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  #151  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:38 AM
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ChalkLine ChalkLine is offline
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Updating the BTR-40 and the BTR-152.

The soviets seemed to have this obsessive aversion to throwing anything away.
It’s well known that right up to the dissolution the USSR and the rest of the Warsaw Pact hoarded oodles of 1950s equipment due to their belief that if the west started a war it would be a strategic war, and the only way to outlast the west was to have stockpiles of marginally useful gear that would still act as a decent force multiplier in a late war scenario. As such they doggedly hung on to crap like T-34s which really just took up storage space. However, in the Twilight War this logistical strategy would probably have paid off to some degree.
Also, those Lo-Tek objects made good sales to foreign clients as they tended to rugged simplicity bordering on the primitive.
However, as everyone knows if you create a whole organisation to do something that organisation will usually expend a lot of time and effort to both justify its existence and to try and enlarge its budget. It seems this depot organisation was no different. Copious plans were created on how to implement the old junk into the by now very different army. I found this interesting on how they saw the BTR-40 and the BTR-152.

These two complimentary vehicles were simply armoured trucks. Open roofed, all wheel drive the BTR-40 was an armoured GAZ-63 4x4 truck and the BTR-152 was an armoured ZIL-157 truck. Not even the Soviet Union hung onto those prehistoric bangers so if the ancient BTRs did get taken out of storage they’d have had very little in the way of spares support, making them useless.

It appears in typical Soviet bloody-mindedness this had been a consideration in truck design. It makes you wonder what a guy putting together a new truck thought when he read through the regs that demanded any future truck chassis must fit under those ancient APCs.
However, it seems to be the case. The BTR-40 will fit over the modern GAZ-3309 and the BTR-152 fits over the ZIL-131.
Modern Russian truck designers must be a far happier breed.
So, what does this mean?
Well, it depends on your campaign and how much you want to bother with this stuff. But here’s my stats for an out-of-the-depot BTR-40M and a BTR-152VM

BTR-40 (Original Vehicle)
Mass 5.3 tonnes
Crew 2 + 8 passengers (2+6 for the roofed BTR-40V)
Armour 6-8 mm
Main armament 7.62 SGMB MMG (1,250 rounds (total)) (optional)
Secondary armament 2×7.62 SGMB MMG (1,250 rounds (total)) (optional)
Engine 6-cylinder GAZ-40
80 hp (60 kW) at 3,400 rpm
Power/weight 15.1 hp/tonne (11.3 kW/tonne)
Suspension 4x4 wheel, leaf spring
Ground clearance 400 mm
Fuel capacity 122 L
Operational range 430 km (road) 385 km (cross country)
Maximum speed 80 km/h

BTR-40M (Twilight 2000 Vehicle)
Mass 4.0 tonnes (1.3 tonnes lighter)
Crew 2 + 8 passengers (2+6 for the roofed BTR-40V)
Armour 6-8 mm
Main armament 7.62mm PKM GPMG (1,250 rounds (total)) (optional)
Secondary armament 2×7.62mm PKM GPMG (1,250 rounds (total)) (optional)
Engine V8 gasoline (carburetor) ZIL-130
150 hp (111.8 kW) at 3,400 rpm
Power/weight 37.5 hp/tonne (27.9 kW/tonne)
Suspension 4x4 wheel, semi-elliptical springs
Ground clearance 400 mm
Fuel capacity 2x173.1 L
Operational range 1000 km (road) 800 km (cross country)
Maximum speed 95 km/h
And like the new BTR-152VM it gets power steering.

BTR-152V (Original Vehicle)
Mass 10.2 tonnes
Armour welded steel 15 mm front, 9 mm sides and rear, 10 mm roof(if present), 4 mm bottom
Main armament 7.62mm SGMB MMG (1,250 rounds) or 12.7mm DShK 1938/46 HMG (500 rounds)
Secondary armament 2×7.62mm SGMB MMG (1,250–1,750 rounds) on side pintle mounts (optional)
Engine ZIL-137K 6-cylinder in-line petrol, 107 hp (80 kW)
Power/weight 10.8 hp/tonne (8.1 kW/tonne)
Suspension wheeled 6×6 leaf spring
Ground clearance 300 mm
Fuel capacity 300 L
Operational range 650 km
Maximum speed 65 km/h

BTR-152VM (Twilight 2000 Vehicle)
Mass 9.91 tonnes
Armour welded steel 15 mm front, 9 mm sides and rear, 10 mm roof(if present), 4 mm bottom
Main armament 7.62mm PKM GPMG (1,250 rounds) or 12.7mm NSV HMG (500 rounds)
Secondary armament 2×7.62mm PKM GPMG (1,250–1,750 rounds) on side pintle mounts (optional)
Engine ZIL-137K 6-cylinder in-line petrol, 123 hp (92 kW)
Power/weight 12.4 hp/tonne (9.3 kW/tonne)
Suspension wheeled 6×6 leaf spring
Ground clearance 300 mm
Fuel capacity 105 L x2
Operational range 795 km
Maximum speed 80 km/h

Note that as far as I know none of these conversions have ever been done so this is all rough calculation on the difference between the base trucks and the modern trucks.
These things of course are pretty much useless as APCs but they make very good trucks for hauling crap, being a tad more survivable than base truck and giving protection to the cargo unlike up-armoured modern cargo haulers. Slat armour and applique armour are possible but probably useless, especially for the BTR-40 which doesn’t have the base armour to survive an even diffused jet from a tiny HEAT warhead. You pay for this by they being an utter bear to load, unload and secure your gear.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 09-23-2021 at 10:43 AM.
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  #152  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:39 AM
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Dug-In Tanks.

Not the field expedient positions, but rather tanks emplaced permanently.
Probably a common encounter in the Twilight War's latter stages, dug-in tank emplacements can be used to dominate a sector. However forgoing mobility for whatever reason, usually because the vehicle has lost whatever mobility it had, means that several steps have to be taken to ensure its combat effectiveness.

Firstly, siting the vehicle needs careful thought and consideration of not just the surrounding terrain but also of the local area where artillery may set up to engage the emplacement. This has to be balanced with the problem of getting the vehicle to the site, it's not easy to drag a 68 ton monster into a swamp for instance.

Secondly, the vehicle needs extra protection. Firstly this is done by terrain, ensuring the vehicle can only approached from one direction and orientating the hull towards it. Secondly add-on armour is established with overhead protection often emplaced for smaller vehicles and applique armour and stand off armour for larger vehicles. Burster layers should be emplaced in the terrain around the buried hull to break up long rod penetrators. Slat armour might be attached to the turret and even armour plates attached frontally with a counterweight on the rear of the turret.

If the emplacement is just a turret on top of a bunker then it can take any shape from the small to the very large. An abandoned hull, nearly always with the engine, transmission, suspension and running gear removed, can use the vacant engine bay as not only a protected shelter but also this can be opened up to provide access to the turret. This can also be the route that connects the turret to the rest of the fortification works.

These emplacements are usually not isolated, an infantry detachment with some sort of limited mobility is needed to cover it and stop the position being engaged from multiple directions simultaneously. Infantry shelters and fighting positions hardened against artillery should cover the flanks and rear. Telephone wire should be buried at least a metre below the ground between all positions.

The mobile reserve should be used to develop flanking counter attacks in conjunction with organic and higher echelon artillery.

Dealing with this sort of position can call on more than just skills for players, it takes clear tactical thinking and a weighing of assets against results. it can be a hard, wheeling fight just to get into a position to launch an ATGM against the site (a Cold War estimate was that the maximum engagement range in Poland would be 1,300m in Poland, even less in Germany and basically point blank in places like the Fulda area).

If the position has to be abandoned usually the emplaced turret will be destroyed. The most common way of doing this without explosives it to, after an emergency strip of systems, drain the recuperator fluid and remote fire the gun, demolishing the recoil system and the cannon trunnions and making it a write-off.

These positions work well as barrier guards and were commonly used by the USSR to cover river crossings.
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  #153  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:40 AM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Default Other Equipment for Tractors

Other very important attachments for tractors include

Moldboard or Ripper Plows: These are used for turning fields. These are described by the number of plow blades they have and those plow blades are called "bottoms." So a "four bottom plow" will have four blades and plow 4 furrows in a single pass. If the plow is pulled by a tractor, there is a general rule of thumb that you need 20 horsepower per bottom on a modern plow. Amish mechanically articulated plows normally require 1 draft horse per bottom. The largest plow I've ever seen is a 12-bottom plow. It required 250 horsepower and 4 wheel drive to plow with.

Diskers: These are plows designed to cut furrows into FINE particulate dirt (like sand). They are described just like the plows above according to the number of "bottoms" they can plow in a single pass. The rule of thumb is 10 horsepower per bottom on diskers.

Hay Rakes: These spinning wheel-type implements will gather hay into long rows so you can bale it. They require 25 horsepower to work efficiently.

Threshers: An Amish mechanical implement that cuts a 4 to 6 foot swath of hay or grass in a single pass. Powered by one horse, this system just drops the hay where you cut it without gathering it into a long line.

Round and Square Balers: These machines take a variable amount of horsepower based on the machine. On average, you will need...
70-pound square bale = 30 horsepower
140-pound square bale = 50 horsepower
600-pound round bale = 75 horsepower
1200-pound round bale = 100 horsepower

Combines: While these can be purchased as "stand-alone machines," they can also be bought as attachments. Their horsepower requirements are the same as the Balers above. Most towed combines will NOT separate the crop from the chaff (most self-contained combines WILL separate edibles from waste chaff AND dump said chaff back on the field as mulched waste for "seasoning" the field for its next planting).

Claw Buckets & Hoes: By giving these devices a "claw" or "thumb" (for hoes), you greatly expand what can be picked up from pipe to logs to brush. Horsepower requirements vary with the size of the bucket (in yards) and you will need a TRIPLE HYDRAULIC connection.

Brush Hogs: These specialized heavy-duty cutting blades can be used to clear undergrowth and even cut down small trees. Its cousin the articulated saw can cut down trees or buck (delimb) timber. Horsepower varies with size. Hydraulically run versions require a DUAL HYDRAULIC system.

Sprayer Attachment: This towed rig can be used to spray pesticides, lay out nitrogen fertilizer, or even for decontamination of surfaces. Small sprayers will require about 20 horsepower.

Every attachment here has a horse-drawn counterpart used by homesteaders and the Amish to farm with. There are also tractor-drawn Mechanical Implements (the term for Implements powered by their own movement).
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  #154  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:40 AM
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Warsawa.

Some time back I was getting a Ruins of Warsaw play-by-post off the ground before my health suddenly deteriorated. As that game will probably never be run as it looks like I'm not getting better I thought I might share my campaign ideas with you.

In this re-imagining the setting reflected modern conflicts more than the set piece marauder force fight in the book. I actually like the original but the aim for my game was different, the players would have to navigate the shifting loyalties of the factions and aid the leaders to maintain their forces and hold the enemy off. In the battle the real enemy was winter, if the 'good side' can maintain its food stocks until the onset of winter the other side will collapse.
The problem is that rather than some cartoonish 'Black Baron' the enemy was a shifting coalition of bandit forces all representing themselves as freedom fighters. In some cases they probably even believed it to be true. They had shifting names that translated to things such as “The Polish Democratic Army” or “The Masurian Independence Movement” that split and combined much like in The Spanish Civil War. Of course, deep down they were robbers, murderers and thugs who used violence and terror to achieve their aims.

As such the urban "Rattenkireg" was supplemented by constant attempts to woo troops and settlements from one side to the other. If the player's side lost too many settlements either through military action or desertion they were doomed.

The overwhelming problem here is "The Prisoner's Dilemma". Simply put, this is a case where you have to decide if you can trust others not to betray you first. If a settlement with all its petty human jealousies, resentments and fears starts to think that the settlement over the river is going over to the other side to combine against them then they start to think they'd better do it first. Even though they knew the enemy was frankly evil the worry is do you risk your people fighting a losing battle or join the winning side, keep your heads down and hope you come out all right? Especially when it’s shown the enemy has absolutely no mercy for those who oppose them (the opening scene was them shooting women and children who were fleeing).

The campaign was going to be much larger. For some reason the original setting was set smack-bang right in the centre of the three nuclear strikes. In this game the settlements were larger with a larger area of no-man's land between them. Warsawa is an amazing city with some fascinating and varied areas and I wanted to take advantage of them such as the old 19th century fortifications, the river itself, the vital few remaining bridges.

The world was going to transformed, not just by the horrific nuclear strikes but primarily by the long Siege of Warsaw that receded it. The groundwater was not safe to drink and standing water had to be avoided as it was still contaminated by the extensive use of chemical weapons, these weapons being ideally suited for sieges. The terrain was a mix of The Battle of Stalingrad and The Battle of Berlin and these two battles were going to be borrowed from heavily for ideas. For instance I was going to have The Warsaw Metro expanded before the war and considerable fighting was going to down there in its dry, semi-flooded and flooded sections. Some of these sections were struck by bunker-busting munitions.

Koronev's 10th Guards were a wild card. Riffing on GDW’s description I had them as ultra-idealistic deserters such as the men of the Kronstadt Rebellion in 1917. Still communist, they were firmly convinced they were going back to make a non-Leninist Svoiet Russia (there were all probably going to get killed). One groups was going to be a women’s detachment that the friendly Russians would tell the players not to approach them; “Don’t go over there tovaritchse, that is the where the girls are camped and they are, shall we say, a bit politically enthusiastic”. However they were going to be fanatical fighters.

The Russians had the same problem the players and the other nationalities had; the Poles loathed them. While the Poles have always hated Russians, no matter how well disposed the Warsovians were to the West before the war they’ve been shelled, gassed and nuked by those they thought were coming to their aid and now the Poles in Warsawa have a visceral hatred of them. This hatred extended to every non-Pole, the Poles just want everyone out of Poland and for them to stay out. Weirdly enough given historical animosity, it’s well known in Warsawa that the Germans never wanted to enter Poland and only did so under extreme pressure, they’re tolerated the best of the NATO crowd. Similarly the other Warsaw Pact troops are also tolerated better/ The primary goal of the entire game was to win the trust of these understandably bitter people. This was to start with them intervening in a massacre and develop as the suspicious Poles overcame their dislike.

There was to be a gaggle of forlorn, lost non-Russian Warsaw Pact elements in among the defenders. Some examples were the always cheerful Hungarians who would come up with wildly improbably ideas on how to get home (“let’s build a dirigible!”) as a way of keeping their morale up. The East German sniper team who forlornly knew they could never go home as they were traitors to their homeland. The squabbling Yugoslavians (in my campaign Yugoslavia doesn’t entirely fragment and the Soviets have some units of them and their unique kit) who instantly close ranks any time any of them are threatened and a few others.

Anyway, that’s what was in the cards. It was a big campaign with no set ending or course, it was going to be largely left up to the players.

10th Guards Equipment

245 troops
6 SA-7/16/18 MANPAD
3 RPG-7V
3 BTR-80
12 UAZ-469
9 GAZ-66
1 URAL (Command Van)
1 ZIL-131 (Maintenance Truck)
4 KRaZ/Ural truck
12 Ural (Command)
2 UAZ-452 Bukhanka Van
1 POL Truck
1 UAZ-452A Bukhanka Ambulance
2 GAZ-24-10 "Volga" Sedan
1 POL Trailer
4 2-axle cargo Trailer
1 1-axle generator Trailer
2 2-axle generator Trailer
1 water Trailer
3 Field Kitchen - Trailer
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  #155  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:41 AM
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Wieger StG-940

Military History Not Visualised has put out a video on a gun I never knew about, the Wieger StG-940.
This was made in East Germany for foreign sales but the also use by the special forces (and the loathed Stasi).
It's an AK-74 melded with a Galil and came in 5.45x39mm and 5.56x45mm.
They were built in their tens of thousands, but about that little is known as it was a secret project as the DDR was "a peaceful country" 🙂
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wieger_StG-940

Here's the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2n4m-UxPSk

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  #156  
Old 09-27-2021, 08:19 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Small Emplacement Excavator

As you've probably noticed by my posts my players usually don't get far before they bog down due to logistics and this usually means some sort of defensive site.

Now, having the players stand forlornly there with a spade and a mattock off the humvee is humorous at first but if you're serious about getting some dirt between you and the incoming supersonics you need machinery.

Here the US Army and the Bundeswehr offers the following:

The Small Emplacement Excavator is a Unimog truck turned into a suspiciously effective front-end loader. Also known as the Unimog 419 (the big engine 'Mog 406 series or the "U-1300L" from Paul Mulcahy's website) but assuming that it only has its external load available. This isn't strictly true, it has its normal cargo bed which you can dump stuff in but its normal load weight is used up by the digging equipment limiting that greatly.

The digging gear can be removed in one period and stored, only using up 750kg of its 2,250kg load with the attachments and making it an awesome truck again. You can even use the digging arm as a light crane by slinging a chain off the knuckle.

Honestly, there's so much to love about 'Mogs although they have been known to roll over.

Price: $7,500 S/- (the WarPact have their own versions)
http://www.military-today.com/engineering/see.htm
http://www.pmulcahy.com/light_uv/german_luv.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unimog#Variants



Unimogs are standard issue for ALL US petroleum [logistics] units and are used to emplace the FFSSP (Forward Fuel System Supply Point) or "lego petroleum" as we called it (a system of easily emplaced rubber hosing, pumps, and rubber fuel bladders up to 500k gallons in size). Unimogs dig the ditches that hold the rubber hoses which run from the fuel bladders to the pumping station. Move palletized pumps and fuel bladders and build fighting positions to protect the FFSSP. The 475th Quartermaster Unit in Meadville PA had 8 Unimogs in their TO&E. The Unimogs can also attach grapples (for hauling pipe for the Theater Petroleum Supply System's aluminum 20-foot pipe sections) or put on fully articulated forks. In addition to the articulated forks, fixed fork extensions can attach to the bottom of the bucket while the bucket is still attached. They aren't as "nimble" as articulated forks, but they allow you to pick up small loads without removing the bucket. The Unimog comes with a Triple Hydraulic attachment system to expand the number of possible attachments. The bucket/grapple/forks can be taken off in 5 minutes (the one period time is to remove the hydraulically operated arms or the entire backhoe, not just a bucket). The bed is a tilt-bed on US models and can be locked out when the hoe is mounted. With the hoe removed, you now have a dump trailer/bed holding 2 cubic yards of material.
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  #157  
Old 10-06-2021, 08:27 AM
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I always liked how The Morrow Project bit the bullet and created vehicle's load-outs for their vehicles. I get the sneaking feeling that the standard Twilight 2000 'all the stuff on the vehicles has been lost' was just a cop-out.
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  #158  
Old 10-07-2021, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by karannsharmaa2 View Post
I always liked how The Morrow Project bit the bullet and created vehicle's load-outs for their vehicles. I get the sneaking feeling that the standard Twilight 2000 'all the stuff on the vehicles has been lost' was just a cop-out.
Sneaky sneaky spammer

https://forum.juhlin.com/showpost.ph...81&postcount=8

They take an older post and copy it to make it look like it belongs. Then later they alter their sig and profile to add links (cross links used to be really important to google rankings)

Saw the poster register from Pakistan (know spammer source) but for a second I thought we might actually have a user from there.
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  #159  
Old 11-26-2021, 11:39 PM
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A note for gamers.

The load weight given for trucks are the loads allowable for good sealed roads.
Usually an off-road truck can carry nowhere near what it is capable of carrying on a modern road. The standard formula is:

Truck Off-Road Load Limit
Maximum Load: (0.7 x Road Load Limit)


Thus a 5,000kg truck is only capable of shifting 3,500kg off-road. Even then you are making your tasks harder, I think anything over half that weight should increase tasks by one level and also increase risks by a level by which I mean obstructions or obstacles that wouldn't bother a lightly-laden truck suddenly become a problem.

Note that is applies to High Mobility trucks, normal road trucks probably can't take any load off-road and probably can't take themselves off-road. Their suspension is set up wrong, they don't have the ground clearance or ramp break-over clearance.

A little side note, usually we all like to get a winch on game trucks. Really, these aren't always a good idea. A PTO winch really needs to be set low or it simply lifts a load rather than drags it and this means you lose ground clearance. It's up to the individual player or GM if they want to role play that out.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 11-27-2021 at 12:20 AM.
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  #160  
Old 11-28-2021, 12:43 AM
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What happens to the Polish Non-Combatants?

In previous posts I've discussed how the Polish People's Party subscribed to the 'people's war' concept so the 'civilians' you see in the standard Twilight 2000 setting really aren't a thing, instead they are either in the disaster relief services or TKO. Essential workers if displaced from their workplaces either join these organisations or are moved away with their industries if possible (more on that below).

This asks the question: what happens to those people who aren't in those categories?

Well, first off, who are we talking about; children, the elderly and their carers are the main group.

These people were in the case of an invasion to be evacuated immediately beyond the Vistula Line, the official WTO red line for nuclear warfare. From what little I've read in the sources they were to be evacuated along the three major rail links, two through the Baltic states and one through Ukraine. Transit camps were to be erected by the OP outside the 'military radius' of these transit hubs. While the idea of this radius is obvious; they were not in danger of being struck by strategic strikes against these hubs, the actual radii weren't given or what the perceived threat was. Perhaps they had a few pre-planned areas depending on how far the war had progressed towards the nuclear stage but really I'm just guessing. Poland, being a communist state, had a plan for everything and school and state busses seem to be the primary method of mobility.

On a simple materiel in/refugee out system the people move through the transit hubs, along the rail lines and out to other states. Now as I only read the CIA Polish civil defence briefings I don't know where they go or what happens when they get there. It's my guess large camps are built by the civil defence of the host states and eastern bloc international support systems were worked out. I'm guessing these camps wouldn't be that far from Poland, probably still within the transit states but really they could be anywhere.

Of course, this is a best case scenario. As we all know those hubs were primary targets. The Poles, not being idiots, had decided on alternate land routes for the above-mentioned busses off the main supply routes. You can only guess what that trip would be like. Of course there'd have to be a fleet of logistics vehicles accompanying them and I'm guessing they'd be sourced from state government but non-combat fleets. No doubt these would get a brisk green paint job and be sent straight back into the war.

Now, the essential workers are really two types and they are simply those who can be relocated and those who can't. This isn't covered in any cursory search of courses but I'm guessing that as the fighting intensified after the initial WTO counter-thrust they'd be pulling up every military factory possible and shipping it as far away from the strike aircraft. GMs can use this hypothetical scenario for two sources; Poles returning home from factories and continued usage of the nifty Polish military equipment.
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Old 11-30-2021, 07:58 PM
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A Third Echelon Campaign

In most games the players get the gee-whiz stuff at the very start and it slowly degrades during the game. Little by little, they start to pick up AKMs for the ammo, shoot off their 40mms and so on.

But in this style campaign the players starts off with real last-ditch stuff, not even Vietnam-era body armour. 1950s webbing, old style uniforms, weapons two generations out of date and so on. A hardcore GM will make their equipment and weaponry actually a severe disadvantage so the players have a strong incentive to scrounge, loot and cobble together more modern gear that’s more effective. The vehicles are clapped out old horrors that should really be in the back lot of a museum awaiting restoration. Even horses should be scruffy old nags. Worse, it could be cheap repurposed civilian gear that rapidly falls to bits.

The main challenge in this is letting the players get access to their own side’s equipment. Unless you want them indistinguishable from the enemy in a short spate of time you need to let them find out where stuff they can use is. It also really kicks up the trading aspect of the game.

This by definition is a lean campaign. I’m usually of the opinion that the enemy simply don’t engage if possible if they're down to their last magazine because really by then you’re combat ineffective, but in this style game everyone is short of everything and the players should not be able to pick up four magazines off a fallen enemy. Usually loot should be in the order or a dozen rounds, and I’d bump the combat difficulties up so there’s a lot more shots per hit than there is now (T2K, and all modern games, makes it far too easy to hit in a firefight).
How about playing Soviet characters from one of the mobilization divisions then that were basically equipped with WWII/Korean War era equipment - i.e. old T-34/85's for tanks, WWII rifles and submachine guns, etc.. - given how the Soviets basically never threw anything away that would be a great way to introduce something like what you described above

Love to see the PPSh-41 and PPS-43 as part of their equipment
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Old 11-30-2021, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ChalkLine View Post
What happens to the Polish Non-Combatants?

In previous posts I've discussed how the Polish People's Party subscribed to the 'people's war' concept so the 'civilians' you see in the standard Twilight 2000 setting really aren't a thing, instead they are either in the disaster relief services or TKO. Essential workers if displaced from their workplaces either join these organisations or are moved away with their industries if possible (more on that below).
Interesting musings, as always, Chalkline.

I imagine those plans would fall apart relatively quickly. Many wartime exigencies would interfere with any large scale civilian evac- the use of roads by friendly military units (either heading to or from the front), enemy interdiction by means of airstrikes, long-range artillery, battlefield tactical missiles (with conventional warheads, initially), and or area denial munitions.

Also, I reckon it's likely that resources allocated for evacuations, on paper, would be quickly redirected to service military needs once war breaks out- especially if it doesn't start off so well for the Polish army. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

Lastly, when enemy attackers advance more quickly than expected, the resulting disruption, even carnage, can be severe. This happened to German civilians on both fronts in the final months of WW2. In East Prussia, especially, there are scores of documented reports of T34s machinegunning and even running over columns of civilian evacuees, and Soviet artillery mercilessly shelling same. Sometimes, the identity of the evacuees was unknown to the attacking force- the Germans used the same trains to move troops and civilians back and forth between the front and rear areas- but others it was abundantly clear. This was payback for the way the rampant German military treated civilians in Soviet territory (although this does not justify Soviet vengeance measures, it does explain why they were so callous and widespread).

Lastly, in a country the size of Poland, there's only so many places displaced civilians can go, and really no place that is not within reach of the enemy.

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Old 12-01-2021, 03:50 AM
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How about playing Soviet characters from one of the mobilization divisions then that were basically equipped with WWII/Korean War era equipment - i.e. old T-34/85's for tanks, WWII rifles and submachine guns, etc.. - given how the Soviets basically never threw anything away that would be a great way to introduce something like what you described above

Love to see the PPSh-41 and PPS-43 as part of their equipment
I think that would be a lot of fun. If the GM is careful then he can make modern equipment 'treasure' so the players should be up against essentially militia.
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Old 12-01-2021, 04:01 AM
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Interesting musings, as always, Chalkline.

I imagine those plans would fall apart relatively quickly. Many wartime exigencies would interfere with any large scale civilian evac- the use of roads by friendly military units (either heading to or from the front), enemy interdiction by means of airstrikes, long-range artillery, battlefield tactical missiles (with conventional warheads, initially), and or area denial munitions.

Also, I reckon it's likely that resources allocated for evacuations, on paper, would be quickly redirected to service military needs once war breaks out- especially if it doesn't start off so well for the Polish army. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

Lastly, when enemy attackers advance more quickly than expected, the resulting disruption, even carnage, can be severe. This happened to German civilians on both fronts in the final months of WW2. In East Prussia, especially, there are scores of documented reports of T34s machinegunning and even running over columns of civilian evacuees, and Soviet artillery mercilessly shelling same. Sometimes, the identity of the evacuees was unknown to the attacking force- the Germans used the same trains to move troops and civilians back and forth between the front and rear areas- but others it was abundantly clear. This was payback for the way the rampant German military treated civilians in Soviet territory (although this does not justify Soviet vengeance measures, it does explain why they were so callous and widespread).

Lastly, in a country the size of Poland, there's only so many places displaced civilians can go, and really no place that is not within reach of the enemy.

-
Really, it was never going to work as you said as modern warfare is just too fast. As we've seen with recent conflicts it's really hard to tell apart a civilian convoy escaping or some logistical element removing vital infrastructure. It should be remembered that due to the hostile climate in winter Russian troops move in buses or van-trucks that are difficult to tell apart from civilian elements. There was no satellites, tasking is very much on a "I just saw it, should I shoot it? By the way, everyone's shooting at me so make it quick" situation.

This does give the GM a good way of depopulating areas if they don't want the players inadvertently shooting civilians and the upset this causes. In my games an encounter roll doesn't show you the enemy it just shows the presence of the enemy. I've had whole firefights with players just shooting at muzzle flashes and the enemy doing the same. In situations like this the GM might not want the guy on the Mk19 encountering furtive civvies in the bushes unless he's going for hard pathos.

Those camps should be found on occasion abandoned, reoccupied by some group or even never able to move and simply stranded. I think the civilian element and their role in the game is really underexamined. My players hated the 12th Dresdens in Krakow before they even met them because they encountered the starving refugees they'd excluded from the city as 'unwanted mouths' in camps outside the perimeter.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:12 AM
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Soviet Explosive Reactive Armour of the Cold War

This is an overview. As there's now four standard Twilight 2000 systems and a myriad of conversions I'm putting this up so GMs can think about how Soviet ERA is represented in their games rather than giving rules values.

Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) is now well known but when the last of the GDW Twilight 2000 games were written it was just assumed to be exactly like the Israeli "Blazer" ERA. However the Soviet ERA was fundamentally more effective than NATO believed at the time.

During The Cold War the Western view was that Soviet ERA was a desperate attempt to provide some sort of protection for their comparatively lighter and less armoured MBTs. This was later found to be totally wrong and the ERA packages where the foundation of MBT armour survival systems. In game terms you will not see any vehicle with over 30mm of base amour in the Warsaw pact without ERA and this goes for legacy vehicles dragged out of depots. Yes, you might see a T-34/85 festooned in Kontakt-1.

Once the true nature of WTO ERA packages is understood you can bet your favourite boots that NATO will reverse engineer them. ERA kits for all sorts of WTO ERA will be developed for NATO MBTs. Whether indigenous NATO ERA packages gets to the troops or NATO relies on captured munitions is up to the GM. Other-than-Europe campaigns might have surprises for players when an MBT trundles into view clad in WTO-style ERA.

During the pre-2000 period the following Soviet ERA was available:

4C20 Kontakt-1
4C22 Kontakt-5
4C23 Kaktus
(prototype)

Kontakt-1
4C20 Kontakt-1 was implemented in 1985 and was an interim solution to get ERA onto vehicles before the more mature Kontakt-5 could be implemented. Oddly enough this ERA has soldiered on for really no good reason even after it was superseded in 1989. Vast amounts of this ERA have been manufactured and this may have been because of the late Cold War tensions an urgent need for ERA was felt. As such buckets of this stuff is still around even after being liberally sold off at bargain basement rates.

Each unit of munition is 5.3kg and an entire MBT can have its ERA package installed in two hours by its three man crew. On average the ERA package for an MBT would weigh 1,200kg. Any MBT equipped with Kontakt-1 is a "B Variant". This stuff is enormously resilient, burnt-out MBTs with their entire hull armour destroyed by fire have been seen with their Kontakt-1 packages unharmed.
Due to the dynamics of the Kontakt-1 package the blocks must be installed at a 68º angle. This means that nearly all vehicles require a special underframe to support it and not a bunch of lugs as listed in the rules (a hold over from the early Blazer mounts).

Because Kontakt-1 is so stable it has nearly no effect on kinetic energy rounds, the reason for it being rapidly superseded. The Soviets intended their ERA to work against KE rounds from the very inception of the program and this is why Kontakt-1 can only be considered an interim solution.

Against HEAT Kontakt-1 is very effective.
- 9M113 Konkurs = 86% reduction (MILAN 2 equivalent)
- M72 LAW = 92% reduction
- 9K112 Kobra (125mm) = 58% reduction

For armour reduction Kontakt-5 has an average penetration reduction of 60% for a single-warhead HEAT round

Kontakt-5
4C22 Kontakt-5 is the main level of defence you will see on Cold War MBTs of the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union was very aware that the Nazi German's stinginess in helping their Axis allies equip with modern equipment was one of the factors in their defeat and had plans to equip every MBT in the WTO with this armour package. Kontakt-5 really is the standard for Cold War ERA and was designed to be fielded with a slat armour package covering the rear third of the MBT as had been developed during their Afghanistan experience. The proliferation of NATO 120mm guns hastened the introduction of this munition.
Kontakt-5 was an adjustment to the sensitivity of the installation. It was designed to be immune to strikes of 30mm autocannon yet activate against anything heavier.

Kontakt-5 is heavier than Kontakt-1 and the mass of an MBT's armour package is around 2,000kg. Individual "Dynamic Elements" (blocks) weigh 10.35 kg.

For armour reduction Kontakt-5 has an average penetration reduction of 60% for a single-warhead HEAT round and 20% for a KE round. This values vary as seen with the Kontakt-1 values above. Here is an excerpt of a NATO study from 2007:

Quote:
Jane's International Defense Review 7/2007, pg. 15:

"IMPENETRABLE RUSSIAN TANK ARMOR STANDS UP TO EXAMINATION"

By Richard M. Ogorkiewicz

Claims by NATO testers in the 1990s that the armor of Soviet Cold War tanks was “effectively impenetrable” have been supported by comments made following similar tests in the US.

Speaking at a conference on “The Future of Armored Warfare” in London on the 30th May, IDR's Pentagon correspondent Leland Ness explained that US Army tests involving firing trials on 25 T-72A1 and 12 T-72B1 tanks (each fitted with Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor [ERA]) had confirmed NATO tests done on other former Soviet tanks left behind in Germany after the end of the Cold War. The tests showed that the ERA and composite Armor of the T-72s was incredibly resilient to 1980s NATO anti-tank weapons.

In contrast to the original, or 'light', type of ERA which is effective only against shaped charge jets, the 'heavy' Kontakt-5 ERA is also effective against the long-rod penetrators of APFSDS tank gun projectiles, anti-tank missiles , and anti-armor rotary cannons. Explosive reactive armor was valued by the Soviet Union and its now-independent component states since the 1970s, and almost every tank in the eastern-European military inventory today has either been manufactured to use ERA or had ERA tiles added to it, including even the T-55 and T-62 tanks built forty to fifty years ago, but still used today by reserve units.

The combined protection of the standard armor and the ERA gives the Tanks a level of protection equal to our own. The myth of Soviet inferiority in this sector of arms production that has been perpetuated by the failure of downgraded T-72 export tanks in the Gulf Wars has, finally, been laid to rest. The results of these tests show that if a NATO / Warsaw Pact confrontation had erupted in Europe, the Soviets would have had parity (or perhaps even superiority) in armor ”- US Army Spokesperson at the show."
Kaktus
4C23 Kaktus is the Dissolution Period prototype that led to Relikt ERA, the most modern Russian ERA apart from the little-seen Malakit on the T-14 series. It is not impossible that Relikt was finished if you use a non-standard no-dissolution campaign as it was brought into service in 2006. As such Kaktus was certainly available but issued on a very small scale as it was preferred to wait for Relikt, a Twilight 2000 war would probably change that.

Kaktus has a unique characteristic. Prior to Kaktus all high-efficiency ERA required heavy MBT armour behind it to not only survive the remaining penetrative HEAT jet but also to absorb the shockwave of the ERA itself. Kaktus however can be mounted on light vehicles and the up-armoured versions of the BMP were the primary beneficiary of this ERA. The BMP-3B comes standard with this package. Generally you need at least 20mm of RHA equivalent (don't forget Soviet 550BNA HHA is equivalent to 1.3 times standard RHA) to support this ERA package ruling out the flimsier vehicles such as the poor old PT-76.

Kaktus can be attached at any angle to the vehicle.
The size of the blocks varies so I would simply use Kontakt-5 as a base (10.35kg). As this stuff can go on any vehicle a rough estimate is 2,000kg for an MBT and 1,100kg for a smaller APC/IFV. As usual this includes the slat armour package for the rear third of the vehicle.

It is an extremely effective ERA and is claimed by NII Stali to be 1.9 to 2.0 times the effectiveness of Konatkt-5. For armour reduction Kontakt-5 has an average penetration reduction of 90% for a single-warhead HEAT round and 40% for a KE round.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 12-08-2021 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:31 PM
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(because I think I'm funny. Here's something to bring back those 'good memories')

"Cosmoline" MIL-SPEC Grease (MIL-C-11796C, Class 3)
1.0L Can (1 quart) 0.9kg, $4 V/V
3.8L Can (1 gallon) 3.2kg, $9 V/V
7.6L Can (2 gallons) 6.4kg $16 V/V
11.4L Can (3 gallons) 9.5kg $23 V/V
19.0L Pail (5 gallons)15.9kg $26 V/V
205.0L Drum (54 gallons) 181.4kg $200 V/V
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:46 AM
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Soviet/Russian Vehicle Thermographic Sights

It's well known the Soviets preferred to sink R&D into light intensification rather than thermographic sights before the dissolution of the USSR. The main reason was the resolution of the Gen-1 thermographs; out past a certain range the target appeared as a blob and couldn't be clearly identified and the risk of blue-on-blue was too high for a widely deployed vision system. In this regard Soviet thermographs were slightly inferior in resolution to western variants.

However they did actually mass produce and deploy a system, and this was the Agava-2 Gen-1 thermographic on the command variant of the T-80, the T-80UK, first appearing in 1992 after the dissolution.

What's not widely known is they had a Gen-2 variant, the Agava-M1, ready for widespread fielding in 1995 for general retrofitting. Unlike what you'd expect this had nothing to do with the French systems they were looking at but an in-house model developed from the earlier Agava-2.

However the breakup of the federation and the collapse of the economy meant like so many nascent systems this project was shelved due to being sourced from countries now outside Russia. Once the technology was secured the project was continued on shoestring budget and resurfaced as a retrofit in 2016.

Depending on your backstory this means that Soviet thermographs might now be available for a variety of vehicles, but probably not in any uniform fashion. The first vehicles would be the T-80UKs getting updated and their old Agava-2s bolted onto other vehicles.
Like all thermal sights it's a fairly evident installation being an armoured drum on the top left of the turret possibly allowing players to realise something's up with the vehicle. Small vehicles such as the BMP-1 to -2s, BTRs and BRDM-2s would need them mounted on the hull or a new armoured bulge mounts on the turret top.
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Old 01-14-2022, 09:30 PM
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Government and Law in the Polish People's Republic during the Twilight War

(This is uses the 1st edition timeline rather than the ludicrous 2.2 edition where Germany invades Poland. Again. If you have any doubts about the likelihood of this just ask a German for their opinion of it.
I've covered some of this in prior posts.)


A fundamental paradox of the Eastern Bloc was that even when the USSR began to institute limited reforms the Soviet buffer-states tended to remain rigidly authoritarian due to their unpopular governments. This is an important factor in the makeup of the Polish state during the war.
When the NATO troops cross the Polish frontier the The Polish People's Republic (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa) or PRL, immediately went over to war footing. Martial law was decreed and the system of Wojna Ludowa, or "People's War' was introduced.

People's War is critical to understanding Twilight 2000 Poland.
Under the Wojna Ludowa concept every single citizen works together to repel the invader. The concept of "civilian" disappears and is replaced with either "combatant' or "supporting non-combatant". All personal projects and the tiny Polish private sector is immediately halted and the full weight of the communist state is thrown at the enemy. Any reference to "civilian" in the rules regarding Poland should be ignored, they make no sense unless the individual is 'trapped' behind NATO lines and then they legally under PRL law should attempt to pass through the lines to Polish-held areas to assist the war effort.

The PRL had universal conscription pre-war and any male between 16 and 56 years old is either working in supporting industries or drafted back into the army. Any female between 16 and 56 was expected to take up the support tasks the draftees had to abandon to fight and later would become frontline troops in their own right. Every single non-combatant becomes a member of the OP-PRL or the OTK, the Polish Civil Defence and the Polish Territorial Army respectively. In the case of OTK duties these are off-hours duties such as guarding infrastructure or patrolling facilities and enforcing martial law. All non-combatants are expected to either evacuate the facility along with its infrastructure if the enemy threaten if at all possible and if not they are expected to fight to repel the enemy. Children and the elderly are evacuated to the USSR or the Baltic States if possible or as far east as can be achieved.

The ruling PRL political party, the PZPR, hands over power to the Wojskowa Rada, 'Military Council', or WR, and the civil authorities simply support the war effort. The Milicja Obywatelska, 'Citizen's Militia' (police force), or MO is not conscripted and their paramilitary wing the dreaded Zmotoryzowane Odwody Milicji Obywatelskiej, 'Motorized Reserves of the Citizens' Militia', or ZOMO are used where military police action is required, usually against the PRL's own citizens although they can operate as light motorised infantry in their BTR-60s.

Martial law is onerous. A strict curfew operates between 0600 to 2200 and anyone violating curfew is immediately arrested. "Shooting on sight" is not a phenomenon, authoritarian states respond to crises by becoming even more legalistic if that is possible and instead offenders for any crime appear before military tribunals and are made an example of by long and demeaning trials. Censorship was of course already in place pre-war.

Unless the crime is active treason the usual punishment is harsh forced labour under heavy guard, which is given every licence to mistreat prisoners, while the offender is used as a propaganda exercise. Crimes that are particularly abhorred by the state are avoiding work, hoarding supplies, spreading enemy propaganda (defeatism is later added to this) and smuggling, all of which not only violate martial law but also offend communist ideology and thus incur extra approbation from the authorities. Smuggling is especially heavily policed and deterred as it is considered stealing from the state, the war effort and the people. Note that only East Germany allowed conscientious objectors in the Eastern Bloc, if you can fight and are ordered to you must.

As before the war any right to strike is forbidden and mandatory confiscation of war material is common.

Those convicted of actively aiding and abetting the enemy are stripped of their citizenship, executed by hanging and afterwards placards detailing their crimes are affixed to their publicly displayed bodies and at the place of their crimes. As the military situation deteriorates more capital crimes are added to the list depending on the locality, situation and attitude of the relevant authorities. In the case that too many abettors are captured, say in the case that a NATO canton is overrun and the Polish workers are recovered, then the captives are marched into the Polish hinterland, placed into camps and used for rubble-clearing, demining and UXO clearance while being subject to harsh treatment 'befitting traitors' and enduing re-education. Note that the re-education is undertaken by the civil authorities and their lack of restraint towards political criminals was well known. This system has a powerful deterrent effect.

The PRL steps up its denunciation state. This is a state in which citizens are encouraged to monitor each other and denounce any unpatriotic activity or even conversations. In some places the MO will simply write this off as harmless but in other, especially sensitive areas, the MO will be rigid in its behaviour towards such transgressions. Denunciation states invariably fall prey to civil axe-grinding where petty rivalries can played out by frivolously denouncing rivals. Oddly enough this useless 'noise' can make the secret police less effective as they have trouble discerning real security threats from the backbiting but it can be hell for unpopular community members as they're dragged into the police compound on frequent allegations.

As you can see this means the Poland the players see in the game will be very different than the one depicted in the books. The Poles will ferociously defend their country partly due to innate patriotism but also due to the severe nature of the PRL and its treatment of those who undermine the fight against the invader. Polish Free Legion personnel not only risk themselves but their families who will be arrested, detained, interrogated and probably sent to holding camps in the interim as hostages until the authorities can think of what to do with them. Family members in the army will probably be demoted as untrustworthy, they should have informed on their traitorous relatives in the state's eyes, and in all doubt sent to units where political control is pervasive and rigid.
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Old 01-15-2022, 06:07 PM
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Wow, that’s total national mobilization. With measures like those in place being the domestic norm, I wonder how the poles would view civilian populations in neighboring (western) states?
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:35 PM
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Wow, that’s total national mobilization. With measures like those in place being the domestic norm, I wonder how the poles would view civilian populations in neighboring (western) states?
Well, the weird thing is most people don't realise how the Eastern Bloc and especially the Soviets saw The Cold War.

The Soviets saw the Cold War as essentially a tradition going back to the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War¹, on their side Western aggression never really stopped and the West simply used them to bleed out the Nazis in The Second World War. The Soviets had endured eight million dead and had demanded that Germany be demilitarised (like Austria) but instead the West re-armed them, a serious red line. This is largely due to the fact that for the entire Second World War the Nazis had been saying they'd make peace with the West and then combine with the USA and Britain to crush Bolshevism and as far as they could see this was exactly what was happening. So when the West created NATO it was the sum of all their fears; their view was that the West was going to crush them while they were weak after fighting the Nazis thus the Iron Curtain and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation (fun fact: they called NATO "The North Atlantic Pact" )

So this gives you an idea how they saw Western societies and their peoples as well as their readiness. In Communist perspectives the workers of the West were too fragmented to resist being mobilised for war so mobilisation would only occur on a cost basis but that the West, as usual being suspected of being uncaring of workers lives due to their belief in eternal class war, would use their troops right up the point it looked like the economies would suffer too much.

So in game terms you can expect communists to see the West as eternal enemies, always ready to invade and always trying to undermine their 'perfect system'. Soviet troops especially will be distrustful of British, German and US troops. This is odd because in GDW's game those are the only troops that see combat in Poland so T2K is a worst-case scenario for the Soviets.

¹In Britain's case the antagonism really goes back to the 1820s, something we called The Great Game and something they see as just some sort of weird Russophobia
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:22 PM
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Yep, if you’re sitting on the eastern side of the IGB, or the Oder, T2k looks very much like the west once more taking advantage of a situation to make a land grab/power grab.

Your description really does make Poland sound like a place where there is a “rifle behind every bush”. I don’t imagine the Germans would be seen as anything less than a implacable foe, and US, UK, Danish, and Canadian troops with them would be equally guilty by association.

Kind of makes me wonder how badly the Soviets (supposed allies) behaved to have some Poles and Polish towns become neutral or supportive of NATO troops.
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Old 01-16-2022, 08:28 AM
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The Polish people feared a new partition, yes, but they loathed the Soviet Union, because they saw the Soviet Army as one of occupation. And frankly, that's exactly what it was. The Soviet army was not there to defend Poland, but to create a buffer to secure the USSR. Everyone in the Warsaw Pact knew this, but only two-and-a-half countries made it out of the conundrum that was the Eastern Bloc's fear of being occupied by Soviet armed forces ad perpetuum.

Yugoslavia left the bloc early, when the USSR war still weak. Having liberated itself during the war, Tito wasn't depending on Stalin as much as others. So, when the Soviet leader finally botched his relationship with Tito for good, Tito could leave the Soviet sphere of influence with Western help. Yugoslavia was not as important for the Soviet security cordon and when Stalin died, Khrushchev went for a climate change. So, Yugoslavia was safe.

Albania went second, and the matter is quite complicated, but in the end, Albania wasn't worth any effort and the split became public during the Khrushchev thawing. So the tiny Adriatic state, never having been occupied in the first place, left the Eastern Bloc per se almost quitly.

Next were Hungary and the ČSSR, both failing in their endeavors ultimately. In both cases, however, the enterprise to leave the Soviet zone of influence was almost doomed from the start. Hungary and ČSSR were direct neighbors of the USSR and thus extremely important to the defense of it. Them being part of the Soviet empire was not something that could be discussed. Also, in both cases, the split was to occur on the basis of local leaders aiming at not only leaving the Soviet empire, but also Marxist socialist ideals as preached by the USSR. In both cases, popular revolts were important parts of the political shift, something the Soviets always feared for themselves. So they went down hard on both, Hungary and the ČSSR.

Thus, when Romania aimed at leaving the direct zone of influence and especially occupation by the USSR, their leaders looked at the lessons others had endured and counted two and two together: being a direct neighbor of the USSR, Romania couldn't hope to leave the bloc entirely. But it got rid of occupation quite early. This left being tied militarily to the USSR by means of the Warsaw Pact. This was hardly negotiable, but Romania pulled off to never participate in big exercises and especially not having Soviet troops on its soil.

Romanian leadership had a narrow and slippery path to walk, in order to accomplish that. First of all, any form of official disobedience to Marxist socialist ideals was out of the question. Second, any form of popular unrest was, too. And third, the economy had to provide enough so that the USSR couldn't bully Romania into submission. The latter part worked, thanks to large scale investment into heavy industries, especially steel. This led to considerable fallout as the USSR basically sanctioned Romania, but Romanian leadership cooperated with the West as a consequence.

Romania only barely made it. While the Soviets never set foot into the country militarily, Romania's economy was so desolate and the security apparatus so immense that Romanians struggled probably the most during the fall of the regime in 1989. In the end, Ceaușescu and his wife were the only Eastern Bloc dictators to get killed by their own people for what they had done to their country. However, the killing of the Ceaușescus had profound impact on Erich and Margot Honnecker, the East German counterpart of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu.
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