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Old 12-21-2008, 08:32 PM
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Question Siege of Warsaw

Anyone out there ever done a write-up for the NATO and WP formations involved in the T2K siege of Warsaw?

The PCs in my campaign will soon be arriving in the vicinity of that oft-besieged city and I want to get a little more specific in my description of the old battle area than "littered with burned out M1A1s and T-72s". I also want to know what units NATO stragglers in the area could plausibly be from.

If you have any other thoughts on the siege of Warsaw or ideas to share from your own campaigns set in the area, please share them here.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:10 PM
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Okay, I'll start but as everyone here knows my T2K campaign is very uncanonical, so be prepared to ignore if it suits.

Firstly, the original siege was too short.
Have the original siege last for over a year. Now pack the area with formations, if you feel inclined look at the movements of units back when you're staging your siege and place units here and there as logical. Now think of the actions that occurred. Read up in the Siege of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War, Stalingrad, Sarajevo and even look at Baghdad now. Incorporate (ie:steal) events as needed.

Now, the place has been left alone for some time. It's not neat. There's rings of siege works, wrecked vehicles and battlefields, millions upon millions of landmines and razor wire that marches over from horizon to horizon. Who knows, some of the bunkers probably reek with persistent gas agents? You get the picture.

Here is where your story telling can go to town, and here is where like no other place the difference between the old world and the T2K is at its most marked.

Back to the original siege.
This is a pivotal event in the Last World War. It is unfair to disallow players to take part in that event. Place their unit there, come up with some campaign history and give them an info dump to reminisce about. Have things radically changed in some places and eerily similar in others.

When I did it I played up on the brotherhood of soldiers that arises in sieges. The PCs 'remembered' fighting tooth and nail against the Warsaw Police Battalion, still wearing their beat cop uniforms and dying for every inch that NATO bought. When they got to that battlefield, a railway station, they were struck with an awe that I couldn't have instilled myself. Later they met a Warsaw police survivor and helped his family out because of the shared blood between them.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:08 AM
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I don't remember much of when my player's got to Warsaw. That was 89, 90 sometime, so allmost twenty years ago. What I do recall is that I made the place a bitch to traverse. Climbing rolls, cave ins, snipers that were only a block away but took four hours to reach the suspected location. They couldn't wait to get back on the boat. So much rubble, so much mess you spend as much time going up and down as you do going forward and back, and yeah there was going back when they hit dead ends.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:47 AM
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Information is EXTREEMELY limited although I have been able to ascertain that the US III Corp appeared to have shouldered much of the load along with at least the 3rd German Panzer Division.

Note that only the 1st battery, 3rd Artillery Battalion, 3rd Panzer Division has a direct and undeniable link with the siege of Warsaw itself. The US III Corp (including the US 8th ID at the time) is only refered to as having suffered significant losses in the withdrawal from Warsaw.

While the artillery battery is shown to have been at Warsaw in September of 2007, just before the seige was lifted, it's parent division "reached as far as the Neman River line in the Soviet Union before being forced to withdraw.

There are many other units, mainly US and German, which are shown to have participated in the overall offensive, but none besides the above specifically linked to Warsaw in any other way.

It is my considered opinion that the US III Corp which at the time probably consisted of the 8th ID, 1st Cavalry, 2nd Armoured, 44th Armoured and 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment were supported by elements of the German VI Corps to bear the brunt of seige duty.


On the PAct side, once again information is very limited although I have ben able to find that the 7th Guards Tank Army was responsible for lifting the seige as part of the greater counter offensive. The units involved where the 3rd Guards Tank Division (all indications are this at least came close to Warsaw), 8th Guards Tank Division ("aided in the relief of Warsaw"), and the 22nd Tank Division ("took poart in the counteroffensive, which resulted in the relief of Warsaw" "cost the division nearly all it's vehicles").

The 47th Tank Division which is also technically under the 7th GTA coimmand was held in reserve near Minsk when it and the city were nuked.

As Warsaw received 6 nuclear warheads from NATO as they withdrew in an attempt to slow the Pact advance, I suggest the 22nd TD was the closest to the city at the time.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:48 PM
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We're going to wargame out the Battle of Poland.

My initial, off the cuff impressions are that the siege would be a mix of US, German and British units. The US units would be from corps other than V and VII Corps (which were based in Bavaria in peacetime and most likely were further south in the NATO forces in Poland). III Corps had elements (5th ID & 116th ACR) previously engaged further south during the Battle of Czestekowa. (8th ID was part of V Corps at the outbreak of the war). Possible US units would include National Guard units such as 40th Infantry Division and 50th Armored Division and the remaining urban warfare experts of what's left of the Berlin Brigade. German units might be less mobile units of the German Territorial Army, while the Panzers and Panzergrenadier divisions rush the Soviet border. The British Army had an artillery division with 8" guns that might also be helpful.

On the Pact side, the garrison would probably consist of a hodgepodge of Soviet units from all over the front, falling back on defenses prepared by the Polish 3rd Army, especially its 28th Infantry Division (and yes, the Poles referred to their units as Infantry rather than Motor Rifle). Some of the 3rd Army's Mobilization-only units never really form, as NATO overruns their assembly areas, which also allows for the canon unit ID's to differ from RL. There are also lots of Polish paramilitary troops involved - police, ZOMO (riot police), ORMO (IRL more of a police reserve than the militia described in canon), the real militia and maybe even Party armed formations.

This is all based on a simple look at the map, knowledge of the structure of the forces involved, timeline and terrain, and reference to Black Madonna. I don't have the vehicle guides with me, nor feel particularly bound to their division histories, especially on the Pact side where their unit ID's were mostly guesses. (I've spent an awful lot of time researching and translating the RL Pact orbats... GDW did a great job for 1984, we have better sources now).
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:51 PM
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Thanks, Leg and Chico.

I was skimming through my v1.0 U.S. Army Vehicle Guide last night and several divisions are mentioned as either...

A.) having withdrawn from Warsaw or...
B.) having participated in every major offensive in Poland/Central Europe (emphasis added).

Both of these tags seem to imply participation in the encirclement and/or the siege itself. The former implies either direct partipation in the siege, at some stage, at least, while the latter is more open to interpretation.

The units mentioned are:

2nd armored (A)
8th Mech ID (A)
3rd ACR (A)
107th ACR (A)
116th ACR (A)

3rd armored (B)
1st Mech ID (B)
2nd ACR (B)
11th ACR (B)

It seems strange for so many ACRs to be involved. Perhaps they provided the spearheads during the encirclement and well as the main counterattacking/rearguard formations of the withdrawal. The relative dearth of infantry seems strange as well. Maybe the Germans provided the bulk of the assault infantry. I don't know. Chico's explanation makes more sense than the purely canonical sources do.
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Last edited by Raellus; 12-23-2008 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:18 AM
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I think that as long as you don't refer to units which have been previously established as elsewhere (the US 5th ID at Czestchowa for example), or having sat out that phase of the war (probably due to rebuilding from prior engagements), you probably can't go wrong.

It could be simply said that as units on the front line further east became tired, they were rotated back to what may have been basically garrison duty.

The high number of armoured units mentioned in the withdrawal makes a fair bit of sense to me. We know Warsaw was nuked to slow down the enemy and most modern IFVs possess some form of NBC protection.
Armoured units may also be a bit faster than infantry too, more able to set up ambushes and then run before the enemy built up too much strength. Yes, mechanised infantry can do the same, but they really need to dismount most of their manpower to be fully effective.
We also know from looking through the Soviet Vehicle Guide (and 2nd ed handbook) that it was a tank army spearheading the relief of Warsaw. NATO armour units seem like the better option than infantry to face them. This might also explain why the US 8th ID suffered so badly....

Quite likely a few straws being grasped at above, but can anyone come up with a better scenario?
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:01 PM
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To be honest, Legbreaker...there are a few factors you might be overlooking. The distinctions of "Infantry vs. Armor" designations were rather meaningless when it came to Division 86 Heavy divisions. They all had 10 battalions, all the Armored .vs Infantry designation meant was how the mix of those battalions worked itself out. And, both the M1 and M2 series had good NBC overpressure.

What may have mauled 8th ID was something more basic. I think that the Soviets probably threw upwards of a tank army, backed up by nuclear weapons at some of the US divisions, not to mention we at DC Working Group talked it out and we came to the conclusion that units in the field made lousy targets for battlefield nukes. What's better you ask? Unit CPs and LOG/POL dumps, but how much of that is in artillery range? Not saying nukes weren't used against troop units, but their greatest effect was probably when they were used against the rear areas of divisions and corps/armies in contact. In short, some divisions probably disintergrated under the weight of their rear areas being nuked to slag, no gas, bullets, beans or parts...not to mention the Soviets were probably willing to take the losses of a few battalions from NATO counterstrikes, if not entire divisions to sucessfully mass against NATO units dispersed in an anti-nuclear posture.
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Weiser
To be honest, Legbreaker...there are a few factors you might be overlooking.
I'm sure there are. My previous post was really just a stab in the dark - there's simply not enough published material to say one way or the other what actually happened and why.
I do note though that once the Pact forces began moving forward again in late August 1997, there wouldn't be as great a need for them to use nukes as there was while Nato was advancing just a month or so before.

On the Nato side, it is stated they practised a "scorched earth policy" during their withdrawal, which was speeded up when the Italians and Czechs joined the offensive a week after Warsaw was relieved.

To me it doesn't really matter if the Divisions themselves were the targets or not - chances are they were going to be significantly effected just from hits on nearby cities.
I understand the prevailing weather patterns move west to east. Therefore it is likely (although not definate by any stretch of the imagination) that fallout would effect Pact forces more than Nato. Of course we know from Chernobyl that the fallout from the Ukraine can make it all the way west to Ireland, so.... :S
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:58 PM
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Referencing the UK Survivors Guide, it was the British I Corps. At least during the first few weeks.
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico20854
We're going to wargame out the Battle of Poland.
I'd love to know how that goes (wish I could be there...).

The timing probably won't work out (my PCs will probably be getting there before you guys wargame it) but I'm really curious as to what role the town of Gora Kalwaria [sic] plays in your battle of Warsaw.

With its position on the west bank of the Vistula just a few miles south of Warsaw and two bridges there, it would probably be crucial to any encirclement/relief operations during/after "the siege".
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusilier
Referencing the UK Survivors Guide, it was the British I Corps. At least during the first few weeks.
You know, that's the one book I hadn't looked in....
It's a goldmine of information!

It appears on close inspection that the bulk of the Corp (1st and 2nd Armoured Divisions - Chieftans & Challengers) were transfered to south Germany in July and were soon in combat against the Italians around Munich.
Expect to find Sultan TOCs, Fox armoured cars (actually phased out of service IRL a few years back), Spartan APCs, Scorpion and Scimitar light tanks amongst the remainder of the Corp (mostly recon units).

It was most definately I Corp who reached the city first (end of May) at which time they were ordered to attack and in mid June they begain the seige.

Quote:
"The Soviets fought with a determination not seen before, and they gained a reputation for mercilessness in their attempts to gain food from the civilian population. As July arrived, advanced elements of the Corps had reached the Vistula River, but the Soviets stopped them from taking the bridges."

Other units mentioned as taking part in the siege are 4th Armoured Division (Challengers, Chieftans, Sultans and Foxs) which is a component of II Corp, 6th Airmobile Brigade (BAOR, actually has functioning helicopters as of the 01JAN01), 28th Royal Engineer regiment (amphibious - FV-180s, M2 bridge/ferry, Chieftan AVRE) which arrived at Warsaw with the 4th Armoured.

Quote:
"On the 15th of September, the Soviet 7th Guards Tank Army broke through to Warsaw. First Corps began a fierce withdrawal action in a desperate attempt to stop the Soviets, but it was too heavily outnumbered and was pushed back. By the end of September, NATO began using tactical nuclear weapons to stop the Soviets. The Soviets replied by using their own nuclear weapons."

I'm not suprised the British were mauled as the bulk of the I Corp was fighting the Italians at the time. It appears only two recon regiments, an engineer regiment and an Armoured Division was all that was available (besides the units mentioned in previous posts).

Elements of the II Corp (of which 4th armoured was a part) continued eastward with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (armoured recon) reaching Russian soil.

So, in summary, it appears it was the British who had the greatest role in the siege but evidence exists for the Germans to have at least lent artillery support. No evidence can be found supporting any other nationality being involved directly in the fighting although many units "suffered in the withdrawal". Therefore, I suggest the bulk of Nato equipment found in the area would be British in origin.
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:07 AM
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Another vehicle the party might encounter is the Alvis Stalwart, an amphibious capable truck designed to resupply British Forces in Germany without the need of bridges.

They'd been phased out by the mid-80s but many were moth balled.

Some might even survive to some extent as they could have foundered in the shallows of the Vistula and later been recovered by enterprising locals.
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmark6
Another vehicle the party might encounter is the Alvis Stalwart, an amphibious capable truck designed to resupply British Forces in Germany without the need of bridges.
Since I had to look it up i figured others might find the following useful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvis_Stalwart_(FV620)

http://www.4wdonline.com/Mil/Alvis/Stalwart.html

http://www.olive-drab.com/idphoto/id..._stalwart.php3
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:33 AM
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Plus good old PM has a write up of it on his site, T2K wise, they are very handy for transport vehicles.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmark6
Plus good old PM has a write up of it on his site, T2K wise, they are very handy for transport vehicles.
I've always thought that with the addition of some armour plating the Stalwart would make a great platform for a gun truck...it just looks the part...
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for the ideas, fellas. That Stalwart is pretty cool lookin'.
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