Register Register

Author Topic: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited  (Read 5045 times)

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #120 on: 23 November 2020, 03:58:02 »
Fun weird thing I noticed - NATO with the Anglo countries all using Standard end up using 155mm guns. The Soviet Union, despite using metric ended up with 152mm (6 inch guns) artillery. China... seems to have a bit of everything, although it looks like they finally settled on 105mm/125mm for AFVs and 122mm/155mm for artillery
105s may not do modern armor at its best, but they still go through the sides of a tank just fine.  You can only armor things so far before you degrade performance too much; even the Maus had thin areas in its armor plate and it was slower than a dead cow sliding up a hill.  As it is, Centurion is hedging its bets but it's speed limit also comes from its suspension - it may be able to accelerate nicely with those new Continental engines, but it's not gonna win a race.

Also interesting that the west didn't really invest in rocket artillery during the Cold War until the M270 showed up.  There really aren't equivalents for area-saturation like a Grad battalion lobbing a full salvo on an area.
Has anyone ever gotten use out of IFV firing ports? Generally once in contact, infantry should be outside where they can find cover instead of being conveniently grouped up so that one good RPG hit takes out the whole bunch. On the other hand, with a roof hatch, maybe you can rig up a way to fire an ATGM out of there, like the 120mm mortar carriers do.
The firing ports thing, you get a little use out of it but I don't know how much.  Supposedly they're there to be used to let the infantry shoot at things while maintaining NBC protection, though I've wondered just what kind of connection allows that to work.

Roof hatch it has, and the Israelis (I keep coming back here but it's such a great here) rigged up 81mm and 120mm mortars in the back end of a Bimp firing through the roof hatch.  I suppose it wouldn't be hard to put TOWs onboard as well and a launcher for them, just like the Jaguar 2.
1) I don't think Mirage IIIs are 'Hi' any more after a decade and a half with their period radars. F1s would be more 'hi' at that point, although I suppose you could swap avionics. Mirage 5s definitely don't count since they don't have all-weather capability in any role
Mirages still do well, and keeping the avionics upgraded would be a major point as the technology miniaturized.  I don't know if you can cram a Cyrano IV radar where a Cyrano II goes, but I'd sure as heck try.  It's still going to be a better radar than the MiG's, and the F-5A models lack radar entirely, so they had that going for them.  Mirage IIIE also makes for fighterbomber capability, while the F-5 or MiG-21 would be pure air-superiority. 
2) I'm pretty sure Mig-21s don't have much rough field capability and with their high wing-loading and lack of extra lift devices, also have a long take off roll. Those were two of the key points the Mig-23 was supposed to (and did) address with VG. If you look at a MiG-23 on the ground, you'll see just how massive its main landing gear are and also the high nose gear to give it a bit more AoA
According to Wikipedia, so throw a bucket of salt over one shoulder, it's capable of rough field takeoff and landing and it's pretty short.  830m takeoff distance, and 550m landing distance with a chute, plus they list takeoff weights for rough/planking versus paved.  I'm going by those, but if it's exaggerated or not that capable then I'll go back to F-5s.  Those I KNOW can take off and land on grass strips because I've seen film of them doing it, LOL.  (It's in the Aviation Pictures thread if anyone wants to see)

Either way I need a light fighter of at least some moderate usefulness; I like the mixing of tech but I can go either way.  And now I'm picturing MiG-21s refitted with Mavericks...
3) The F-5E is a fine plane. Mirages and F-5s... very Swiss. Also the Swiss Pz68 looks funny with its disproportionately sized domed turret.
It looks like a T-55 that got a nasty bee sting.  The poor thing's so swollen, it's got to hurt... :D
4) Completely unrelated, the Japanese Type 60 recoilless rifle carrier never stops being weird. If anything, it's even weirder than the Ontos

I'd be more afraid of the driver than anything those guns deliver.  That guy has a Grade-A mean face.
Five per platoon, three platoons plus two command vehicles per company for a then-standard formation of 17.
Okay, so it did use more units, though I didn't figure it'd follow the natural lineup.  Still, 25 man platoons aren't that terribly large (don't tell the Marians that).  Follows the same organization as my tank forces, the "old" format from https://www.orbat85.nl/.
Used the same ammo and could use the same full lineup in theory, but was really outfitted with HEAT and HESH rounds only, not with any AP/APC shell.
Surprised and not surprised; HEAT was all the rage at the time but you'd think they'd load some solid shot in there.  I suppose that's more of a doctrinal thing like the Matilda basically never having anything but AP for the 2pdr gun.  The rounds exist, they're just not used, at least not in German service.

I do see the problem of having an open-air launcher, but that's going to be a thing for ATGMs in the era for pretty much anything.  BMPs have to break their seals to reload the Malyutka, the YP-408s aren't even sealed completely, the Raketenjagdpanzers had to open up the roof...same goes for the mortars, for that matter.  I do kind of want a dedicated TOW carrier for the antitank platoons, something bigger than a Malyutka or Milan ATGM.
Jaguar 2 was of very dubious usability in the then-current battlefield, lacking real NBC protection, being unable to reload under armor and not fitting secondary armament. Realistically it was simply a much cheaper follow-up programme to the Jaguar 1 conversion of RakJgPz chassis to fill up numbers.
I suppose I'll stick with Kanonenjagdpanzers then.  RakJgPz 1 could reload under armor, right?  They'd still break their seals as far as deploying the weapon goes, wouldn't they?

kato

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2059
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #121 on: 23 November 2020, 06:01:15 »
RakJgPz 1 could reload under armor, right?  They'd still break their seals as far as deploying the weapon goes, wouldn't they?
RakJPz 1 (HS30 chassis, twin SS11): Launcher arms retract under armor for reloading. Not sure whether magazines are sealed, doubt it for the time.
RakJPz 2 (KanJPz chassis, twin SS11): Same launcher arrangement as RakJPz 1 with larger magazines.
RakJPz 3 (Jaguar 1 - rebuilt RakJPz 2 with single HOT) : Launcher arm retracts under armor for reloading, ready magazine (8 rounds) is sealed.
RakJPz 4 (Jaguar 2 - rebuilt KanJPz with single TOW) : Launcher reloaded and operated above armor. To close the hatch the launcher mount has to be retracted into the hull entirely (ca 5 seconds in theory).

PS. - Before the HS30 was abandoned due to introduction of Marder there were some experiments with replacing the M40 106mm recoilless rifles on HS30 one-for-one with TOW launchers, depending on variant also retaining the 20mm turret. The mount design for the TOW in this case seems to have been the same later used for Jaguar 2.


Also interesting that the west didn't really invest in rocket artillery during the Cold War until the M270 showed up.  There really aren't equivalents for area-saturation like a Grad battalion lobbing a full salvo on an area.
Germany operated a battalion with 110mm LARS in each division for that kind of grid square saturation.

Britain, Germany and Italy ran a programme during the 70s called RS 80 MARS, which was a 6-tube 280mm "medium" rocket launcher on a Leopard 1 chassis with a prototype built in '76. Britain left the programme in a huff as usual, Germany bailed when it decided modernizing LARS would be cheaper. Italy subsequently decided to build pretty much  their own version of LARS in a 122mm (FIROS), which it introduced in the late 80s. All three also joined the US-French MLRS programme in 1979 resulting in the M270.

The US had the relatively little-known M91 45-tube 115mm towed multiple rocket launcher in service from ca 1957 to 1991, usually deployed to positions by helicopter. Primary system for deploying chemical weapons on the battlefield for the US Army.

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #122 on: 23 November 2020, 08:36:20 »
RakJPz 3 (Jaguar 1 - rebuilt RakJPz 2 with single HOT) : Launcher arm retracts under armor for reloading, ready magazine (8 rounds) is sealed.
If I had my preference, that's what I'd end up going with - start with the 1975-current RakJPz 2 mixed with KanJPz; maybe the dedicated antitank company gets the 90mm guns while the battalion's antitank platoons get the SS.11.  Upgrade them all to HOT carriers ASAP, so by 1980 - I have fourteen infantry battalions in five brigades.  So five dedicated brigade-level antitank companies (six platoons each) and forty two platoons (three platoons per infantry battalion's weapons company)...that's 120 KanJPz and 168 RakJPz 2, that should not take long to switch over after HOT missiles appear.  Certainly it'd be finished by 1985.
PS. - Before the HS30 was abandoned due to introduction of Marder there were some experiments with replacing the M40 106mm recoilless rifles on HS30 one-for-one with TOW launchers, depending on variant also retaining the 20mm turret. The mount design for the TOW in this case seems to have been the same later used for Jaguar 2.
If only the HS30 had been a better vehicle.  So how does the Milan that eventually found its way aboard Marder compare to the TOW? 
Germany operated a battalion with 110mm LARS in each division for that kind of grid square saturation.

Britain, Germany and Italy ran a programme during the 70s called RS 80 MARS, which was a 6-tube 280mm "medium" rocket launcher on a Leopard 1 chassis with a prototype built in '76. Britain left the programme in a huff as usual, Germany bailed when it decided modernizing LARS would be cheaper. Italy subsequently decided to build pretty much  their own version of LARS in a 122mm (FIROS), which it introduced in the late 80s. All three also joined the US-French MLRS programme in 1979 resulting in the M270.

The US had the relatively little-known M91 45-tube 115mm towed multiple rocket launcher in service from ca 1957 to 1991, usually deployed to positions by helicopter. Primary system for deploying chemical weapons on the battlefield for the US Army.
Neat, I love being proven wrong.  And this is why I come to you guys, LOL.  Definitely going to see about copying the M91 as a chemical weapons battalion; instead of the nuclear weapons that the Netherlands were assigned I've decided my fictional country is dependent on a chemical deterrent force.  They're a lot easier to develop than atomics, that's for damn sure.  I think I'll stick with Grads for my regular rocket artillery since they're probably quite cheap from the Soviets at the time.  Not that the German LARS is going to be all that expensive, but if I'm mixing weapons I'm gonna mix them hard. :D

That and I have enough German stuff in the arsenal already.  HK G3s for my mechanized troops, MG3s, the antitank tracks, VP70 pistols. 

kato

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2059
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #123 on: 23 November 2020, 10:25:14 »
If I had my preference, that's what I'd end up going with - start with the 1975-current RakJPz 2 mixed with KanJPz; maybe the dedicated antitank company gets the 90mm guns while the battalion's antitank platoons get the SS.11.
German setup:

Army Structure II (1959-1969)
  • Anti-Tank Company, Mechanized Brigades: two platoons M47/M48/M41/KanJpz, one platoon RakJPz 1
  • Infantry Battalion Heavy Company (Mechanized Infantry): one platoon PAL810 Cobra on jeeps plus one platoon M47/M48/KanJPz (Mechanized troops)
  • Infantry Battalion Heavy Company (Light Infantry): one platoon PAL810 Cobra on jeeps plus one platoon M40 106mm on jeeps
Army Structure III (1970-1979)
  • Anti-Tank Company, Mechanized Brigades: two platoons KanJpz, one platoon RakJPz 2
  • Anti-Tank Company, Armoured Brigades: three platoons RakJPz 2
  • Anti-Tank Battalion, Infantry Brigades: two tank companies with M48 or KanJPz, one anti-tank company with 1-2 platoons KanJPz and 2 platoon RakJPz 2
  • Light Infantry Battalion Heavy Company (Field Army): one platoon Milan on jeeps
  • Light Infantry Battalion Heavy Company (Territorial Army): one platoon M40 106mm on jeeps
(note1: where not listed above did not exist - no AT company for Armoured brigades in Structure II, no AT platoon for Mechanized Infantry battalions in Structure III etc)
(note2: paratroopers not included)

So how does the Milan that eventually found its way aboard Marder compare to the TOW?
Milan was always intended as a light anti-tank system for infantry. The main benefit is that you can actually take it off the vehicle and dedicate 2-3 men in your squad to move it and a decent number of missiles around, similar to unmounting a machine gun from a APC/IFV to reinforce your carried squad. With TOW that's only a theoretical ability - you'll need around four men just to move the launcher and fire-control system, and they better not be carrying anything else.

Realistic combat ranges in Central Europe rarely exceeded 2 km (not that tanks could really reliable hit anything any farther), for which Milan is perfectly sufficient. HOT/TOW in that scenario was the kind of missile system for which you sought out favourable terrain in an ambush.
« Last Edit: 23 November 2020, 10:31:12 by kato »

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #124 on: 23 November 2020, 12:34:46 »
The M901 TOW Under Armor systems for the M113 (M901) start showing up in 1979.

I wouldn't hold the external reload requirement against other ATGM carriers. If your carriers are reloading in contact, you're not scooting at flank speed, which is asking to have a close encounter with artillery or a charging tank battalion (Soviet doctrine: advance to contact immediately in a wide frontage to nullify that range/accuracy edge ASAP).

The flight time of wire guided ATGMs is long enough that the margin of error is going to be pretty slim.

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #125 on: 23 November 2020, 13:00:21 »
German setup:

Army Structure II (1959-1969)

Army Structure III (1970-1979)
That's interesting.  Netherlands runs a different setup, of course; they have three armored and six mechanized brigades.  Only the mech brigades have an antitank company, with six platoons of four vehicles in the antitank company.  YP-408 wheeled infantry battalions have a weapons company with one platoon of six TOW carriers, while YPR-765 BNs had three platoons of four vehicles in their weapons company.  Armored brigades only had the antitank platoons of the attached YPR-765 battalion.

What's your orbat from, anyways?  I'm curious to take a peek if it's online somewhere.
Milan was always intended as a light anti-tank system for infantry. The main benefit is that you can actually take it off the vehicle and dedicate 2-3 men in your squad to move it and a decent number of missiles around, similar to unmounting a machine gun from a APC/IFV to reinforce your carried squad. With TOW that's only a theoretical ability - you'll need around four men just to move the launcher and fire-control system, and they better not be carrying anything else.

Realistic combat ranges in Central Europe rarely exceeded 2 km (not that tanks could really reliable hit anything any farther), for which Milan is perfectly sufficient. HOT/TOW in that scenario was the kind of missile system for which you sought out favourable terrain in an ambush.
Hm.  BMP-1s retrofitted to fit Milan instead of Malyutka, and infantry units carrying them as well...though that still makes me wonder what to put in the dedicated AT platoons at each unit.  I'm sticking with the Netherlands format for now, so I need something to put in those platoons that's got more capability than the small missiles.  I suppose I'll go with the SS.11 carriers for now, and just go across the board with RakJPz 2 and its eventual HOT upgrade.  I need a good ATGM for helicopters as well, and HOT works just fine in that regard as well.  Plus since I'm using SS.11 on the ground, then Alouette II gunships can be a thing alongside the bigger Hind assault ships...

The M901 TOW Under Armor systems for the M113 (M901) start showing up in 1979.

I wouldn't hold the external reload requirement against other ATGM carriers. If your carriers are reloading in contact, you're not scooting at flank speed, which is asking to have a close encounter with artillery or a charging tank battalion (Soviet doctrine: advance to contact immediately in a wide frontage to nullify that range/accuracy edge ASAP).

The flight time of wire guided ATGMs is long enough that the margin of error is going to be pretty slim.
Speed is the essence of war.  And I just reread that article you linked me last night, actually.  Advance to contact, charge, and send your reinforcements to another path that doesn't have any enemy units.  Think of a flowing river, going around rocks in the path and always moving forward.

Mostly I'm just trying to figure out how to fill out an orbat for all this, and trying to settle on a vehicle to fill what accounts to a defensive role in an army that's frankly focused around an attack role.  Though I suppose that works for my strategic idea; let the light infantry receive the first attack and slow down an invading force while the armored units mass and counterattack to break into an invader's rear area.  Not that I am using the fastest tanks for such an offensive mindset, but c'est la vie.

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9274
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #126 on: 23 November 2020, 13:52:13 »

Also interesting that the west didn't really invest in rocket artillery during the Cold War until the M270 showed up.  There really aren't equivalents for area-saturation like a Grad battalion lobbing a full salvo on an area.
which is weird, because we used the M8 rocket systems on a number of platforms in ww2 and the M16 rocket system immediately post war. but the whole "barrage rocket" artillery concept got retired in the mid 50's.
especially odd given the US navy used 4.5in barrage rocket set ups extensively on the Marine landing ships in the pacific, to bombard the beaches during amphibious assaults.

so it isn't like we didn't have experience with what those were capable of.
« Last Edit: 23 November 2020, 14:10:45 by glitterboy2098 »

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #127 on: 23 November 2020, 14:07:00 »
Well, there were a few systems as mentioned upthread, but I've read that the western forces preferred the accuracy of tube artillery compared to the wider spread of rocket fire.

As far as artillery goes, I suppose the D-20 towed gun and its SPG variant the 2S3 Akatsiya will form the core of my tube, SPGs with the mechanized brigades and towed guns for the corps artillery battalions.  Add a couple Grad batteries for fwooshyfwoosh, and American M101s for the light infantry units, and that's pretty settled.  Oh and a few battalions of M110 203mm guns as well, at least in 1975 - later phased out in favor of more 152mm SP guns outside of one BN left for the tube chemical weapons delivery mission.

I do want to thank you guys immensely for the brain trust going into this, it's been a fascinating and fun ride.  Now I need to figure on what I'm doing with the Air Force...hell, maybe mix everything up into a jambalaya of Mirage IIIE, Hunter FGR.9, F-5A, and MiG-21 after all.  The Finns got away with it, so I can too.

PS: On that note, I have a headcount strength equal to the current Polish and Israeli air forces combined.  That gets me 400 fixed-wing combat jets to work with, but that's a master grand total. (Actually 401, but prime numbers are terrible things.)  I want to break these down into squadrons, preferably small squadrons in dispersed numbers.  I was thinking of breaking it down into 21 squadrons of 19, where each squadron has 12 frontline fighters, 4 two-seaters for type training, and three spare aircraft.  Is that a workable number of spares, or should I add more "unassigned" aircraft to each squadron?  Easiest way that way is 19 squadrons of 21; that would give 5 spare aircraft per squadron.  Anyone got suggestions?
« Last Edit: 23 November 2020, 17:14:14 by ANS Kamas P81 »

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9274
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #128 on: 23 November 2020, 20:13:09 »
iirc this was a split country that reunified after the cold war, right? so i'd assume that early on the NATo aligned side would have F-5 Freedom Fighters for interception and maybe some British or French aircraft for strike duties. the soviet side would probably have various Migs.

in more recent times they'd be seeking to replace the whole lot with a new common platform. the F-16, F/A-18 super hornet, JAS-39 Gripen, Rafale, and MiG-29 would seem to be the likely candidates on offer.

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #129 on: 23 November 2020, 21:29:04 »
I haven't put any thought into the post-cold-war scenario, instead sticking with the 1975-85 timeframe for what I'm putting together.  It wasn't split, but managed to stay together and was a spinoff of the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire in some nebulous and undefined "European" location.  Like Finland they're stuck between east and west, and to keep both sides happy there's a schizophrenic mix of equipment.

Once the Cold War's over, I'm sure they'll make a grab for whatever they can - if the Great Soviet Fire Sale All Goods Must Go Store Closing Discount Market happens, then they'll probably try to grab up all the Fulcrums and Flankers they can, then figure out what to do with them.  As it is, by 1975, I've got 80 Hawker Hunters in ground attack/CAS roles, 80 Mirage IIIE "hi" fighterbombers and a mix of 64 Tiger IIs (they just came out in 1972, so not many available yet) and a backbone of 176 MiG-21s spread across 25 squadrons.  Fortunately Sidewinders work on all the airframes, even if I'm probably being sent basic junk early models.

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #130 on: 23 November 2020, 22:05:38 »
I haven't put any thought into the post-cold-war scenario, instead sticking with the 1975-85 timeframe for what I'm putting together.  It wasn't split, but managed to stay together and was a spinoff of the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire in some nebulous and undefined "European" location.  Like Finland they're stuck between east and west, and to keep both sides happy there's a schizophrenic mix of equipment.

Once the Cold War's over, I'm sure they'll make a grab for whatever they can - if the Great Soviet Fire Sale All Goods Must Go Store Closing Discount Market happens, then they'll probably try to grab up all the Fulcrums and Flankers they can, then figure out what to do with them.  As it is, by 1975, I've got 80 Hawker Hunters in ground attack/CAS roles, 80 Mirage IIIE "hi" fighterbombers and a mix of 64 Tiger IIs (they just came out in 1972, so not many available yet) and a backbone of 176 MiG-21s spread across 25 squadrons.  Fortunately Sidewinders work on all the airframes, even if I'm probably being sent basic junk early models.

So it's Austria only their fighters are allowed to have missiles?  :D

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #131 on: 23 November 2020, 23:17:09 »
So it's Austria only their fighters are allowed to have missiles?  :D
Something to that effect!  Though I admit it was really freaking hard not to just "buy 400 Viggens and call it a day" for the easy button...Saab makes some damn nice planes at damn nice prices.  I suppose I'll have to make amends with the Swedes and use 105s as trainers.  Oh yeah, and buying Carl Gustavs by the container load.  Maybe CV-90 for the post-Cold War era?  That'd make them happy.

How did I describe it to Daryk earlier...
Quote
If you picture Amartiya on a map, think of a combination of Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia together - it's about the right size, shape, and terrain.  Navally we've got the Italians on the other side of the Adriatic, Greece to the south, and the Ottomans next to Greece.  There's probably some support for Greece against Turkey, but there's still local clashes over who the Adriatic belongs to as well as forcing the sea lanes to the Med to remain open - and probably "interests" in keeping the Suez and Gibraltar accessible as well.
That's not to say I'm making an alternate Yugoslavia, just "this is what the place looks like" and giving some appropriate polities nearby.  No rule 4 here, only picking out what the map looks like.

And yes, my user profile picture is my national flag.  What, I was bored.

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #132 on: 24 November 2020, 03:49:58 »
You really do need to play Wargame: Air Land Battle from Eugen. Battlegroups are built using card decks and there's... a LOT of Cold War gear from... 1970-1990ish. Forget playing the game, you could just play with the unit encyclopedia. :P

You might also be interested in Armored Brigade from Veitikka Studios

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9274
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #133 on: 24 November 2020, 10:32:47 »
hmm.. there is an idea. the next "creating an army for a fictional nation" thread could be about taking an old wargame set in a fictional 0th century place, like say the island nations in Avalon Hill's Tactics II, and filling out the TO&E for each side.

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #134 on: 24 November 2020, 14:01:18 »
Something to that effect!  Though I admit it was really freaking hard not to just "buy 400 Viggens and call it a day" for the easy button...Saab makes some damn nice planes at damn nice prices.  I suppose I'll have to make amends with the Swedes and use 105s as trainers.  Oh yeah, and buying Carl Gustavs by the container load.  Maybe CV-90 for the post-Cold War era?  That'd make them happy.

How did I describe it to Daryk earlier...That's not to say I'm making an alternate Yugoslavia, just "this is what the place looks like" and giving some appropriate polities nearby.  No rule 4 here, only picking out what the map looks like.

And yes, my user profile picture is my national flag.  What, I was bored.

Making a sensible TO&E is actually pretty boring. You can end up with a pretty generic WP or NATO military (Centurions, Leopard, Leopard 2, M113, F-5s, F-16s, C7 rifles etc.)

Here's a more interesting idea. Set your vision in place in say... 1965 or 1970. Draw up a table of arms providers and your nation's relations with them. Draw up a budgetary RAT for your budget. Set up an RAT for purchase negotiations and a final RAT for domestic industry project progress (if you have multiple members of a large complex, you might set up a different RAT for each).

Set up an RAT for adverse global political or economic events.

Look at your plan and start rolling for contract negotiations. Keep in mind the period of time you want each contract to be fulfilled over and see whether your negotiators get good terms or not or if negotiations fall through entirely.

Now... every period (1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 5 years? You might want to map it to your country's own political cycle), start rolling on those RATs to see if you start having diplomatic crisis or falling outs with suppliers, or aid from a new benefactor, or budgetary crunches, or if domestic industry starts hitting roadblocks with corruption or lack of ability, or...

And that's how you eventually end up with thousands of units of buggy local copies of your third-choice weapons system because they were all you can afford and the only one willing to sell to you when you really needed it and the winning partner for local production was some stroppy noble that just happened to have a controlling share in your country's big manufacturers of crappy consumer goods. Then you can start trying to put together an upgrade and remediation package to try and get some use of all that sunk cost while everyone stuck using <insert flawed system here> curses procurement and the leadership as base commanders pester you for more warehouses to store all their hangar queens before they waste away in the elements. ;D

Too realistic?

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #135 on: 24 November 2020, 15:15:02 »
Speed is the essence of war.  And I just reread that article you linked me last night, actually.  Advance to contact, charge, and send your reinforcements to another path that doesn't have any enemy units.  Think of a flowing river, going around rocks in the path and always moving forward.

Mostly I'm just trying to figure out how to fill out an orbat for all this, and trying to settle on a vehicle to fill what accounts to a defensive role in an army that's frankly focused around an attack role.  Though I suppose that works for my strategic idea; let the light infantry receive the first attack and slow down an invading force while the armored units mass and counterattack to break into an invader's rear area.  Not that I am using the fastest tanks for such an offensive mindset, but c'est la vie.

I think the idea is that rather than seeking out the decisive battle, the WP doctrine is to pursue the strategic objective until conditions make the decisive battle possible under favourable conditions. Initiative juggling until conditions pan out - a coherent NATO battlegroup is a hard target, but a fragmented o ne cut off from supplies is a mopping up operations.

Going back to the detailed scenario, you can read the Soviet strategy as one of forcing the defender to lose cohesion faster than the attacker. Once a defending unit is engaged, it's occupied until they can withdraw or force the attacking unit to withdraw. In either case, they're fixed in place and can't maneuver for the duration of their own fight.

The same is true for the attacker as well though. In the context of your hypothetical country, the challenge comes down to having enough defenders to tie up all the attacking units with the defending units needing to be powerful enough to at least stalemate their OPFOR and mobile (or having enough mobile reaction forces) to respond to an attacker attempting to bypass.

Then all you have to worry about is an invader switching from being like water to being like an avalanche with a concentrated thrust looking to punch through only a couple main axis of advance... but that's why you have artillery, cluster bombs,  and grid square removal rockets, right?  :D

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #136 on: 24 November 2020, 17:13:41 »
I'll look into those games, heh.  At the very least it'd be a lot of options to consider.  I just wish I had people to play with...I suppose what I should really try to find is a contemporary Janes book or three.

That idea for creating RATs and such is interesting, but I suffer from indecision paralysis when it comes to things like that.  Give me RATs someone else creates (hi Battletech) and I can definitely work within them to come up with a complete force, but design my own RATs?  Yikes.  I admit I've kind of been doing some of that originally, with the early iterations of the military being heavily British influenced until the early 1960s, at which point I switched over to French hardware because the Brits were nanny poo-poo heads that wouldn't sell to us anymore, but that idea got left behind somewhat.

Still, I'm looking at producing an evolution of the military into 1985, just to see how things change while keeping some the same.  Take what I have in 1975 and jump ten years, mechanizing some units and motorizing all my light infantry; I've got a loose look that I'll detail later.

The thoughts on strategy...I suppose it comes down to looking at your terrain, invasion routes, and what the OPFOR looks like.  The basic idea is still to hold ground and slow down defenders with light infantry units and artillery while mobilizing my reserves and assembling a counterattack.  As for the avalanche, well, "plan for everything and hope you don't need the VX shells" is an option.

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #137 on: 26 November 2020, 12:07:08 »
I wonder how hard it would be to take a BMP, pull the turret armament, and put a HOT launcher in place.  It could store reloads in the infantry compartment and probably reload manually.  This way I'd have an amphibious dedicated heavy ATGM carrier for the mechanized infantry battalion.  I can always just roll with BMP-1Ps and Konkurz missiles for that role, but it's still a fun thought to mix and match stuff.

kato

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2059
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #138 on: 26 November 2020, 13:13:39 »
I wonder how hard it would be to take a BMP, pull the turret armament, and put a HOT launcher in place.  It could store reloads in the infantry compartment and probably reload manually.
Nah, not really - the turret ring of BMPs is too narrow to really pass through the HOT missiles for internal loading (it's only 8mm wider than the missile's length).

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #139 on: 26 November 2020, 13:59:34 »
Oh well, Konkurz missiles it is.  Just have to carry extra missiles in the troop compartment, and I'll save the HOTs for the brigade-level antitank units and attack helicopters.

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #140 on: 26 November 2020, 15:59:30 »
I'm just playing with the idea of a local industry that doesn't have the ability to make/cast thick armour plate, leading to a need to import heavy armour, but can handle welded aluminum and truck engines. Combine that with bad roads and marshy/muddy terrain (shades of the Eastern Front) leading to entire light cav formations built around IFV/APC chassis (you can see how many more countries make their own (licensed or local design) APCs/IFVs vs. tanks.)

I may be biased because M113 tank conversions are adorable and look like Predator tanks from WH40k  :D

The other thing I was thinking was about use of unguided rockets - they're cheap and cheerful... and they don't require the launching platform to sit still for 20 seconds guiding it (unlike wire-guided ATGMs). On the other hand, their launch signature is way more pronounced... and on the gripping hand, smoky engines (like on the CRV-7) can be a built-in smoke screen for the launcher :P
« Last Edit: 26 November 2020, 17:09:33 by chanman »

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #141 on: 26 November 2020, 19:30:19 »
I'm just playing with the idea of a local industry that doesn't have the ability to make/cast thick armour plate, leading to a need to import heavy armour, but can handle welded aluminum and truck engines.
That's pretty much what I figure as well.  We can build light stuff but we're importing things like tanks and heavy guns.  Aircraft are imported as well, though we can obviously maintain and upgrade what we've got.  Small arms, domestically made, trucks and transports the same.  By 1985 we've probably got an advanced enough electronics industry to make our own smart weapons, so we're building our own ATGMs at least.  Licensed production of things like OT-64 APCs as well as BMPs, though the Centurions I've had to buy.

Idly one of the things I settled on was nationalized exports of aluminum and coal that go into the sovereign fund, which goes back into funding the military and justifying the size of the force. 
Combine that with bad roads and marshy/muddy terrain (shades of the Eastern Front) leading to entire light cav formations built around IFV/APC chassis (you can see how many more countries make their own (licensed or local design) APCs/IFVs vs. tanks.)
Light cav forces I'd actually expected to use AML-60s for, with AML-90s backing them up.  I suppose "more BMPs" is always an answer, but I rather like the little armored cars.  I'd figured on a mixed quality road network - the major freeways are heavily built up and reinforced, but the regular roads are probably mixed and there's no small number of gravel roads.

Scout BMPs it is.
I may be biased because M113 tank conversions are adorable and look like Predator tanks from WH40k  :D
Note to self: Ultramarine livery is not proper camouflage, but looks badass on parade day.
The other thing I was thinking was about use of unguided rockets - they're cheap and cheerful... and they don't require the launching platform to sit still for 20 seconds guiding it (unlike wire-guided ATGMs). On the other hand, their launch signature is way more pronounced... and on the gripping hand, smoky engines (like on the CRV-7) can be a built-in smoke screen for the launcher :P
Niven fan detected.  And, I need to go back over my artillery; I'm kinda tube heavy for my preference.  Need more grid square removal systems.  BM-21 ahoy!

RPG-7s at least are a thing among the infantry, as are recoilless rifles; I finally went and motorized the entire army (after kicking the timeframe to 1985 after all) and the weapons company's RR platoon has eight M40s.  I suppose I could upgrade those to Malyutka launchers, but I'm saving those for the mechanized forces.

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #142 on: 26 November 2020, 20:16:52 »
Also: Anyone able to point me to a good book that talks about Soviet land forces tactics and strategy?

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #143 on: 30 November 2020, 04:12:45 »
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm100-2-1.pdf

Found this, of all things.  Perfect for what I was looking for.  And it's got some great unintentional (dark) humor: "Nuclear and/or chemical weapons can bring a sudden change of great magnitude to the balance."

Meanwhile I end up screwing up a number and coming up with a new structure, which...happens to precisely hit my hoped-for mark.  Oh well, I guess I'll add a third corps to the bunch, I've had the room for it all this time.  So.  Timeframe 1975, I'm back to that for potential story reasons I don't yet feel like changing.  Set up around the combined-arms brigade format, either tank heavy or mechanized, I've nine armored brigades and nine armored infantry brigades, plus an additional twelve motorized infantry (using organic unarmored trucks) units.  Eastern and Western corps both have two armored and armored infantry brigades, plus five of the motorized; the Central corps remains a strategic reserve with five armored and armored infantry brigades and two motorized.

The armored brigade is built around two battalions of Sho't Kal* variant Centurion tanks, while a third battalion of BMP-1 variants haul infantry around.  The armored infantry brigade also uses Sho't Kals, but instead of BMPs I went with Czech/Polish OT-64As.  They're big, but they're roomy, and it'll be a lot more comfortable in those than in the BMPs, especially carrying G3 rifles.  I'll be nice to the BMP teams and give them collapsing stocks, at least...  Artillery for each brigade comes mostly in the form of a battalion of 2S3 Akatsiya 152mm SPGs, though the motorized infantry is using M102 field guns.  Artillery for each corps is five battalions of three batteries of of BM-21 Grads, six battalions of three batteries of D-20 152mm towed howitzers, one battalion of two batteries of M110 203mm artillery, and one battalion of three batteries of M91 chemical rockets.  The last two are the WMD deterrent and come with their own specialist security companies.

I end up with a mobile force of around 123,000 troops across that spread, with another 75,000 "Guards" light infantry broken up into company and platoon-sized detachments for area and site security.  Yes, I'm inverting the Soviet meaning of the Guards title and applying it to my lightest rear-echelon folks.

Air defenses are fairly light and mostly rely on the Air Defense Force to achieve superiority, with a mix of M163 20mm gun carriers and Bofors 40L70 guns - three battalions of each, per corps.  I also settled the question of antitank platoons and companies by going with the MT-LB-based Shturm-S ATGM carrier; it's amphibious and can keep pace with the BMPs and OT-64s it's supporting.  I'm also using it as a mortar carrier, since there's plenty of variations across different countries.

The Air Defense Force meanwhile is in a generally happy state; it's divided into five regiments, each assigned north, east, south, west, and central.  80 Mirage IIIE fighter-bombers for a high end of the mix, with 128 MiG-21 interceptors and 112 F-5E Tiger IIs for air supremacy.  Add 80 attack jets, Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets, for the dedicated CAS mission with rockets and bombs.

I guess this is just about done...any thoughts?  Opinions?  Bueller?  Bueller?

*because not putting diesels in Centurion was stupid.  Really, it goes fifty miles before it's got to refuel?  That's a joke, not a tank.

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #144 on: 30 November 2020, 05:22:13 »
The M163s stand out as your only M113 platform. It would make sense to use something homebrewed based off the Centurion or BMP chassis. (I was going to say the ZSU-23-4 Shilka, but that's off a different family than the BMP-1)

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 21437
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #145 on: 30 November 2020, 16:55:28 »
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm100-2-1.pdf

Found this, of all things.  Perfect for what I was looking for.  And it's got some great unintentional (dark) humor: "Nuclear and/or chemical weapons can bring a sudden change of great magnitude to the balance."

Not sure it is un-intentional . . . what it probably was would be a combat commander getting stuck with a tour in a staff billet mocking the REMFs by over-using their buzzwords and addressing horror staff work tends to paper over.  Heard plenty of comments about what phrases or words should be used in NCOERs or other reports- synergy was a popular one for a while, used in ways that were definitely not synergistic.

I guess the real question is, how are you getting spares for stuff when East-West tension heats up since you are supplying from both sides to walk a fine line on foreign influence.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #146 on: 30 November 2020, 17:31:13 »
The M163s stand out as your only M113 platform. It would make sense to use something homebrewed based off the Centurion or BMP chassis. (I was going to say the ZSU-23-4 Shilka, but that's off a different family than the BMP-1)
Hm, looking into that idea, the Marksman system was offered on Centurion hulls but that doesn't show up until 1990.  My original thought was that the M163s were unlicensed direct copies, a couple samples bought and then reproduced directly rather than purchased as part of a family of vehicles.  I guess I could go with Flakpanzer Gepards; they're available in the timeframe, but I like the lighter M163 for no real reason at all.

I'll look into AA variants of the BMP, at least...or else put regular M113s into service as the ATGM and mortar carrier.  Decision to be looked further into.
Not sure it is un-intentional . . . what it probably was would be a combat commander getting stuck with a tour in a staff billet mocking the REMFs by over-using their buzzwords and addressing horror staff work tends to paper over.  Heard plenty of comments about what phrases or words should be used in NCOERs or other reports- synergy was a popular one for a while, used in ways that were definitely not synergistic.
I have a rather absurdist and dark sense of humor as it is, so such things appeal to me.  Still working on reading things but I'm getting an understanding at least.  It's an interesting read and a different way of thinking - war as an extension of politics rather than as a failure of politics.  That and the belief that either nuclear weapons had just been used, or were about to be used, and the operations of military forces in that environment.
I guess the real question is, how are you getting spares for stuff when East-West tension heats up since you are supplying from both sides to walk a fine line on foreign influence.
That's part of the fun of this setting, it is walking that fine balance while trying to keep enough spares for replacement.  I figure that the interior bits and small stuff can all be made locally, it's the casting of hull and turret parts for the tanks that I don't have the ability to duplicate.  Same goes for the jets, engines and airframes being imported while all the rest can be built locally.  I should have enough of an electronics industry to at least copy Sidewinders and build avionics, but I'm probably still importing missiles anyway.

I suppose I'd end up swinging heavier one way or another depending on the global situation, but one good arms embargo and I'm in trouble.  One benefit is using older stuff, I get the option of buying third party - if I can't get tanks from Great Britain, well, I'm sure I could get some off the South Africans, for example.  Or the Israelis, trading hard cash or natural resources for things.

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 21437
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #147 on: 30 November 2020, 18:44:56 »
Red Storm Rising had some interesting bits from the Soviet perspective about using Bio & Chem weapons in the opening phases of their offensive.  First part being the Russians did not care b/c it was all happening on German soil, the second part being the Staff held no real horror of the weapons, and third some of the Staff & Pols downplaying NATO's policy of viewing the use of Bio or Chem meriting a nuclear response.

Then you have the hysteria in the West about nuclear weapons- I am not sure if the Soviets felt the same way though Clancy's portrayal seemed to though I think it was more in the fear of run-away decision cycles.  A tac nuke is a big firecracker- it does damage just like FAEs and more conventional explosives, just a matter of scale.  The problem from a policy perspective is where is the line between tactical and strategic weapons & use which is what gives rise to the fear of runaway escalation and thus MAD.  For all the nuclear arms reduction talks, I would point out that it is statistically proven very limited numbers of weapons make them more likely to be used- IE we had 2 bombs . . . we used two bombs.

I am just not sure, from my reading, that Soviet doctrine treated tac nukes to the same degree of being evil bogeymen as Western culture.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

chanman

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2488
  • Architect of suffering
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #148 on: 30 November 2020, 19:05:51 »
The interesting thing about your air force is that Mig-21s, F-5s, and Mirage III/Vs are not only contemporaries, they're also substitutes. Sure, the IIIs have that radar, but... late 1950's/early 1960's single seat light fighter radar and AAMs are well... I guess they're fine if you're intercepting a Bear, but that might be about it.

The other funny thing is that I think you can find more than a couple countries that have operated any 2 of those 3 aircraft, but not all 3 concurrently.)

Switzerland: F-5/Mirage
Pakistan: J-7/Mirage
etc.

Speaking of J-7s, China spent most of the Cold War being an independent actor, so it offers some interesting Soviet-esque hardware that you can use the way the Albanians did. Not sure how tightly exports by WP members was controlled - remember the CZ-75 wonder nines showed up in the West during the cold war, not after but pistols are one thing and aircraft are another thing entirely.

However, if you want to get into wacky territory, you can try grafting various other weapon systems onto say... Type 63 hulls. Pretend you're the Imperial Guard and that's the Chimera chassis if it helps...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BMP-1_variants#People.27s_Republic_of_China. They seem to have made a copy that I haven't found much info about, although even if they weren't able to make and sell them in 1975, maybe they would be willing to provide unlicensed technical details to your local producers.

Scratch that. It looks like it was reverse-engineered, but the effort didn't start until the mid 70s.

The Cold War is a time for skullduggery, darnit!
« Last Edit: 30 November 2020, 19:24:52 by chanman »

ANS Kamas P81

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10734
Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #149 on: 30 November 2020, 20:16:02 »
I am just not sure, from my reading, that Soviet doctrine treated tac nukes to the same degree of being evil bogeymen as Western culture.
Reading through FM 100-2-1 seems to think they'd be expecting it.  There's repeat mention of avoiding concentrating units for breakthroughs and keeping dispersed because of the potential for taking out entire large formations with a nuclear response to a conventional attack.  There's also mention of prioritized targets being any nuclear or antinuclear unit being targeted.  I think in that case it was less a fear of escalation into the ICBM farms and an all-up exchange, and instead an expectation of their use on the conventional battlefield should a tempting target appear.

Granted, I'm reading all this as an inexperienced civilian; I'm just highlighting where I'm getting this feeling.  Red Storm Rising was a solid read, but it's been a while.  I should snag a copy again.

As far as the small arsenals being used, I can see the point being made, though there's also the early proliferation in India, Pakistan, and North Korea; they never used their arsenals (yet) despite the small size of each arsenal.  To be fair, it's been a little while since there's been a hot war over there, so we'll see if things heat up I suppose.

And I'd consider this all to be on topic - substituting VX and sarin for the plutonium-based deterrent is what my strategic position is.  What lines need to be crossed for such use, etc.
The interesting thing about your air force is that Mig-21s, F-5s, and Mirage III/Vs are not only contemporaries, they're also substitutes. Sure, the IIIs have that radar, but... late 1950's/early 1960's single seat light fighter radar and AAMs are well... I guess they're fine if you're intercepting a Bear, but that might be about it.
I was counting on ground controlled intercept being the primary means of control, with the small radars available.  Nothing great but good enough once you're in close to spot things.
The other funny thing is that I think you can find more than a couple countries that have operated any 2 of those 3 aircraft, but not all 3 concurrently.)

Switzerland: F-5/Mirage
Pakistan: J-7/Mirage
etc.
I like being weird.  Hadnt' considered Chinese hardware, though most of it is copies and modifications of Soviet stuff anyway.  I guess in a way they're the combloc version of Israel - not really part of the game, but taking and modifying/improving on what they can get.  As it is, the Air Defense Force is set up with five squadrons in each sector of the country.  I suppose I could simplify things somewhat and go full Pakistani with MiG-21s and Mirages side by side.
Speaking of J-7s, China spent most of the Cold War being an independent actor, so it offers some interesting Soviet-esque hardware that you can use the way the Albanians did. Not sure how tightly exports by WP members was controlled - remember the CZ-75 wonder nines showed up in the West during the cold war, not after but pistols are one thing and aircraft are another thing entirely.
Definitely need to take another look at Chinese stuff.  I've been staring at the Centurion and thinking SOMETHING has to be added; I kept looking at western tanks but nothing really gelled in my head.  The obvious answer is "go Leopard" but I don't want to do the obvious.  T-55s can be modified to take the L7, so...maybe one of those Chinese tanks.
However, if you want to get into wacky territory, you can try grafting various other weapon systems onto say... Type 63 hulls. Pretend you're the Imperial Guard and that's the Chimera chassis if it helps...
63s are cute little things.  I'll break up a few of the OT-64 APCs with them, actually.  I've got a few brigades that are modernizing their organization, maybe switching their troop carrier made sense to someone.  It's got a dedicated mortar carrier too, so that'll be a plus. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BMP-1_variants#People.27s_Republic_of_China. They seem to have made a copy that I haven't found much info about, although even if they weren't able to make and sell them in 1975, maybe they would be willing to provide unlicensed technical details to your local producers.

The Cold War is a time for skullduggery, darnit!
Skullduggery indeed, and buying from all sides is fun.  Especially when it's stolen blueprints used to build copies on the sly, which is totally how I'm explaining the M163s.

So now to consider tanks. Type 69s were exported, but they're too late for production.  Type 59s are basically T-54s, meanwhile the Israelis were taking T-54s and -55s and upgrading them with L7 guns as well.  The Chinese did too, but not until the 1980s...hm; what if the T-55 was the mainline tank prior to the 1970 Sho't and that's how the replacements go?  It'd be about a thousand T-55s and five hundred Centurions, if I started buying them late.