ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
ORIGINAL: PK Krukov
Mad Russian: I don't think the Soviets could have generated elite tank units given their conscription and retention practices. The necessary training time simply was not there. If the war lasted four years, as the Great Patriotic War did, then there's a chance enough experience could accrue to create a genuinely elite unit, but I think we're all going to agree that modern tempos won't allow for that. With regards to T-80, only well trained units got this vehicle.
This assumes that NATO's training is at a much higher more realistic level. When training with the BAOR we saw "DOZENS" of Soviets tanks registered as killed by Chieftain's at no cost to themselves. How is that training doing any good?
And before anyone takes exception to that either being only a British issue, or that what I saw wasn't representative of the whole I trained with German, British, Canadian and US units. The training was the same throughout.
NATO would win every tactical engagement hands down. Great. If you read much about WWII you can see the same thing in Wehrmacht After Action Reports. And then read the last few pages of the book. The part where the Soviets won the war.
The T-80 is a modern battle tank. It's not a T-26.
The T-34 was a modern tank in WWII it wasn't a T-26.
If I understand your POV, what you are trying to tell me is that the Soviet equipment being inferior to NATO tanks would make them ineffective. I don't see any precedent for that in history anywhere. Especially not using the Soviet style of combat tactics and operational deployment.
They are ineffective in FPG.
As far as closing the range goes I have closed to the point of being in the same hex with NATO units. Makes no difference. The slaughter continues.
Ah, I see what you're saying now. Concur.
What I'm saying is that Soviet sensor equipment was inferior to NATO equipment. Since you can't hit what you can't see, against a dug in, prepared opponent this means even large Soviet units are just so many targets for the NATO gunners. Hence Soviet tank ineffectiveness against halted NATO tanks in FP:G.
Because when those (large) NATO tanks are on the move they are much easier to see, roughly comparable Soviet hardware (gun, armour) and superior (mobility) characteristics should tell in their favour in meeting engagements or any other fluid fight. The Soviets appear fully aware of this; hence their emphasis on the meeting battle since Field Service Regulations 1936 and their rehabilitation following the initial 1941-1942 debacles. In these circumstances NATO tanks should take heavier losses. They seem to, at least on my screen versus AI. Is the exchange rate as favorable or equitable as it arguably should be? Probably not.
A moderating factor is that Soviet tankers simply are not as good as NATO tankers. The NATO tankers all got more rounds and jerrycans allocated for training and could simply practice more. Their NCOs and other leaders were professional soldiers with a great deal of accumulated experience. In positional battles this translates to more accurate gunnery, enhanced by being stationary and having ridiculously good FCS. In mobile battles this means more likely to get first round hits.
Compensating factors are that if you're fighting a mobile battle you are most likely fighting as the Soviets want you to, so your platoon will probably be facing off against a company of Soviet tanks in the context of a tank battalion attack or meeting engagement. I would not argue that this means a 4:10 exchange ratio is possible for NATO.
As to automatic loaders, well:
- They never get tired. Human loader performances drop over time or while bouncing over really bad ground. The automatic loader does not care. Though every time I point this out some American tanker always likes to tell me how his heroic, herculean loader could hoist the known universe using nothing more than the fingernail of his ring finger...
- They allowed for smaller tanks which had better armouring at lower weight than tanks without, which had to have increased internal volume to accomodate a human loader, who is the only member of the crew who needs to be standing and able to swing about with a shell in his arms. Smaller tank = Harder target. Lighter tank = better hp/ton ratio, better mobility, generally speaking. Lighter tank = less ground pressure = much better mobility.
- Automatic loaders aren't that slow. They'll take twelve seconds if you tell them to change ammo type every time you fire, but if you leave them loading on a cycle they can have the next round ready to go in four seconds which is about as long as it takes a good gunner to acquire, laze and fire on any target.
- Carousel automatic loaders as used on T-64, T-72, T-80 all had a ready ammunition count of some 25-30 rounds. Not all NATO tanks had comparably high ready round ammo counts.
Definitely in the 'knife fight' this should count in a Soviet tanker's favour, where greater dispersion from the main gun and weaker ammunition also count less against the Soviets.
Amplifying a point about your historical (Kursk) example: Soviet ammunition quality during WWII was demonstrated to be extremely variable. Even though such tactics should have worked, theoretically, it's entirely possible that the ammunition those tankers had was not up to the job even at close range, and so the tanks were exposed for no gain trying to engage the Germans whose ammunition quality remained high throughout the war, against very skilled German tank crews suddenly presented with a "target rich environment." That may account for the massive defeat of that tank army.
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