Home Forums WWII Skirmish/Tactical Battles Kotluban 1942

This topic contains 33 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Rod Robertson Rod Robertson 2 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #59116
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    To the wise military enthusiasts of TWW:

    I’m looking for information on the brutal battles just north of Stalingrad on the steppes around the village of Kotluban between the Don and Volga rivers. I want to put together a series of WWII skirmish/tactical battles in 15mm involving platoon or under-strength company sized units that capture the flavour of the Kotluban operations and are as historically accurate as I can manage. My budget is limited so I don’t want to blow $150.00 CND on the excellent books by David M. Glantz concerning the Battle of Stalingrad. No library near me has the Glantz books so they are not an option even by inter-library loan. I have perused the mighty interweb but have come up rather short. I’ve dug through my own sources (books which I all ready own) and have found only passing references to the region and its fierce battles.

    Does anyone here know of a cheap paper source or a good internet source which covers these pivotal battles between late August and early October of 1942? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer.

    Cheers and good gaming.
    Rod Robertson.

    #59118
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    No idea but I would just make something up…

    #59119
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Tim and Kyoteblue:

    Oh don’t worry, gents. I do and I will. But I also like a bit of historical accuracy in some of my games. From what I understand at this point these battles were on par with the Stalingrad city battles for their military importance to the outcome of the Stalingrad struggle and the destruction of Von Paulus’ 6th Army and they also nearly bled Stalin and Zhukov dry of reserves.

    I have managed to cobble together one scenario from August 26th, 1942. The Germans have two hastily dug in and under-strength infantry platoons of two ten-man squads each plus one LMG per squad. They are also outfitted with two 50mm mortars and two two-man ATR teams. They are supported by two MG-34 MMG teams. The infantry screen and protect two 50mm PaK 38 AT guns and their crews plus two Opel Blitz trucks. There is a FOO team with a Kubelwagen spotting for 4 X 10.5 cm LeFH-18 guns off-board. The arty has very limited access due to workload and low ammo so only has a 30% chance of starting its one fire mission on any given turn and only a 60% chance of maintaining fire on the target. The Germans are further supported by one detachment of two StuG III B SPG’s accompanied by one squad of protective infantry with two LMG’s entering on Turn 3-5 randomly.

    The Soviets start the game with two under-strength platoons of infantry dug in, each with a platoon HQ team, one section of 9 Soviet infantry (with one LMG per section) and one conscript rifle squad each with 11 riflemen. They are well dug in and camouflaged. There is also a Maxim MMG team in support. They protect a 45mm M1932 AT gun and its crew along with a Komsomolyetz tractor. These are deployed on board about 200 meters from the German positions.

    Entering on turn one from the Soviet base line are two platoons of Soviet desant riflemen (two Ptn. HQ squads and four  desant squads) on seven T-34/76 M1942 medium tanks. The desant squads are eight-man squads each with two SMG’s and six riflemen. The battle lasts for at least twelve turns and the Soviets must clear all heavy weapons (PaK’s, StuG’s, ATR’s, MMG’s and Mortars from the board. The Germans must deny the Soviets mobility by maintaining at least on PaK or StuG intact and operational and at least two lesser support weapons, likewise functional. Morale is far more likely to disable these weapons than actual physical destruction but the Germans have good moral (regular for all but the StuG crews which are veterans) so some will have to be destroyed. Soviet morale is lower (green) so their attack force is quite brittle.

    The terrain is rolling steppe which is divided by some intermittent light woods and a shallow stream running roughly parallel to the base-lines of both sides. The stream is completely fordable with low banks but the tracked vehicles can safely cross with an easy bog check. The stream is about one third the distance from the Soviet base line to the German base line and is as far as the initial Soviet forces can deploy before the game starts.. There is one small, ruined farm complex in the German deployment area and no structures in the Soviet area.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59121
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I’m thinking Barbarossa  this summer…..maybe with FOW 4   if I like it.

    #59122
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Tim:

    Do not anger “She who must be obeyed” lest you suffer your own Stalingrad! Don’t sweat the look-up as I have Beevor’s book. Alas, I have trust issues with Anthony. His book on Crete had some errors/vagueness which led me astray some years back with respect to British “Whippet” light tanks. He meant Mark VI B’s and C’s (I’d never heard them referred to as ‘whippets’ before) and that coupled with a veteran New Zealand ex-pat’s stories of seeing antique armour on the island sold me on my mistake; so I was convinced Beevor meant WWI era Whippets. Jemima Fawr straightened me out on that one but since then Mr. Beevor and myself are unreliable sources in my own mind!

    Kyoteblue:

    I’ve been playing Barbarossa scenarios as much as possible over the last 15 months and have quite a few done and ready if you want them. They were designed for Battleground WWII rules and play-tested with both BGWWII and Bolt Action rules. They might need some tuning up for FOW and the infantry are listed as individually based rather than teams. But if you’re interested just tell me and I’ll e-mail you a few. I hope you have access to some pretty weird Soviet kit. One of the Battle of Brody-Dubro scenarios requires seven BT-7M’s and four T-35 land battleships!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Rod Robertson Rod Robertson.
    #59131
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    Beevors Stalingrad is cheap and might cover, but tbh, most accounts of operations in mid 1942 are just that, operations at divisional or corps level and above. Turning that into Tactical games can lead to the silliness of some of the Skirmish Campaigns scenarios where an entire panzer division assault on a city is reduced to one Panther and half a dozen infantry fighting over a hedge.

    Id just fund out the names of the parents formations and then make up some vaguely plausible scenarios in a sequence. Recce, assault, counterattack and exploitation are enough for a mini campaign with maybe an encircled uni breaking out to add an extra twist.

    Platoons and companies are expendable puffs of smoke in the overall scale of fighting in 1942.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #59146
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    MartinR wrote:

    Platoons and companies are expendable puffs of smoke in the overall scale of fighting in 1942.

    Well, yes, but the good news is that the big formations get smaller quite quickly. For example, at Kotluban’ the 12th Tank Brigade went into action with 22 T-34s and 13 T-70s after a 250km approach march, and at the end of one day’s fighting on 18th Sept was reduced to four tanks, consolidated into a single company.

    On line sources I have found are:

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/battles/Stalingrad/Stalingrad308RD_VIZh08_82.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/308th_Rifle_Division_(Soviet_Union)

    http://www.globeatwar.com/article/stalingrad-front-versus-sixth-armys-northern-flanks-first-kotluban-offensive

    http://tankfront.ru/ussr/tbr/bp/tbr012.html

    http://tankfront.ru/maps/ussr/tbr012-map-02.jpg

    The tankfront.ru page needs you to be able to read Russian. The map (last reference) gives and idea of the overall arrangement of operations, with 292, 308 and 316 rifle divisions attacking south from Koluban’ and 12 Tank Bde, separated from the supposedly-accompanying infantry of 292 Div, attacking as far as Borodkin Farm.

    If you don’t read Russian, automatic translation will give you a lot of it. However I would advise against using the Yandex translator, which produced the following alarming result:

    Взаимодействие же танковых экипажей с командными пунктами артиллеристов не было. Был ранен во время бомбежки командного пункта командир бригады полковник Кирнос А.С. Также запомнилось, что командир 1-го батальона капитан Трошин в свой танк во время атаки посадил воспитанника батальона мальчика Колю.

    The interaction of tank crews, with the command posts of the artillery was not. He was wounded during the bombing of the command post of the brigade commander, Colonel A. S. Kirnos Also be remembered that the commander of the 1st battalion captain Troshin in your tank during the attack put the battalion pupil of the boy’s prick.

    That last bit should be “I also recall that Capt Troshin, CO of the 1st Bn, put the battalion mascot (“foster-child”) Kolya in his tank.”

    I may or may not get round to doing a proper translation of the piece this weekend, into British miitary English rather than Amerrican — will anyone be interested in my posting it here if I do?

    All the best,

    John.

    #59148
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    I may or may not get round to doing a proper translation of the piece this weekend, into British miitary English rather than Amerrican — will anyone be interested in my posting it here if I do?

    I will.

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #59150
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I may need them Rod but for now the guys want to do a Market Garden campaign with FOW 4 rules….damn it.

    #59154
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    Great stuff John.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #59170
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    This is my own translation of the latter (Kotluban’-relevant) parts of http://tankfront.ru/ussr/tbr/bp/tbr012.html which is an extract from “Tank march”, by Filipp Mikhailovich Zharkov.

    (Parentheses) and ellipses… are used as in the original text
    [brackets] are used to indicate translator’s notes

    Despite the fact my Russian dictionaries are still in boxes somewhere, I have high confidence in the accuracy of this translation thanks to the various automated translation assistants available at LexiLogos http://www.lexilogos.com/english/russian_translation.htm of which Google’s seems to be best (though it is often useful to compare the efforts of two different translators).

    Tonight I think I shall lift a glass in memory of the tanks crews of 12th Tank Brigade.

    [~1,800 words]

    From “Tank march”, Filipp Mikhailovich Zharkov:

    Having completed a 250km approach march, 12th Tank Brigade received the order to concentrate in the area of Kotluban’ settlement, and prepare for a counter-attack towards Stalingrad from the north as part of 1st Guards Army to join up with 62nd Army. On the brigade’s strength were 22 T-34 tanks and 13 T-70 light tanks. I was appointed deputy commander of the 1st battalion (the battalion commander was Captain Troshin).

    After unloading on the steppe, the brigade set off under a scorching sun to its designated location. During the early period of the war, it was usual to control the tank not by intercomm from the turret, but personally, sitting on the mudguard to the right of the driver. This method led to the death of our platoon commander. He could not stay on the mudguard when the tank ran over an obstacle in the road, and fell under the tracks… A similar case happened to me in the Ukraine in 1941, when I was sitting on a box of MG drums on a tank. The tank drove over an AT mine, throwing me eight metres and concussing me slightly.

    Kotluban’ is a railway station connecting the North of the Stalingrad from with the rear to the West of Stalingrad. Around Kotluban’, 12th Brigade disposed itself in the Sukhoi Karkagon balka, where the wounded were subsequently taken for initial treatment. The Medical Platoon was commanded by Military Doctor Marina Mikhailovna Glotskaya, who, as I remember, went about with her big sheep-dog.

    The German troops to the South of Kotluban’ station were deployed in positions ideal for defence. The forward line of defence ran through the crest of the heights, and these, as well as all movements in depth, were covered by German flak artillery positions. From these heights the surrounding area could be beautifully observed for many kilometres…

    As part of the preparation for the offensive operation, the Red Army’s Head of Armoured Troops, General Ya N Fedorenko, arrived to organize the brigade’s cooperation with infantry and artillery. Tank men were invited into the staff bus, where there stood a table with Cognac and zakuski [snacks] (but not for us)…

    I recall that the personnel of the brigade had been through a lot at this time with the disease tularaemia [rabbit fever] transmitted by the mice which abounded in these parts. In order to escape the mice, at night we parked our vehicles with the wheels in the water of a stream.

    While we were finding our forming-up positions before the attack, German air heavily bombed our positions. They came in waves, and bombed methodically. Once bombs fell on a dump of “Katyusha” rockets. The munitions began to tear about low across the ground. We found it necessary to take cover smartly in our tanks. On the whole, the vast superiority of the enemy’s air strength was evident even during the days of preparation for the attack. What’s more, in such a completely open district, it was no effort for the German airmen to observe our movements and so prepare their defences beforehand.

    Early in the morning of 18th September the 1st Guards Army went over to the offensive, following artillery preparation and a massive application of rocket artillery. No-man’s-land was about 400 metres wide. From the very beginning, morning and evening, enemy aircraft flew over us and methodically bombed the attacking troops. At this time I was at the command post of a regiment of the 292nd Rifle Division to update our combined actions. As a result of fierce fighting by detached elements, the tanks of our 12th Brigade, together with infantry, had progressed 3 to 5 kilometres in the direction of Pitomnik; but they were met by massed fire from German flak, and suffered significant losses. The rifle division attacking with the brigade was separated from the tanks, and suffered losses, as a result of artillery fire and air action.

    There was no communication between the tank crews and artillery command posts. The brigade commander, Colonel A S Kirnos, was wounded when his CP was bombed. I also remember that during the attack Captain Troshin, commander of the 1st battalion, placed the battalion mascot [“foster-child”] Kolya [“Nicky”] in his tank. After the tank was hit, Troshin, at nightfall, sent Kolya out through the escape hatch with a report, then after dark left the area himself. In this battle about 25 tanks of the brigade were brewed up, and the commander of 2nd Battalion, Captain Padalka, was killed, together with his deputy, Captain Koval, and the battalion Commissar, Postnikov. A few tanks succeeded in withdrawing. The fate of those tanks that had broken into the German defences, and their crews, was unknown to me…

    Later, I read in the recollections of Marshal K S Moskalenko that during the attack of 1st Guards Army from Kotluban’ station to the south on 18th September, at around 11 o’clock “Six tanks of 12th Tank Brigade (commander: Colonel V M Badanov), operating together with Major-General S V Lishenkov’s 292nd Rifle Division, fought through to Borodkin farm…” There is a discrepancy here; Colonel A S Kirnos had already been in command of the brigade for half a year.

    This phase of the battle is described in more detail in the memoirs of S P Ivanov, chief of staff of 1st Guards Army: “We reported this success to G K Zhukov, who was present at one of our observation posts. By way of response, he demanded that 292nd Infantry Divison, and the accompanying 12th Tank Brigade, should expedite their attack towards Borodkin Farm.

    I contacted the 12th Brigade commander, Colonel A S Kirnos, by radio, and passed on to him the directions of the Supreme Commander’s representative.

    “I have six tanks”, reported Kirnos, “already broken through to Borodkin Farm. I hope, with infantry support, to be able to clear it completely.”

    “And what about Hill 145.5?”

    “I’m dealing with Borodkin”, said the Kombrig curtly.

    “Give fire support on to the entrenched positions on that hill, and the infantry will take it”, I said.

    “What’s this Kirnos chap getting steamed up about? Let me have a chat with him” cut in the Red Army’s Head of Armoured Troops, General Ya N Fedorenko, who had just arrived at the CP.

    When Yakov Nikolaevich [Fedorenko] addressed the Kombrig, you could hear the steel notes in his voice:

    “Kirnos! Your tanks must hold Borodkin until the infantry arrive, and your fire will help Zubarev to take Hill 145.5”.

    There was a pause, then the Kombrig answered shortly:

    “Wilco, Comrade General”.

    Further on in S P Ivanov’s book we read: “Here are some facts concerning the courage of troops from other formations. During the attack on 18th September, Lieutenant Gribanov’s AFV, from 12th tank brigade, broke through into the enemy rear. Sowing panic there, his crew destroyed three anti-tank guns, an ammunition truck and up to 50 Hitlerites. It engaged three enemy tanks, and knocked out one of them. Nonetheless the enemy set our AFV on fire. Then Gribanov rescued two wounded comrades from the burning tank, and helped them to reach the regimental aid post…”

    It is recorded in Unteroffizier Helmut Kronenbruck’s reminiscences of the time:

    “On 11th September 1942 we arrived at Pitomnik aerodrome in the Stalingrad district. The aerodrome was a huge field in the steppe. No trees grew round about, except for a small grove in Pitomnik village. It was about 20 kilometres to Stalingrad. To the front line was about 15. The nearest part of the front line was never more than 15 km from Pitomnik… on the 18th September the Russians broke through the front in the area of Kotluban’, and Russian tanks got to a distance of 5 kilometres from Pitomnik. The alarm was sounded on the aerodrome. Weapons were issued. Everybody stood to. The flak gunners prepared their weapons for surface direct fire… by lunch time, the news came that the Russian breakthrough had been eliminated, and life on the aerodrome resumed its previous course.”

    So, it seems that all the tanks of 12th Brigade that broke through the enemy first line apparently turned East, fought their way to Borodkin farm, and then around the middle of the day, in the absence of friendly infantry, were brewed up by German artillery. The names of these heroic tank men can no longer be determined.

    In the evening of the same day I was appointed commander of the 2nd battalion by order of the brigade chief of staff M G Fomichev (later twice Hero of the Soviet Union) and given the order to prepare for a night attack in cooperation with the division on this attack sector.

    All four remaining tanks of 12th Brigade were consolidated into one company. T-34 tanks were not suitable for night fighting, not being equipped at that time with night vision devices, so the tanks’ move out to the forward line was accomplished with the help of guides. At the beginning of the night attack, when the tanks had to be led to their jumping off positions, it became apparent that most of the infantry of the infantry division that attacked earlier had been killed or wounded. I well remember the mass of bodies lying on our positions and out in no-man’s-land. However, “useful” experience was gained in the conduct of night attacks; bonfires, lit in our rear, were used for orientation in the darkness for both the attack and withdrawal.

    According to archive data, the tank formations of 1st Guards Army, which numbered 340 tanks at the start of the offensive, had only 183 runners left by September 20th, including replacements. “Only 433 citations for acts of outstanding bravery in action were made to higher authority for the September attacks of 1st Guards Army. Very many acts of bravery in these inexpressibly hard conditions remain, unfortunately, unrecorded.”

    This counter-attack, with heavy losses, did not succeed in eliminating the German breakthrough towards the Volga. Furthermore, it is noted in the recollections of N I Krilov, Chief of Staff of 62nd Army: “The supposition that the operations of Soviet forces to the north of the city would force the enemy to withdraw some forces from Stalingrad (and at one time the front staff seemed for some reason convinced that this was already happening) was at this time unfortunately not justified. At best our army received a brief respite from aerial bombing, and not a complete one at that. Fascist aircraft did not disappear completely, but were reduced. But the onslaught of enemy ground forces did not weaken. It quickly became clear that not a single infantry or tank unit operating on the 62nd Army front was ever transferred away…”

    The remnants of our 12th Tank Brigade were taken after action, it seems, to the village of Fastov, 15 km from Kotluban’, and handed over the remaining tanks to another formation.

    Subsequently the commanders and battalion staffs of 12th Tank Brigade were transferred, at the end of November 1942, to the area of Razboishchino station, near Saratov, for re-formation.

    [ends]

    #59171
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Fascinating stuff, thanks John.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #59183
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Wow! You’re away from the interweb for 24 hours and wargaming Christmas happens.

    Martin R.

    I have Beevor’s book and while it is interesting it does not have much which I can use. To an extent I am using the method you outline, but burrowing down to a lower level before applying the necessary extrapolation to craft a scenario.

    Dr. Salt:

    Thank you for your generous offerings of sources and personal translation! This was far more than I had expected. You have been most kind. I will read over what you have offered and see what I can make of it tomorrow night. I am very excited about this now and I will keep looking for additional sources on my own.

    Whirlwind:

    I second your enthusiasm and also your thanks to Dr. Salt.

    Kyoteblue:

    The scenarios are here and at your disposal. Just e-mail me or PM me and I’ll send some along. If you have lost my e-mail address then PM me and I’ll send it along assuming I haven’t lost yours! I don’t have any Market Garden scenarios but plenty of Normandy and late-war Italian scenarios mostly featuring Canadian and British forces if you’re interested. Whatever happens the only thing I demand of you is that you have fun!

    Thank you all for your aid and counsel on my behalf.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59184
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    It’s ok Rod, we are going to use the BF Market Garden Firestorm campaign game that came out a few years back for the frame work of the campaign.

    #59187
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    This map may put a little more context to the description translated above by Dr. Salt. I have been using it as a reference  for the locations and Google satellite images for the lay of the land.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

     

    #59189
    Iain Fuller
    Iain Fuller
    Participant

    I just wanted to say what an excellent thread this one is. Like the thread about the West African gunners, a great example of what wargames fora should be about, people helping each other in a friendly and civilised manner without any sarky b***ocks thrown in.

     

    #59201
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    “Wilco, Comrade General”.

    OK, colour me dubious on that bit of translation! 🙂

    Mr. Picky is always open to suggestions for improvement.

    This is an example of the considerable difficulty many languages pose in the translation of words meaning “yes” or “no” — I still recall a one-hour lecture on the topic of how to say “yes” and “no” in French, given by a member of the British Council who would have done well as a member of the Pythons, to an audience of students about to start their year as language assistants in France. Everyone therefore had something like nine years’ study of the language under their belts, having completed the first two years of a degree in it, and were under the (mistaken) impression that they had got “yes” and “no” pretty well weighed off.

    In this case the original is:

    Наступила пауза, после которой комбриг ответил совсем кратко:
    [“A pause occurred, after which the Kombrig answered quite shortly:”]

    — Есть, товарищ генерал

    The word Есть [lit. “it is”] is given in dictionaries as a translation of (among other things) “Aye aye”, which would be right in British naval English, but not something a soldier would say. It carries a meaning that goes beyond mere affirmation, which would be так точно [lit “so exactly”] in military Russian (soldiers do not say just да to seniors giving them orders), or acknowledging receipt of an order, which would be понял [“I understand”]. I would translate these last two into British military English as “OK” and “Roger”, respectively. Есть seems to correspond quite naturally to “Wilco” here in meaning “the order will be carried out”, and as dictionaries date “Wilco” to circa 1938 such a rendering is not anachronistic.

    The other translation I considered was “Very good, Comrade General”, with the understanding of customary British sarcasm that one only says “very good, sir” when things are obviously going horribly wrong but it’s above my pay-grade to tell you so.

    All the best,

    John.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by John D Salt John D Salt.
    #59214
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Dr. Salt:

    Thanks for the sources you linked to above. I have read them including your head me brew translation and have enjoyed them while taking notes. They have filled in some gaps in my gap-ridden understanding of these battles north of Stalingrad and more importantly they will let me springboard into more lines of enquiry. They are much appreciated.

    A few years back I watched a Russian TV series about a group of women pilots in the Great Patriotic War called in English, “The Attackers”. In that series the subtitles translated “Есть” into a single “Aye!”.  So while not British Army parlance, it seems to be an accepted option. Not speaking any Russian, I offer this observation for the sake of completeness and not as a critique of your decisions in translation. You are far more qualified than I am to do this.

    To all:

    As to the battles around Kotluban, my initial research has led me to believe that there were six major attacks around the village and railhead. The first one starting on August 24th or 25th does not seem to be discussed much so that is where I will direct my research first.

    http://globeatwar.com/article/sixth-armys-flanks-outside-stalingrad-beginning

    Then I will proceed chronologically through the battles until the last one. I’m hoping to get at least on scenario out of each battle and if I can link a series of scenarios through one battle, well that will be great! Once finished here it will be off to the Rizhev Meatgrinder for some action there.

    I may also pick your collective brains about how best to create digital maps for small scale scenarios, as being a dinosaur (and a Luddite dinosaur at that), I have always just drawn them on paper and then photocopied them for games. I guess it’s time to drag myself into the digital age in this regard.

    If I may, I will post up the scenarios as I create them in the hopes that they may inspire constructive criticism and commentary. Any and all will be free to use them in any capacity that they want (as I am a Digger as well as a Luddite) and if they inspire anybody to play a game or two that’s just gravy! Thanks for all your help present and future.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Rod Robertson Rod Robertson.
    #59217
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    For doing maps these days, I draw them using a free piece of software called Mapping Board.

    It was originally designed for doing maps for Command Decision scenarios, and a feature I really like is that it allows for both square and hex grid overlays (as I play a lot of grid base games).

    Before that I used to laboriously draw them in MS Paint.

    If I was on a different device, I’d embed a link.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #59228
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    Here we go, Mapping Board. A brilliant program.

     

    http://www.10mm-wargaming.com/2016/05/mappingboard.html

     

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #59271
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Martin R.

    Thank you! I’ll take a closer look at it this weekend coming.

    To all:

    I am once again perplexed. At the time of the Kotluban operations the Soviet 24 Army had the 383rd Tank Destroyer Regt assigned to it. I can’t figure out what kit such a unit might use c. August – November 1942. Both SU-57’s and SU-76’s were yet to be deployed. There were precious few Zis-30 57mm SPAT (only about 100 ever made) and most seem to have been destroyed by early 1942. So what kit would the 383 TDR have likely used in 1942? Does anyone have an inkling they can share? Sorry to pester you all with such picayune minutiae but I’m trying to get this right.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59332
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I am once again perplexed. At the time of the Kotluban operations the Soviet 24 Army had the 383rd Tank Destroyer Regt assigned to it. I can’t figure out what kit such a unit might use c. August – November 1942. Both SU-57’s and SU-76’s were yet to be deployed. There were precious few Zis-30 57mm SPAT (only about 100 ever made) and most seem to have been destroyed by early 1942. So what kit would the 383 TDR have likely used in 1942? Does anyone have an inkling they can share? Sorry to pester you all with such picayune minutiae but I’m trying to get this right.

    Don’t forget that the designation “tank destroyer” does not always apply to SP guns — 3-inch towed ATk gun units in the US Army were referred to as “tank destroyers”.

    I suspect, therefore, that this is a towed ATk Regt, which the Sovs knew as an IPTAP. This is short for истребительный противотанковый артиллерийский полк — which would be ATk Regt in British English, Tank Destroyer Regiment in US English, and contains all the ideas of “artillery”, “destroyer”, and “anti-tank”. Indeed, checking in my copy of “The Red Army Order of Battle” (Military Publishers of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR, Moscow, 1966) confirms that 383 IPTAP was part of the Army artillery of 24th Army in September 1942, along with 1166 PAP, 136 MINP, and 247 and 298 ZENAP, which I take to mean gun artillery regiment, mortar regiment, and AA regiment respectively.

    Zaloga and Ness’ superb “Red Army Handbook” (Sutton, Thrupp, 1998) mentions that anti-tank regiments were raised in several waves:

    Autumn 1941 to March 1942: separate ATK Regts organised from remnants of 11 ATk brigades formed since April 1941.
    June-July 1942: 20 + 15 ATk regiments raised, each 5 batteries of 4 guns. 85mm AA used because of shortage of 76mm guns; all such regiments lost in Oct 41 Moscow battles.
    August-October 1941: 36 further regiment raised, each 4 batteries of 4 guns, 2 btys 85mm AA and 2 btys 45mm ATk or 37mm AA guns.
    October 1941: 1 Regt raised, and 9 converted, with 6 batteries of 4 guns, 5 btys of 76mm guns and 1 bty of 25mm or 37mm AA.
    19 April 1942 All ATk regiments to be standardised to new establishment, 5 batteries of 4 76mm guns.
    15 May 1942 authorisaton for ATk regts to have 45mm instead of 75mm guns, most ATk regiments with 76mm redesignated light arty regts.
    1 July 1942 76mm regiments redesignated again as tank-destroyer artillery regiments (IPTAPs).

    There were various other organisational twiddlings both by Stavka and different fronts, but I think it is a safe bet that 383 IPTAP would have had 20 76mm guns (ZiS-3 divisional gun or similar) in five batteries each of four guns. Note that there is no battalion level of command — batteries report direct to regiment (almost like the British Army). Zaloga and Ness give the battery organisation as HQ plus two 21-man platoons, each platoon having 2 76mm guns, 2 gun tractors, 2 ATk rifles and 1 LMG.

    All the best,

    John.

    #59354
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Dr Salt:

    Thank you once again for your guidance. On paper the unit was likely kitted out with F-22 USV M1939 76.2 mm guns. The ZiS-3 guns were still quite rare in August-November 1942. But looking at the rosters for other armies like the 21st Army, it was more likely 130 men standing around with no guns and only personal weapons! I will go with some guns unless I find the situation was as dismal as in the 21st.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59357
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    June-July 1942: 20 + 15 ATk regiments raised, each 5 batteries of 4 guns. 85mm AA used because of shortage of 76mm guns; all such regiments lost in Oct 41 Moscow battles.

    I can’t quite follow this one – does this mean  that the 76mm gun regts had been destroyed in Oct 41, so lots of 85mm regts were raised in summer 42?  And does that mean 35 AT regts or the “2oth” and “15th” AT regts?

     

    All the best

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #59404
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Sorry — I seem to be over-compressing the summary. I meant that (s I read it, anyhow) they raised 20 IPTAPs, then another 15. The 85mm regts were the ones wiped out in the defence of Moscow.

    I have discovered a wonderful page dedicated to Soviet ATk units at http://broneboy.ru/ and one of the documents it features is a list of ATk units and formations (not just IPTAPs, but the ATk brigades and others) with their dates of operation, at http://broneboy.ru/1-hranilische/IPTA/Spisok_chastei_PTA.pdf (in Russian, but the numbers and dates are easy enough to read, and any of the LexiLogos translators will do an adequate job of the unit titles). A mad person could probable whack the lot into a spreadsheet, sort it by activation date, and provide a more detailed account of the raising of ATk units in the Red Army than Zaloga and Ness do.

    Other fun things I have discovered from the site that I did not know are that IPTAPs were regarded as elite units, with their own distinctive badge, and a higher rate of pay than ordinary units. They were also paid a bounty per tank killed — an oddly capitalist method of motivation for communists, I would have thought.

    All the best,

    John.

    #59405
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    On paper the unit was likely kitted out with F-22 USV M1939 76.2 mm guns. The ZiS-3 guns were still quite rare in August-November 1942.

    I can’t find any convincing evidence either way. The http://broneboy.ru/ site mentioned above lists the 76mm F-22, USV and ZiS-3 as equipments used by the IPTAPs, but I would have thought that most of the F-22 park would have gone to the Fascist invaders as trophy guns by this stage in the war. According to Aleksandr Shirokorad’s “Artillery in the Great Patriotic War”, the Red Army had 8445 76mm Divisional Guns at the start of the war, and lost 6463 such guns during 1941.

    Shirokorad also gives some frighteningly precise annual production figures for guns of various types. There are also has tables showing the numbers of guns given to newly-formed units in each year. Unfortunately this only identifies the category “76mm divisional guns”, without breaking it down further, but it states that in 1942 12,751 of these were issued to newly-formed units. That’s an awful lot of 76mm guns — almost half the total issued to new units for the whole war (26,511). I would be tempted to say, as 383 IPTAP was a new formation (operational from 03 Sep 42 according to the broneboy site) that it would have had a full issue of new guns.

    ZiS-3 or USV? The production figures in Shirokorad show the following totals of each type manufactured during 1941 (from 22 June) and 1942:

    USV:
    1941 — 2,266
    1942 — 6,059
    ZiS-3:
    1941 — 350
    1942 — 10,112

    By the end of 1942, wartime production of ZiS-3 had already outstripped that of USV by about 5 to 4. And I would say that ZiS-3 would be preferable to USV as an anti-tank weapon, because of its lighter carriage, and thus greater handiness.

    Against this, Shirokorad mentions, in his account of the Stalingrad battle (which unfortunately includes no mention of Kotluban’ other than as a dot on one of the maps) that the “Barrikady” works in Stalingrad had been producing USVs (with a few local modifications, as the USV-Br) since September 1941, rising to a rate of 1,000 a month in January 1942. It might have made sense for such guns to be used locally.

    In wargaming terms of course it doesn’t make a lot of difference, as the ballistic performance of both weapons is the same. Whichever type you go with seems arguably justified, and if it turns out to be wrong, it won’t be very wrong, even by Mr. Picky standards.

    All the best,

    John.

    #59447
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Dr. Salt:

    Thank you again for the sources. I shall give them a thorough examination this weekend.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59448
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    This is fascinating:

    http://mapcarta.com/13433042

    If the 1942 collective farm had berms like these around them then Kotluban and Borodkin farm may have been formidable strong points indeed. Scanning to the southwest from this map (towards what would have been Borodkin Farm) there seems to be remnants of extensive berms and trenching which perhaps date from 1942-3, but I can’t be sure. More research is needed!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #59452
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Thanks for clarifying that John.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #59497
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    This map may put a little more context to the description translated above by Dr. Salt.

    My friends call me John. Actually my friends call me all sorts of things, probably not suitable for this group.

    You are of course quite right that good mapping is essential to understanding how battles work, and things make a lot more sense when you can see the interrelationship of the places mentioned.

    I have been quite disappointed with most of the map stuff I have been able to turn up, but I think I have struck gold today with this one:

    http://www.etomesto.ru/map-rkka_ug/?x=44.249342&y=48.940556

    This is the RKKA General Staff’s 2 km map of 1941, so I would be surprised and delighted if we can find better.

    if you zoom out one level with the map as you should see it from that link, you are looking at the terrain from Kotluban’ to Borodkin, so the area 12th Tank Brigade fought and died over. Marked at the northern edge of the map is the Sukhoi Karkagon balka mentioned as the location for the Brigade’s medical platoon. I had hoped that the spot heights would indicate the hill referred to in the battle account, but I can only find a Hill 154, not a 145. An error of memory or transcription seems likely.

    All the best,

    John.

    #59499
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Another translation on the doings of 12 Tank Brigade, this time from http://tankfront.ru/ussr/tbr/tbr012.html.

    Again, translator’s notes in [brackets] — this text isn’t as easy as the last, as it is full of unexplained abbreviations, a couple of which I have not been able to make sense of. Nor have I been able to find all the weird height points given on the General Staff 2km map, nor most of the named balkas. However it does give a bit more detail on timings of events, and I found it interesting that at this stage in the war the Russians were attacking in three successive waves (echelons). My understanding is that they simplified it down to one for most tactical operations shortly afterwards, before going back to more waves later as they got more tactically competent.

    Notice the enormous amount of time the brigade spends in battle preparation and officer reconaissance. As I have whinged about before, the business of ‘O’ and ‘R’ groups, and the need to make arrangements for liaison between units, are aspects that consume a great deal of real soldiers’ time, but never seem to be represented on the wargames tabletop.

    I liked the mention of the Germans being forced to leave 150 bicycles on the battlefield. There’s something else we don’t see often enough on the wargames table.

    All the best,

    John.

    – – – – – – – cut here – – – – – –

    After reorganization (in the Saratov area) the 12th Tank Brigade made a march of 185 km. At 07:00 on 11 Sep 42 it concentrated in the SUKHOI KARKAGON balka. At 17:00 the same day it received order P39/op dated 16:30 11 Sep 42 from the staff of 1st Guards Army, transferring it to the strength of 1st Guards Army.

    From 11 Sep 42 to 17 Sep 42 the brigade was occupied with maintaining equipment after the march, and engaged in battle preparation of its personnel.

    At 19:00 on 15 Sep 42 the brigade received its orders: from the morning of 16 Sep 42, in cooperation with units of 292 Rifle Division, to break through the enemy defence in the area S E of point 124.6 and go to the line Subsidiary Farm – 108.2. Further advance in the direction of GONCHARA hamlet, and out to the line ROSSOSHA – GONCHARA hamlet.

    At 04:00 on 15 Sep 42 the brigade concentrated in the FUP: KHUTORNAYA balka and SW around SAMOFALOVKA. Unit COs and company OCs under the direction of the brigade commander recce’d the start line and approaches from 09:00 to 19:30 on 16 Sep 42.

    From 07:00 17 Sep 42 company OCs recce’d their jump-off points and the approaches to the enemy forward defended localities, with platoon and vehicle commanders.

    At 12:00 Unit COs, having heard the brigade commander’s initial decision, began co-ordinating with the artillery and infantry commanders.

    On 17 Sep 42 12 Tk Bde received a mission from GOC 292 Rifle Div: in cooperation with 1007 and 1011 Rifle Regts, to destroy the enemy in the area S of point 124.6 – point 123.6; scrub 1.5 km SW around 133.4; further advance in the direction of 108.2.

    At 06:00 18 Sep 42 12 Tk Bde left its jump-off positions in LIMMANAYA balka and E [PR?]
    It had a strength of 22 T-34 tanks, six T-70 tanks, a motor rifle battalion with 223 riflemen and 72 tommy-gunners, six 82mm mortars and 1/361 Anti-Tank Battery. Having formed up in three fighting echelons, at 07:00, under cover of artillery fire and in cooperation with 1007 and 1011 Rifle Regts, they attacked on a frontage of 2 km with the mission to destroy the enemy in the area S of point 124.6 – point 123.6; scrub 1.5 km SW around 133.4; further advance in the direction of 108.2.

    The first fighting echelon consisted of 14 T-34 tanks, with a company of tank desant tommy-gunners riding on them. The second echelon, 300m behind, consisted of 8 T-34 tanks with 1/361 ATk battery. The third echelon was six T-70 tanks. Behind the battle formation of the tanks came the motor rifle battalion.

    From jumping off to taking the VORONYA balka, the tanks were protected by an artillery barrage. Simultaneously, successive concentrations were fired on point 123.6, E branches of TONKAYA balka, [SAR?]. Fire control was conducted from the CP and directly from the brigade commander’s tank by means of previously-arranged signals. For closer cooperation of tanks and infantry, the brigade commissar was at the CP of 292 Rifle Division, and the brigade chief of staff was at the CP of the chief of artillery.

    At 12:00 the tanks reached VORONYA balka and began to advance south.

    At 16:00, overcoming strong enemy resistance, they reached point 143.8.
    When the tanks reached VORONYA balka, the combat formation came under strong enemy artillery fire and air bombardment, forcing units of 292 Rifle Div to lie down, and the artillery, as a result of interrupted communications and the effect of airstrikes on the gun positions, reduced its rate of fire to a minimum. The tanks were obliged to fight isolated from the infantry and without artillery support, sustaining heavy losses.

    477 Tank Bn, consisting of 14 T-34s with a company of tank desant tommy-gunners riding on them, broke into the enemy’s defences and drove them to flight. The enemy were forced to abandon on the battlefield four passenger cars, one covered car, about 150 bicycles, up to 35 weapons of all kinds, and many other military assets.

    One battalion (483 Tk Bn), consisting of 12 T-34s and 4 T-70s, drove deeper into the enemy position and did not return. By the account of returning tommy-gunners, individual tanks, having penetrated into the enemy depth, reached the Subsidiary Farm, but, lacking artillery support, and separated from their infantry, were brewed up by enemy artillery.

    On 19 Sep 42 the motor rifle battalion and anti-tank battery took up the defence of the left flank of 1009 Regt/292 Rifle Div.

    At 20:30 on 20 Sep 42, in cooperation with units of 292 Rifle Div, 12 Tk Bde, with a strength of two T-34 ranks, two T-70 tanks and the motor rifle battalion, attacked point 123.6.

    At 06:00 on 21 Sep 42, in cooperation with 1009 Regt/292 Rifle Div, 12 Tk Bde, with a strength of two T-34 ranks, two T-70 tanks and the motor rifle battalion, repeated the attack towards point 123.5. [Has it shrunk?]

    At 06:00 on 23 Sep 42 483 Tk Bn with a strength of two T-70 tanks and two T-34 tanks, with the motor rifle battalion and ATk Bty, concentrated around KHUTORNAYA balka, and at 09:00 attacked the enemy in the direction of point 107.2 in cooperation with 258 Rifle Div.

    #59501
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Dr. Salt:

    If John is what you are comfortable with then John it shall be.

    John:

    I am making slow progress with respect to the broneboy.ru site but with the help of Google Translate I shall eventually get through it. The 2 Km map is outstanding and between it and satellite photos of the area (albeit 75 years on) I’m beginning to develop a clearer appreciation of the lay of the land. Thanks for posting that map. While it is not a Rosetta Stone for my lack of Russian literacy it is a wonderful guide to both the big and the more local pictures of what was happening and where it happened. I’ll keep at it tomorrow in my free time (save for some short time to finish assembling and priming four 15mm T-62 tanks for my Cold War and Modern gaming) and see what I come up with. It is both exciting and interesting! I may even contact Dr. David Glantz through his websites and see if I can get my hands on some of his PDF and paper bound notes he offers. A-018 and C-011 look to have some potential (see link below and click on Red Army Combat Operations.

    http://www.glantzbooks.com

    I will also probably cave and buy at least two of the three volumes of his history of the Battle of Stalingrad to get a better grounding in this fascinating set of operations. It’s expensive but now I think it will be worth it. This will delay my next QRF order from Geoff and my next Armies Army order from Keith, but so be it. This is too,much fun to stop!

    That’s another great source you have translated there but too much is unclear to me now to fully appreciate and take advantage of it. In short time it may bear more fruit but at this moment I’m too deep in over my head to fully utilise it. Soon however I will revisit it with gusto.

    Thanks for you help and guidance to date and my apologies for not being able to match your pace of research and discovery. But I’ll keep tortoising on and eventually I’ll get there.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson. (Rod).

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.