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Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by ioncore, May 26, 2020.
Part I is published here.
I will post links to subsequent parts as comments in this thread.
Great piece! Really interesting, nice images. Really makes you look forward to getting the DLC.
Questions: I wonder about 3 aspects:
1) Supply before and during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol was quite challenging for the Russians (big understatement):
Supply trucks had to be used for the last leg (600-700 km) to the staging areas/FUPs. The unfavorable terrain (steppe that appeared almost like desert terain, dusty, high temperatures) didn't just test the mechanical equipment, the temperature and the arid landscape also forced the Russians to either create water depots along the last leg (to refill the trucks' cooling systems) or to even send water tankers with them.
I am not sure about the range of Russian trucks in 1939, but I could imagine that they also had to be refueled several times along the way to the FUP/field supply drop point (given the high fuel consumption of pre-war car and truck engines), then at the FUP and then again several times on the return trip halfway between the FUP and the supply base. The round-trip must have taken 4-5 days.
If spare parts were needed but not available in the Baikal region, then they had to be shipped from central depots, 7,000 - 8,000 km away. Firewood (field kitchens) had to be hauled to the region.
Technically, the tanker columns brought fuel to the FUP but they also had to take away quite some fuel again, when they refueled at the FUP for the turnaround. Some authors insist that last bit of the railway line (to the supply base) was a (very) low capacity line, means it did not support heavily loaded train cars, which must have created another bottleneck.
Is that ...
If so, did it have an effect on the supply situation of the involved combat units?
If so, is this considered for the supply regime in the Khalkhin scenarios?
2) Since the Japanese (completely?) lacked AT equipment, they resorted to the use of gasoline bottles and formed "tank killer squads" equipped with that early version of a Molotov cocktail, but also equipped with satchel packs. In the hot environment, the Russian BT-5 was prone to catching fire when operating in hot environments (+38°C -and higher- locally, in the Mongolian plains) and being attacked with Molotovs. The Japanese exploited that.
Are these makeshift weapons rendered/included?
Are these squads rendered (say as AT platoons/squads)?
3) ADD employed long-range bombers (I am guessing Ilyushin Il-4) to bombard Japanese positions/units. While the results were quite frustrating (in the main, the raids proved to be ineffective, as far as I know), aerial missions were still conducted (for a while?). The Russians then learned that their artillery was their only effective bombardment branch against the Japanese.
Were those aerial raids really ineffective?
Do the Russians have aerial support in the Khalkhin scenarios?
If so, does their effectiveness ingame match your research/conclusions?
Is it possible to alter the effectiveness of air strikes in the scenario editor, at all?
If not, this would be a neat addition for a feature request.
At the time of Kh-G conflict Red Army was still relying upon the concept of Special Purpose Armies (a specialized heavy bomber air formation).
Technically speaking, ADD as such (as a standalone branch of Air Forces), was only created in August, 1941 by reorganizing its predecessor, DBA GK (Supreme Command's Long Range Aviation). In turn, DBA GK was created in 1940 by disbanding Special Purpose Armies which existed in 1936 - 1940.
However, no Special Purpose Army was engaged in Khalkhin-Gol conflict. The only heavy bombers took part in conflict were TB-3M-17 of 19th Transport-Sanitary Squadron (operational strength varied between 7 and 23 TB-3s at different periods). These TB-3s were regular bombers used for transport duties, so they did not require any conversion to begin flying bomber missions (starting on July 7th and until the end of the conflict, especially during August offensive).
Yes, as TB-3 have been conducting night missions only and their primary targets were rather small targets like Japanese supply depots, therefore their effectiveness was extremely low. The losses also were low, though, the squadron lost just one TB-3 (non-combat loss), and another TB-3 got combat damages due to the AAA fire (but returned safely to the base).
Yes, in-game air support is used to model other plane types - SB-2 mainly, and also fighters - conducted combat support missions during the conflict.
Unfortunately, no, but you can alter the number of air strikes available per day, which consequently adjusts the overall air strike effectiveness for the particular day (and whole scenario).
Internally, the game already has started implementing quite an advanced system which would allow you to create individual plane types with individual bombloads in the estab editor, and then assign these individual planes for particular strike missions as a player. But this feature was never finished/exposed to players or scenario designers. The reason why it is not available is that we always had (and still have) many more urgent and major things to do or to fix, and current air strike abstraction works good enough for most of players.
That said, I totally agree with you that this would be very nice feature to finish one day.
Well, not completely. They had 20mm Type 97 ATRs in their heavy weapon companies
Also, they have been employing their 13.2mm AAMGs in AT role using a special lightly armored mounts, but this was already in August.
In that sense, their infantry was far better AT-capable than Red Army's, for example.
Yes. Moreover, I differentiate between two kinds of infantry units - lacking AT experience (no Molotovs, only makeshift AT mines) and veterans (both AT mines and Molotovs).
In particular, Bain-Tsagan Slaughterhouse scenario models 64th, 71st and 72nd Inf Rgt companies as the former, and 26th, 28th Inf Rgt companies as the latter.
Sorry for huge pics, don't know how to resize them in this goddamned forum engine.
Yes, the supply situation was particularly chaotic and poorly organized in the opening weeks of the conflict.
One of the reasons was that Soviet 57th Special Corps in Mongolia was not prepared for full-scale combat in the East (Khalkhyn-Gol), most of its supply and fuel dumps (70%) were concentrated in the Southern Mongolia, which was thought to be a more likely operational axis in case of hostilities. Another reason was, of course the initial shock and strain, as many troops got redeployed to the East, and neither the supply system nor infrastructure there were prepared for that.
Situation started improving when Zhukov arrived and Trans-Baikal Military District was fully engaged at establishing a stable supply flow from the mainland. Many new truck units joined, and the daily delivered tonnage (supply, food and fuel combined) even increased from 600 tonns (before mid-July) to 1000 tonns (after mid-July) despite many new formations (two rifle divisions, several tank, motorized and armored car brigades, many independent units), thousands of people and hundreds of tanks and guns had to be transported into the theater and that also required allocating a lot of transport.
Normally, you would observe the effects of strained supply more on the operational level and over longer periods. Like, for example, the month-long pause between initial clash in late May and then next intensive battles in early July, then again, another month-long pause between late July and late August were exactly due to the supply network overloads and both sides' inability to conduct continuous intensive operations over the long period.
All my scenarios so far are rather short - 2-3 days only - and that means supply shortages are not that strikingly painful. Many units are not even able to fire off all their allocated ammo during the scenario. Nevertheless, all scenarios use very strict supply schedule (like merely 10-20% compared to the default/normal schedule) assigned to both sides to simulate their limited supply.
Nevertheless, I find the in-game supply management available to scenario designers lacking and inadequate, so I'd like to address some things there with future DLCs.
Thank you for the replies.
That sounds like a challenging and thrilling DLC.
Ok guys, you have seen the Dragon already, now meet the Bear in Part II.