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  #31  
Old 11-10-2021, 05:24 AM
mpipes mpipes is offline
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The problem that looms large; the background FL came up with and the ability of the Soviets to mount an operation into Sweden with a three-front war to contend with strains credibility a bit too far. NATO invading Finland in the original timeline was just detached from reality for me to ever buy into, so I "fixed" it. I won't go into any bashing of the FL background, but having it become a major player strains credibility beyond the breaking point for me.

That said, you have some naval infantry and independent regiments that you can throw in to occupy a strip of the Baltic shore and secure an airfield or two to protect shipping lanes from the USSR to the Polish or other Baltic seaports. Airbases enhance your hand in supporting the German front and intercepting airstrikes from German or Danish bases towards Norway or Kola. Occupying Gotland and Kalmar is about all I see the Soviets realistically having the forces to accomplish, but OK, you can have them trying to capture or actually capturing and holding on to the southern part of the country. Capturing Stockholm does not make any sense to me, but ok every country does dumb things in a war. You can expect the Swedes to fight like hell for it and getting into it is hard and mounting a follow up operation out of it is even harder, and where do you go from there? What are your military goals in the wider context of a NATO war? Probably you just hunker down while Swedish commandos make occupation duty less than boring.

Sweden did not see a need to join NATO for a reason; there was really no credible threat of a Russian invasion. Its too far away from Kola and just far enough away from Germany that at best it would be an afterthought in an invasion of Germany. The real problem for the Soviets was the Baltic, and Sweden was not a solution. They could not get the Baltic Fleet into the Atlantic without having to get through restricted Danish and German waters. Stirring up the Swedes would only complicate that task. The Swedes were far from dumb, and knew quite well that the Soviets would want to avoid yet another country hunting Soviet ships in the Baltic. After all, there is a REASON that Sweden was heavily invested in minelayers and small coastal subs....very, very good coastal sub.
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  #32  
Old 11-10-2021, 12:19 PM
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The problem that looms large; the background FL came up with and the ability of the Soviets to mount an operation into Sweden with a three-front war to contend with strains credibility a bit too far.
I don't disagree with you there. My interest, however, is trying to work out a way to make Sweden a campaign setting in v1. This takes a bit of mental gymnastics, for sure. Basically, I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons, or smash a square peg into a round hole.

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That said, you have some naval infantry and independent regiments that you can throw in to occupy a strip of the Baltic shore and secure an airfield or two to protect shipping lanes from the USSR to the Polish or other Baltic seaports. Airbases enhance your hand in supporting the German front and intercepting airstrikes from German or Danish bases towards Norway or Kola. Occupying Gotland and Kalmar is about all I see the Soviets realistically having the forces to accomplish.
I agree with your strategic assessment. That view, however, doesn't lend itself to Sweden serving as a campaign setting, though, so I'm trying to come up with a plausible reason for a larger-scale invasion. To sum up, that would be:
  • Present a threat of outflanking NATO forces in N. Norway.
  • Relieve pressure on the Central European front by drawing off NATO forces from Poland.
  • Secure freedom of navigation of the Baltic by eliminating the Swedish navy and air force.
  • Rescue pockets of Soviet troops cut off in N. Norway and/or interned in Sweden.

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OK, you can have them trying to capture or actually capturing and holding on to the southern part of the country. Capturing Stockholm does not make any sense to me, but ok every country does dumb things in a war. You can expect the Swedes to fight like hell for it and getting into it is hard and mounting a follow up operation out of it is even harder, and where do you go from there? What are your military goals in the wider context of a NATO war? Probably you just hunker down while Swedish commandos make occupation duty less than boring.
Most Swedes live in and/or around Stockholm, so the Soviets might see it's capture as a campaign-ending stroke, much like how during WW2 the Germans believed that capturing Moscow would end the war with the USSR.

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Sweden did not see a need to join NATO for a reason; there was really no credible threat of a Russian invasion.
I think that most Swedes that lived through the Cold War would disagree with you there. Sweden made extensive preparations to resist a Soviet invasion: a few examples are universal conscription, hardened CINC bunkers and sub pens, coastal artillery batteries, dispersed combat aviation assets (STOL fighters designed to operate from highways). They wouldn't have invested in those sorts of things if they didn't take the Soviet threat very seriously.

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The real problem for the Soviets was the Baltic, and Sweden was not a solution. They could not get the Baltic Fleet into the Atlantic without having to get through restricted Danish and German waters. Stirring up the Swedes would only complicate that task. The Swedes were far from dumb, and knew quite well that the Soviets would want to avoid yet another country hunting Soviet ships in the Baltic. After all, there is a REASON that Sweden was heavily invested in minelayers and small coastal subs....very, very good coastal sub.
You are right, of course, but in my scenario, the Soviets' primary strategic objective in invading Sweden is not to gain access to the N. Atlantic via the Baltic.

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  #33  
Old 11-10-2021, 09:32 PM
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That's an interesting premise. Does that scenario include Finland at all?
I thought it was rather v1-compliant, so it should match what's in the rulebook. Yes, NATO went into Finland and the Finns fought back. I can confirm it's from Chico, with input from Lurken.

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Agreed. One way to explain less of Soviet presence in Sweden (i.e an Army- equivalent to a NATO Corps- rather than a Front) is that Stavka intended to send additional formations to Sweden in follow-up waves once the beachhead was well-established and transport freed up, but the war took a turn for worse elsewhere and the Soviets just didn't have any "spare" units to significantly reinforce their Army (corps) in Sweden.
Well, in '98, there's plenty of other things going wrong for the Pact.

Ideally, there could have been another Soviet offensive, overland from the Murmansk area, and that could have been another army and the rest of a Front. I didn't want to take the time to work that one out, but I ruled that the bulk of the Swedish army must have stopped them north of the game map, probably on some river line.

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That makes sense. Going by the v1 timeline, the closer to 2000 that events get, the fewer air and sea assets there are available. If the Soviets are going to invade Sweden by sea and air, they're going to need ships and aircraft, and, maybe more importantly, fuel for them. By mid-1998 in the v1 timeline, all of those things are in much shorter supply. That's why I went with '97 instead.
Fair enough. I figure the Baltic Fleet might have had time through late '97 to make some repairs, and maybe build up some shipping to make it happen.

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Yes, I think so. This is a bit of a stretch, but maybe one could explain US XI Corps getting left behind during OMEGA by placing it in Sweden instead of NW Poland.
True, but I thought XI Corps was too "heavy" to be diverted from the main front in '98, I'd say the same for late '97. By using IV Corps instead, I could keep its late '98 shipping out, and it wouldn't be a diversion from the '98 fighting in Germany. There's no evidence the Marine division was in that fighting, so it could go north, too. I didn't want to break up the XI Corps' attack in '00, nor the death rides of the 5th & 8th Mechs.

Using the IV Corps, they still might get left behind by OMEGA, since they declared loyalty to CivGov.


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AFAIK, no explanation is given in canon for why XI Corps does not make its way to Bremerhaven in November 2000. A lot of virtual ink has been expended here trying to come up with a likely explanation (without consensus).
Yep. I had my hypothesis in that go-round.

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You don't have a USMC unit in your Sweden c.2000?
Not in 2000, I kept it on the SE coast, until the 2000 offensive, then pulled it south to Poland. OTOH, when IV Corps goes to CivGov and the Marines stay with MilGov, I figure there are individuals and maybe small units that don't go with the rest of their companions. So the Marines might have a company or a battalion-sized task force of soldiers that wanted to stay with MilGov, and IV Corps might make up a smaller Marine unit. (So if I get some players that want to play Marines while others want to be soldiers, I'm covered. )

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I like that idea. I'm all for using forces described in the VG's as basically just sitting around far from an active front. In my mind, they're fair game to be put to good use elsewhere.
Well, I swiped a division that's supposed to be tangling with another division that deserted in Latvia, but there's a few more that could be doing the same thing.

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I figure that capturing Gotland would be in Soviet strategic plans as a second or third phase operational objective. Again, the Soviets don't get around to it due to limited forces. -
Fair.
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Old 11-10-2021, 09:43 PM
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The problem that looms large; the background FL came up with and the ability of the Soviets to mount an operation into Sweden with a three-front war to contend with strains credibility a bit too far. ...
I agree, it seems illogical. I wanted to play with the neat map, though....

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Occupying Gotland and Kalmar is about all I see the Soviets realistically having the forces to accomplish, but OK, you can have them trying to capture or actually capturing and holding on to the southern part of the country. Capturing Stockholm does not make any sense to me, but ok every country does dumb things in a war.
I have trouble making head or tail from FL's history, but it doesn't seem like the Soviets even tried to take Stockholm? No fighting is mentioned there, even though the naval infantry land south of it while the paratroopers land at the airport north of it. Then, 3 years later, the paras are south of Lake Malaren and west of Stockholm. (While undefined NATO/Swedish forces are north of the lake and in the city? I think?)

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Sweden did not see a need to join NATO for a reason; there was really no credible threat of a Russian invasion.
That, and there's plenty of diplomatic leverage and freedom of action to be gained from staying out of an alliance.
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  #35  
Old 11-11-2021, 02:11 PM
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Default To Align, or Not to Align?

It sounds like you've made a mid-1998 campaign in Sweden work pretty well, Admiral. I can't seem to get '97 to work without moving too many pieces around, to the point, almost, where the rest of the v1 timeline gets kind of screwed up. That kind of defeats the purpose of what I was trying to accomplish. For example, I do want a US MarDiv in Sweden c.2000, but in v1, all the Marine Divisions are spoken for. Moving the entirely of US XI Corps changes the situation in N. Poland too drastically. Creating a 7th MarDiv also doesn't feel quite right.

I don't want to play straight a v4 rules game in Poland because I've played plenty of v1 and v2.2 there already. If it ain't broke...
I've also played v1-2.2 CONUS campaigns, and have another v1 campaign setting project in the works, so those places are out.

If I ever end up using the v4 rules, I want something different setting wise- Sweden fits the bill quite well. Trouble for me is, IMHO, v4 makes a hash of the alternate history, both in the lead up to the war and in the way the war itself plays out (especially in Sweden). It just doesn't work for me.

I might just bin my attempts at aligning v4 and v1 and put together a hybrid alternative timeline where Sweden is invaded by Soviet forces early on in the war. I think that would be pretty easy to justify, geopolitically/strategically. An early war starting point would give Sweden plenty of time to develop that gritty, shot-up, worn down, tired out feel that is such a big part of classic T2k.

That said, I'll probably keep tinkering on a v1 alignment. I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

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  #36  
Old 11-12-2021, 12:59 PM
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It sounds like you've made a mid-1998 campaign in Sweden work pretty well, Admiral.
Thank you. I appreciate your work, as well.

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For example, I do want a US MarDiv in Sweden c.2000, but in v1, all the Marine Divisions are spoken for. Moving the entirely of US XI Corps changes the situation in N. Poland too drastically. Creating a 7th MarDiv also doesn't feel quite right.
Agreed. I did leave the door open for a US Marine sub-unit, of undefined size.

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I don't want to play straight a v4 rules game in Poland because I've played plenty of v1 and v2.2 there already. If it ain't broke...
Me, too.

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If I ever end up using the v4 rules, I want something different setting wise- Sweden fits the bill quite well. Trouble for me is, IMHO, v4 makes a hash of the alternate history, both in the lead up to the war and in the way the war itself plays out (especially in Sweden). It just doesn't work for me.
Ditto, that's why I'm only keeping a few bits of it.

Quote:
I might just bin my attempts at aligning v4 and v1 and put together a hybrid alternative timeline where Sweden is invaded by Soviet forces early on in the war. I think that would be pretty easy to justify, geopolitically/strategically. An early war starting point would give Sweden plenty of time to develop that gritty, shot-up, worn down, tired out feel that is such a big part of classic T2k.

That said, I'll probably keep tinkering on a v1 alignment. I'm not quite ready to give up yet. -
Sure. I keep wanting to pull out Arctic Front again and again, and see what scenarios I can derive from playing the optional Soviet offensive in that game.
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Old 11-12-2021, 03:45 PM
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Default Start Over at the Beginning

I'm playing with the idea of the Soviet Union invading Finland and Sweden at the beginning of the Twilight War, c.1996, basically as the immediate precursor to WWIII in Europe. I haven't done a detailed write up yet but, in a nutshell, due to aggressive Soviet action in E. Europe, nervous neighbors Finland and Sweden make overtures to NATO, raising the possibility of joining the alliance. The Soviets see this as an existential threat and decide to take preemptive military action. The Soviets gamble that NATO will not respond in-kind to the use of force against non-member nations. They launch a full scale, but non-nuclear, offensive against Finland and Sweden (focusing on the latter to essentially envelop the former).

The Soviets aren't naive. They're aware that this might trigger a larger European war, but they believe that controlling Sweden and Finland will put the USSR in a more strategically advantageous position. Controlling Sweden puts Norway in a much more vulnerable position (opening a broad-front, as opposed to the narrow corridor in the far north), and allows the USSR to dominate the Baltic and threaten NATO's long left flank in central Europe.

I haven't decided if the Soviets prompt a wider war w/ NATO by [accidentally/on purpose?] crossing the Norwegian border, or if NATO decides to come to the neutral, non-member nations' aid before that can happen. IT doesn't really matter, I don't think. Either way, WWIII kicks off and the rest is... alternate history.

That's as far as I've gotten, so far. I'll share more later, if/as it comes along.

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  #38  
Old 11-13-2021, 08:16 AM
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How's the timing of that, relative to the unification of Germany?
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  #39  
Old 11-13-2021, 10:53 AM
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Default Back-of-the-Envelope Alternative Route to WWIII

Yet another Alternate Timeline of the Twilight War

I haven't worked this all out yet, but basically, I'm going with a timeline where the Cold War seems about to end with peaceful German reunification. The Soviet military, with a long institutional memory, can't abide a reunified Germany- at least, not without a buffer state between the two traditional enemies. So, c. 1990, it launches a coup, takes control of the Soviet government, and then cracks down hard in Poland to maintain control there*. Of course, the international community protests vociferously, but aside from some sanctions, doesn't do anything about it.

*I haven't yet worked out which Soviet satellite countries manage to leave the East Bloc, which stay "voluntarily", and which the Soviets essentially occupy.

The Gulf War happens. The West draws the wrong conclusion from their easy victory: Western tech is essentially invincible. This belief leads to cuts in defense spending across NATO. The Soviets also learn lessons from the Gulf War. For starters, these lessons lead to improvements in training and a professionalization of the NCO corps in the Red Army, as well as developing tech to counteract US stealth aircraft.

Meanwhile, Germany is struggling under the economic burden of the moribund East. Mandated privatization leads to massive demonstrations in the former DDR. The Soviets look amp up the destabilization by supporting Communist terrorists. Political assassinations and bombings are fairly common. Germany simply can't afford its Cold War military, and, despite the Soviet bully next door in Poland, has no choice but to cut defense spending and focus on integrating the national economy.

What about the Soviet economy? Wasn't it on the verge of collapse? Yes, but the new hard line government institutes China-like economic liberalization while completely doing away with Glasnost era “freedoms”. The new government keeps the economy afloat thanks to plentiful supplies of natural gas, which it exports (not all countries participate in the post-Poland crackdown economic sanctions)- especially to a rapidly modernizing PRC. The Soviets also sell off some of their older military gear at bargain basement prices in order to improve their more modern stuff. The Soviet economy continues to sputter along.

What about the various Soviet republics? A few essentially declare independence and demand that Soviet troops leave their sovereign territory. Moscow ignores those demands and orders the arrests of the loudest dissenters. Fighting breaks out in the Caucuses, but the Soviet military somewhat clumsily, yet ultimately effectively, crushes armed opposition. More operational lessons are learned by the Soviet military.

When dissent flares up in the USSR's Baltic republics, the crackdown gets particularly ugly in Lithuania. Despite Soviet attempts to suppress reports of bloodshed, news of the repression reaches the west. Alarmed by the increased Soviet military presence next door, Finland and Sweden gravitate more closely to NATO. A couple of small-scale joint military maneuvers augur bigger things to come. When a well-placed Soviet spy in Stockholm reveals high level Swedish gov't discussions re a formal appeal to join NATO, Moscow decides that a larger, stronger NATO presence directly abutting the Motherland is existential threat to the USSR, and detailed plans to invade still officially neutral Finland and Sweden are developed (basic outlines had existed for decades). This is in 1995.

Meanwhile, relations between the USSR and the PRC rapidly sour. There's a dispute about Chinese payments for Soviet natural gas or Soviet cheating or something like that. I haven't quite worked this out, but military posturing near, or a "terrorist" attack on, the pipeline between the countries leads to border clashes in late '95, which, due to nationalistic pride or whatever, continue into early '96. With the eyes of the world on the crisis, neither gov't will back down.

At this point, the Soviets figure the time is ripe to launch their surprise attack on Finland and Sweden. With the world's attention on the border clashes in the Far East, and maybe some crisis in the Middle East somewhere, Soviet preparations are overlooked.

Summer '96, the Soviets launch their attack, starting with Spetsnaz actions, massive airstrikes, and a barrage of conventionally-armed cruise missiles targeting the air and naval forces of Sweden and Finland. Huge fighter sweeps follow. The Scandinavian air and naval forces put up a valiant but futile fight and, despite inflicting heavier than expected losses on their Soviet counterparts, are quickly subdued. Launched from the Baltics and Kaliningrad Oblast, large-scale amphibious and parachute landings take place in SE Sweden, while the Red Army rolls across the border into central and northern Finland in what is planned to be a massive double-envelopment of the latter country. Polish naval infantry and paratroopers seize Gotland.

NATO is taken aback. Norway and Denmark are in a panic. Sweden and Finland request immediate military assistance. NATO debates direct military intervention, but instead decides to mobilize its forces in central Europe, and reinforce Norway. It's hope for the best (either Sweden and Finland pull off a miracle, or the Soviets voluntarily end their offensive and pull out); prepare for the worst (Soviet forces end up in Norway) approach.
Meanwhile, a nationalistic, sanguine PRC gov't decides that the time is right to teach the USSR a lesson and cross the border in force.

Again, I'm not sure exactly what triggers a wider war between NATO and the Soviets in Europe, but it would kick off in '96. Things get out of control... yada-yada... tactical nukes are employed... TDM...

More or less, Twilight 2000.

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  #40  
Old 11-13-2021, 11:29 AM
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the next fanzine will have some stuff from Lurken on how to put Sweden into the original timelines from a sourcebook he is putting together
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  #41  
Old 11-13-2021, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Yet another Alternate Timeline of the Twilight War

Something else that could prop up the Soviet economy 1980-96, perhaps rising oil prices, rather than declining. I read that somewhere else that the Soviets lost a lot of ground when they couldn't profit from oil/gas exporting.
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Old 11-13-2021, 05:15 PM
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Default Meanwhile, over in *my* 1998 Soviet invasion of Sweden

It just struck me that if I'm dragging the US Marines into Sweden as an assist to the Swedes, why not bring the 6th US LID? They'd just left Norway the previous autumn, and would be an easier lift from Germany. I suspect they might be better suited to the northern climate and mountains, too. (Though, they would be just as fine in the Alps, as RAW.)
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Old 11-13-2021, 08:10 PM
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Default Light Fighters

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It just struck me that if I'm dragging the US Marines into Sweden as an assist to the Swedes, why not bring the 6th US LID? They'd just left Norway the previous autumn, and would be an easier lift from Germany. I suspect they might be better suited to the northern climate and mountains, too. (Though, they would be just as fine in the Alps, as RAW.)
Good call. I agree that light infantry units would be better suited to most of Scandinavia than mechanized infantry.

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Old 11-15-2021, 07:52 PM
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Default Corroboration

I came across these resources while doing some research on Cold War Soviet strategy re nominally neutral Finland and Sweden.

https://www.marines.mil/portals/1/Pu...-11-163241-220

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/ran...2007/R3776.pdf

An assessment of Soviet military intentions re Sweden during the last two decades of the Cold War begins on p. 42 (p. 56 of the PDF).

Both studies conclude that the Soviets had strategic motives for mounting a preemptive strike against either or both neutral Scandinavian countries in the event of an imminent, wider European war v. NATO.

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  #45  
Old 12-04-2021, 11:35 PM
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Default Still flogging this idea

I spent some time on this tonight, and can summarize the early 2000 positions:

Soviets: south of Stockholm and Lake Malaren, south to Norrkoping and Linkoping:
9th Guards Army: 1st GMRD, 3rd MRD, 138th MRD; undefined supporting units
76th Guards air-assault division, Baltic Fleet's Naval Infantry Brigade, some spetsnaz survivors.
- way up around Kiruna: 64th MRD, with a very tenuous command link to 26th Corps and the Arctic Front around Murmansk.


US: 6th Light Division, around Orebro, with its left flank anchored on Lake Malaren.
42nd Infantry Division, south of them, in contact with Soviets near Askersund.
76th and 80th Light Infantry Divisions spread across southern Sweden between the Lakes Vanern and Vattern, all the way back to the coast around Goteborg. Since IMO the IV Corps deployed without a lot of the normal support and service units, these lightly-armed troops have been converted into service to do a lot of these things: signals, supply, transport, etc., in addition to a lot of patrolling and garrison of a region filled with refugees from the cities, as well as Denmark and even Germany.

2nd Marine Division and the air and support elements of II MEF, on the Swedish coast south of Vastervik.
I figure there's also a sizable US Navy element, both beached sailors performing support duties, and running boats on the many lakes and connecting rivers, and an amphibious force with at least a little escort, for the Marines (leaving in summer for the Polish coast).

NATO: still not decided here, maybe the Canadian 4th Brigade alongside the US 42nd Division's right?

Swedish, still pretty vague: 5 "North" brigades watching the 64th from the south and west.
approximately 6 reduced-strength brigades spaced out between there and the Dal River, 6 more between the Dal River and Lake Malaren, 6 spaced around the Soviet lodgment, perhaps separating the two American forces, and 6 more patrolling the heavily populated area south of the front line, all the way to the southern tip of the country.

Questions for all:
1. Anyone have OBs for Swedish brigades? I don't seem to have any.

2. Since the Soviet divisions are Category 2 or lower, I'm thinking their tanks and other heavy stuff won't be the most modern. Someone told me (on Facebook, I think?) that Soviet amphibious lift could only handle T-55s. While most of the shipping for the non-naval infantry would be heavier than the amphibious craft, this being a secondary theater with limited lines of communications back home, it seems like a good enough reason for Soviet leadership to foist crappier equipment on these guys. Anyone have a serious argument with equipping the 3 divisions with T-55 as MBTs? Or should I "splurge" and make them T-62s. Having them all with the same tank (and BTR 152, etc.) would simplify the logistics, and we all know the Sovs love to simplify, right?
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Old 12-05-2021, 09:28 AM
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1. Anyone have OBs for Swedish brigades? I don't seem to have any.
This was put together by a wargamer. I don't know what sources he based it on, but it sure looks nice.

https://www.fireandfury.com/orbats/modcwsweden.pdf

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2. Since the Soviet divisions are Category 2 or lower, I'm thinking their tanks and other heavy stuff won't be the most modern. Someone told me (on Facebook, I think?) that Soviet amphibious lift could only handle T-55s.
I don't think that's true. Soviet Naval Infantry regimental ORBATs list T-55s and T-72s for their tank battalions as far back as the mid-1980s (I was just looking at Osprey's Warsaw Pact Elite Forces last night). Also, I've seen plenty of photos of T-72s unloading from Zubr and Aist-class assault LCACs.

Keep in mind that, according to Soviet operational doctrine, the Naval Infantry were only really supposed to seize the beachhead for heavier follow on forces (from the army).

Soviet RORO ships (or equivalent) were intended to deliver heavy units (motor rifles and tank) divisions once a suitable harbor/port had been secured by the "marines". Those civilian merchant vessels could carry anything in the Soviet arsenal, so don't let your equipment choices be limited by shipping capabilities.

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Last edited by Raellus; 12-05-2021 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:32 PM
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THat's kind of what I thought. Since they are lower-readiness divisions, I might still stick 'em with T-62s for uniformity.
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