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Old 07-25-2020, 10:37 AM
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Question Soviet Naval Infantry

In the Soviet Vehicle Guide, four regiments of Naval Infantry are listed. None of those are identified as being based in Sevastopol, or operating anywhere in the Black Sea region during the war.

According to current sources, there were four brigades in the late 1980s, one of which, the 810th, was based in Sevastopol. The existence of a Soviet Naval Infantry unit in the Black Sea region was known (or at least strongly suspected) during the Cold War. Osprey's Warsaw Pact Elite Forces (1985) places an unidentified Guards Naval Infantry Regiment there.

Have any of you seen mention of Soviet Naval Infantry in the Black Sea region during the Twilight War (in any canonical source)?

I suppose the Black Sea-based unit could have been destroyed, or absorbed by another unit, but the SVG usually mentions stuff like that.

Also, aside from the landings in Alaska, does cannon mention any other Soviet amphibious operations anywhere?

Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:52 AM
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IIRC, there was some mention of minor operations in China (the 63rd), and of course, Norway. Other than that, nada. Most of them sat on their arses until Alaska. Though, the 63rd again, was used in Korea? That makes little sense, unless there just wasn't enough lift to get them TO Alaska?
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Old 07-25-2020, 04:00 PM
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IIRC, there was some mention of minor operations in China (the 63rd), and of course, Norway. Other than that, nada. Most of them sat on their arses until Alaska.
Ah yes, how could I forget about Norway? Thanks.

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Though, the 63rd again, was used in Korea? That makes little sense, unless there just wasn't enough lift to get them TO Alaska?
I don't know what the thinking was behind that, but Korea's where the SVG had 'em in 2000, so that's where I put them in the Korean Peninsula Sourcebook.

If the Black Sea-based Naval Infantry Brigade isn't mentioned in canon, I guess that means it's up for grabs.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:08 PM
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It's possible the Osprey book got it wrong (it was written during the cold war) and they mistook an existing unit which had been temporarily deployed there, or they just made an assumption based on what they thought should be there using similar situations elsewhere as a template.
It's also possible the Black Sea unit was only a training unit and stripped for reinforcements later in the war. The weather there allows for year round training in the fundamentals much more so than does postings further north.
As for the 63rd in Korea, it's quite likely there was only limited transportation and escorts available (after all, the last major fleet in being had just been destroyed off Norway), so it's quite likely the 63rd were reassigned to Korea when it became apparent that not only could they not be lifted to Alaska, but the Soviets were having trouble supplying the units they'd already sent. Additionally, it appears they were needed as reinforcements against the US/UN offensive.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post
It's possible the Osprey book got it wrong (it was written during the cold war) and they mistook an existing unit which had been temporarily deployed there, or they just made an assumption based on what they thought should be there using similar situations elsewhere as a template.
Possible, yes, but multiple other, current sources do list a brigade (not a cadre/training unit- that was listed separately) as being in the Black Sea Fleet OOB.

But, in the T2k writers' defense, neither source ('85 Opsrey) or Global Security.org, et al was available when they were writing the various T2k OOBs and campaign/unit histories.

Or, they misplaced it. There were four RL Naval Infantry brigades and the SVG lists four Naval Infantry Regiments so they may have mis-labeled the Black Sea Fleet one and forgotten to fix it. It was a huge project, and minor errors were bound to happen. There are lots of little mistakes like that throughout canon (numbers transposed, units listed as being in two places at the same time- that sort of thing).

Anyway, I'm a big fan of missing units (ie RL units that aren't mentioned in the SVG), so I'm totally cool with it. Missing units allows an aspiring source book author to expand a bit on canon without departing from it. For example, I found two Far East TVD units that the T2k authors missed (or didn't know about, more likely) and, with Marc Miller's permission, incorporated them in Soviet Forces Korea in the KPSB.

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As for the 63rd in Korea, it's quite likely there was only limited transportation and escorts available (after all, the last major fleet in being had just been destroyed off Norway), so it's quite likely the 63rd were reassigned to Korea when it became apparent that not only could they not be lifted to Alaska, but the Soviets were having trouble supplying the units they'd already sent. Additionally, it appears they were needed as reinforcements against the US/UN offensive.
That sounds more than reasonable. Good call.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:47 PM
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Naval Infantry make a bit of sense in Korea anyway. After all, MacArthur used marines at Inchon to good effect, why wouldn't the Soviets/NK's try something similar?
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:07 AM
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And you can always have a few more raised. Never forget, in each of the canon time lines, the Soviets had increasingly been mobilizing for the China War. By time WW3 broke out, all their Cat C forces were either mobilized or were mobilizing and a lot of Reservist had already been called up. By the time NATO was involved, all of their wartime production plans were up and running (but so too was the West's for the most part - either to supply the Chinese or as part of the run-up to full war).

Clearly, GDW did not have EVERY unit accounted for, even US forces are woefully incomplete. For example, there are dozens of brigades of various types not mentioned anywhere. Combat Engineer Brigades and Corp Artillery Brigades are all but ignored. Corps HQ units are barely mentioned, and each US Corps command brings a TON of combat support and fire power to the fight. Same with the Soviets. Also, the Spetsnaz and MVD/KGB units are never really discussed either, which gives any game master wanting to add a lot of a fertile unit territory to mine.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:42 AM
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I don't think it was necessary to include every major unit though, only those in the European theatre the PCs were likely to bump into to begin with. Also, after several years of war, some of those Corps level units may have been broken up and used as replacements further down or permanently assigned at the Divisional, even Brigade or Battalion level as communications became more and more difficult - not much good having a artillery unit for example that can't provide supporting fires because nobody can talk to it, and there's no fuel for them to move into position anyway.
Engineers in my experience are often broken up with component units widely dispersed anyway - they're usually (again, my experience) units for administrative purposes only and very, very rarely come together in one place at the same time.

Worth considering also that the PACT units appear to have taken greater casualties than NATO - Divisional strengths are on the average much lower even though there seems to be more of them. On the other hand they started out with less personnel as well, so perhaps when expressed as a percentage of authorised strength they come out about even...
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:42 AM
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BIG agree there. By 2000, a lot of units have been disbanded and personnel and equipment re-allocated by all militaries.
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Old 07-26-2020, 11:43 AM
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One thing to keep in mind is that Naval Infantry are NOT Marines. In most countries, Marines have a lot more training, from marksmanship to specialized assaults to rearguard actions.

The closest Western approximation to Russian Naval Infantry are the troops who landed on the beaches on D-Day -- they are trained to land on beaches and take objectives, then fight their way in, and some of them has specialist training to allow them to do things like blow wire and blast seawalls and fortifications -- but they are not specially-trained troops like Marines are.
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Old 07-26-2020, 01:00 PM
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Then there is also the Naval Infantry formed from port side personnel and sailors without ships.

Soviets did it in Odessa, Sevastopol, and would have done so again in Murmansk with NATO came closer to them during their offensive.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:05 PM
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These pages might be of interest: -
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2020/0...aval-infantry/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2018/1...hion-vehicles/

The following pages from the same site might also be of use: -
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2015/1...ity-post-wwii/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/1...br-class-lcac/

EDIT: Also found this thesis by USMC Major John Carroll from 1977 about Soviet Naval Infantry, for those who don't mind a deep delve: -
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a047604.pdf

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 07-26-2020 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Adding another link
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:19 AM
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Historically, in the late 80s the Soviet Naval Infantry had the following:

55th Division in Vladivostok (Pacific Fleet)
61st and 175th Brigades and 8th Regiment on the Kola Peninsula. (8th was Mobilization-only and 175th was Category C)
810th Brigade in Sevastapol (Black Sea)
336th Brigade in Kalinigrad (Baltic Fleet)
and two battalions in the Caspian, the 414th and 660th

Additionally, coast defense units (missiles and guns) were under the same command structure within the fleets, and there were small security units (HQ defense and anti-swimmer) and engineer units that were in the naval infantry hierarchy.

The other mention in Canon is in RDF Sourcebook, which lists the 37th Battalion as part of the Caspian Flotilla.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurken View Post
Then there is also the Naval Infantry formed from port side personnel and sailors without ships.

Soviets did it in Odessa, Sevastopol, and would have done so again in Murmansk with NATO came closer to them during their offensive.
I'm working on a history of the Norwegian-Kola campaign and have done exactly that. Division Polyarnyy is rushed to the front, composed of whatever excess naval personnel that could be found ashore in Severomorsk and Murmansk, to stop the NATO advance, especially since the east shore of the Litsa Fjord is a major series of submarine bases.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:02 AM
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I'm working on a history of the Norwegian-Kola campaign and have done exactly that. Division Polyarnyy is rushed to the front, composed of whatever excess naval personnel that could be found ashore in Severomorsk and Murmansk, to stop the NATO advance, especially since the east shore of the Litsa Fjord is a major series of submarine bases.
Exactly why I referred to Murmansk after reading your material =)
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Old 07-30-2020, 07:33 AM
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Keep in mind for improvised units that they would have most likely taken very heavy casualties as they learned to be infantry (i.e. excess ship personnel, maintenance and support units, etc. turned into infantry). All depends on if the Soviets would have had time to train them properly. The Soviets learned that lesson the hard way in WWII when they had to use personnel like that at Riga and Leningrad and Sevastopol.
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Old 07-30-2020, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
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Keep in mind for improvised units that they would have most likely taken very heavy casualties as they learned to be infantry (i.e. excess ship personnel, maintenance and support units, etc. turned into infantry). All depends on if the Soviets would have had time to train them properly. The Soviets learned that lesson the hard way in WWII when they had to use personnel like that at Riga and Leningrad and Sevastopol.
Absolutely! The NATO troops were at the end of a very long supply line and had advanced over 1000km in a matter of weeks through the Arctic night after halting a mechanized invasion while having a naval infantry brigade sitting on the sole overland supply route, so they were far from fresh and full strength themselves. Nonetheless, yes the improvised units took horrendous casualties on par with the improvised/hastily formed units of 50+ years prior!
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
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Then there is also the Naval Infantry formed from port side personnel and sailors without ships.

Soviets did it in Odessa, Sevastopol, and would have done so again in Murmansk with NATO came closer to them during their offensive.
Probably the first example of this in Russia were the sailors from the St Petersburg base who came to the aid of the rebellion that later produced the Soviet Union. Not exactly the same thing, I'll grant you, but along the same lines.
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