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Beginners guide to authentic USSR decks
In this guide I will try to examine most commonly used force compisitions historically used by the USSR. I hope this makes USSR side more diverse and interesting for both friends and foes alike.
So, you are tired of endlessly spamming T-55A’s at your enemy? Assaulting helpless infantry with your BMPT’s after a TOS-1 buratino barrage? All seems a little too easy for you? Perhaps you have reached a stage in commander development where you are no longer a cocoon of a true tactician and you actually want to play a “wargame”, comrade.
However, searching information about 30 years old soviet organisation and proper equipment can be tiresome, and for the most part you might even need to learn Russian, which can be as difficult as understanding google translate. But worry not, the glorious Soviet party of the people decided to help you create your authentic soviet deck.
Part I: What you can and can’t do
Unfortunately now you cannot build an authentic VDV deck at all I am afraid. The required BMD’s were not included in Eugen’s five year plan, so this is out of the question. In any case, the first thing you need to consider when building an authentic deck is the size of force you want to represent. Wargame best lends its numbers to a regiment/brigade because you have to make less compromises than with a division. We will be discussing regimental size forces from now on. Anything bigger than a regiment dilutes the “authenticity” of your force’s composition, in other terms, a division has too much stuff to properly represent.
So: No you can’t have a proper VDV deck. No you can’t accurately represent a force larger than a regimen/brigade. *other peculiar limitations will be discussed in text.
Yes you have enough units to represent almost every regiment in the soviet forces from 1975 to late 1980's. Yes you can make proper compromises where needed. Yes you can overall have authentic force composition.
Part II: How to organise your deck creation
Because the game is still in beta, and just to make yourself more flexible you will need to lose “era” and “type” bonuses, but by all means keep the glorious USSR national deck bonus for more units. 2+ activation slots is quite a benefit when trying to make as fewest possible compromises. Also, to note, it is best to not try and copy the number of units in a regiment directly, the game does not lend itself to that, the best solution devised by the Motherland is to represent percentages. For example if a real regiment has say 70 tanks to 30 BMP’s than its wise to keep a respective percentage in your forces. Wargame’s unit “veterancy” reduces the number of units so you can always adjust just how many you need.
Part III: Types of regiments/brigades
Now, remember Commander, if you wish to represent and guide a particular regiment you must find materials on it, as every regiment is slightly different. Below is only a general “carcass” to begin building your true Soviet deck.
VDV (1975-1980) A typical VDV regiment of 1980 deployed 3 paratrooper battalions with a total 84 BMD-1, 12 BMD-1K's and 12 BTR-D's. Then it had a mortar battery to a total of 6 tubes, typically a 120mm one towed by a Gaz-66. The antitank battery consisted of 12 Fagots on UAZes while the recon company had a total of 6 BMD-1's, 1 BMD-1K and 1 BTR-D. Last but not least was the AA battery consisting of 6 Zu-23's on Gaz-66 and 6 units of Igla-2's.
As you can see, an authentic VDV deck is impossible due to lack of BMD's.
VDV in Afghanistan (1985-1988) The only viable Wargame VDV deck, already partially built by me in form of the 345th guards separate paratrooper regiment and it largely copies its structure from the land regiments in the late 80's.
The atgm teams (6) armed with Konkurs and Strela-2 teams (8) were all deployed in BTR-70's
Example of the 345th guards separate paratrooper regiment deck (1988):
Tank Regiment 1979-1985 (this type of regiment was based around the idea that a tank has 4 crew members and tanks are relatively inexpensive)
A typical tank Regiment had Tanks (T-55/62/64)- 150 tanks BMP-1 - 46 BTR-60/70 - 2 BRM-1K - 2 BRDM - 8 2S1 -18 80mm Mortars ((can and should be represented by “MTLB-88m”) - 8 MTLB-27 Strela 1/10 - 4 ZSU-23-4 “shilka” - 4
Tank Regiment 1986-1989 (This type of regiment was based around the idea that a tank has 3 crew members and tanks are quite expensive)
A typical tank regiment had: Tanks (T-64/72/80) - 90 tanks BMP-2 - 46 BTR-80/70 - 2 BRM-1K - 2 BRDM-2 - 8 2S1 - 18 120mm Mortars (can and should be represented by the “vasilek”) - 8 MTLB - 27 Strela 10 - 4 ZSU-23-4 “shilka”/ 9K22 Tunguska -4
Example: Generic T-64 tank regiment 1985+
In case you want to go in depth and because this question was asked to me before:
Tank Battalion 1979-1985
A typical modern tank battalion in 1979 had 5 companies with 10 tanks in each. In 1981 4th and 5th companies were cancelled and 1st, 2nd and 3rd companies had 13 tanks in each. 4 tanks in each of the 3 platoons plus one command tank. Along with that it had 2 commander tanks for each commander level and 1 BMP-1K for battalion commander.
Tank Battalion 1986-1989
Same idea as in the previous section except the numbers change. I think this type of organisation is still viable in in Wargame because it pursues a "what if" scenario. A typical T-80 battalion had 4 command tanks and 27 regular tanks, 1 BPM- (1K or 2K), 1 BTR (70 or 80). A tank company then typically had 3 tank platoons with 3 tanks in each plus one command tank per company.
Motor-rifle infantry regiment 1979-1985
A typical motor-rifle Regiment with BMP's (With BTR’s) had Tanks (T-55/62/64)- 50 BMP-1 - 138 (141) BTR-60/70 - 2 BMP/BMP-1K - 2 BRDM - 8 BRDM ATGM - 9 2S1 -18 80mm Mortars ((can and should be represented by “MTLB-88m”) - 8 MTLB-27 Strela 1/10 - 4 ZSU-23-4 “shilka” - 4
Motor-rifle infantry regiment 1986-1989
A typical motor-fifle Regiment with BMP's (With BTR’s) had Tanks (T-62/64/72/80)- 30 BMP-1 - 138 (141) BTR-60/70 - 2 BMP/BRM-1K - 2 BRDM/BRM-1 - 8 BRDM ATGM - 9 2S1 -18 80mm Mortars (can and should be represented by “MTLB-88m”) - 8 MTLB-27 Strela 1/10 - 4 ZSU-23-4 “shilka” - 4
Example: Generic BMP and BTR regiments 1985 BMP-
In case you want to go in depth and because this question was asked to me before:
Motor-rifle Battalion on BTR’s Has a total of 528 men in 47 APC’s along with 9 Mortars, 9 MANPAD’s, 15 ATGM’s, 64 RPG’s, 42 UGL’s, 36 MG’s, 36 DMR’s, 438 Assault rifles, 59 pistols and 29 supply vehicles.
Motor-rifle Battalion on BMP’s Has a total of 481 men in 41 IFV’s along with 8 Mortars, 54 RPG’s, 42 UGL’s, 36 MG’s, 36 DMR’s, 370 Assault rifles, 59 pistols and 29 supply vehicles.
Naval Infantry regiment 1975-1979
Before the Naval infantry reform the general structure and outfit is identical to a motor rifle regiment on BTR’s. Also, regard that Naval infantry never used BTR-70’s, so you will have to make due with BTR-60PBs and BTR-80’s for later, or better supplied regiments.
Naval Infantry brigade 1979-1991
After the reform of 1979, naval infantry became a brigade which dictated more autonomy and diversity in weaponry. A typical brigade then would have:
BTR-60PB/80 - 141 PT-76 - 26 T55 - 40 2S1 -18 MLRS “Grad” - 18 BTR-70K/60PU -2 120mm Mortars (can and should be represented by the “vasilek”) - 3 BRDM-2 Malyutka/Konkurs - 6 Strela -1/10 - 4 ZSU-23-4 “shilka” - 4
Example of a naval brigade: 336th guards separate marine brigade (1979)
Here you have the basics for building your regiments and brigades, but remember you don’t have to stop on just infantry or tanks, you can have AA regiments and artillery regiments too. Playing with different types of regiments in a well coordinated team can be the best experience Wargame currently has to offer, all you need is some reasearch. Also, I can’t stress enough, that every regiment is different, so If you want to model it, research it beforehand.
Part IV: Air support for regiments/brigades
Next, about air support. It was a general practice for regiments to have radio contact with assault aviation (read choppers and A2G planes), other planes like fighters and interceptors were out of Army structure and there was very limited or no radio contact with them. Therefore it makes sense to include only A2G airplanes and helicopters along with very limited SEAD, as that is usually the air force function. However, if the regiment is an important one, to simulate its importance, some air superiority is needed, as VVS would most probably work day and night to support such regiment (153 guards tank regiment for instance).
I also try to add helicopters accordingly. For instance a separate recon battalion, or even a separate recon regiment would definitely have access to Mi-8's to insert its GRU teams, while the navy would definitely use Ka-29TB's for its special forces, but both types had no access to assault choppers. Other types regiments would have relied on ground vehicles to deliver their recon, and so had access to assault choppers to support the main troops.
Thank you for reading through this haphazardly composed guide comrade, I hope this will make wargame more “authentic” and enjoyable for you. Remember, by using proper regiments not only do you make a game more enjoyable for yourself, but also for others. Well, mostly, when you’re not obliterated by F117’s that is. Also, I encourage the capitalist pigdogs and other glorious proletarian nations to compose similar guides to make wargame even more interesting to play.
For further information regarding divisional play and additional regiment/brigade/battalion types in W:AB please consult: