The Let's Play Archive

No Retreat! The Russian Front

by Tevery Best

Part 41: Turn 6 - Soviet Combat Phase

Seeing that the winter is coming to an end, the Red Army commanders decide to change their strategic stance. In the north, their forces redeploy to meet the German threat head-on and present a strong line to any attacker who would attempt a breakthrough. The 3rd Byelorussian now stands in the marshes near Novgorod and over the Volkhov river, while the Crimean secures the very defensible terrain further south.

In the centre, their movements are more conservative. The Central front is prepared to strategically redeploy, while the Southwest takes up positions closer to the enemy advance.

It is in the south that they change their deployments the most. Around Voronezh, they perform a flurry of manoeuvres that bolster their northern flank and prepare a defence in depth of the city. They definitely abandon their attack towards Kharkov and prepare to take a more defensive posture.

Around Stalino, they also prepare a more profound line of defences. The Caucasus front is pulled from Novorossiysk, while the newly deployed N. Caucasus leaves Rostov and heads on to meet the Germans. The Volkhov falls back from the Kharkov offensive and deploys around Stalino. The Stavka also sends the divisions from Moscow into strategic reserve.

(photo courtesy of the Polish Ministry of Defence)

Between the Mosin and the Maxim, the Soviets also had the Degtyaryov's Infantry Machine Gun, or the DP light MG. Developed in the 1920s and accepted into service in 1927, the weapon is one of the most iconic designs of the famous Russian weapon designer Vassily Degtyaryov. Its most remarkable quality was the ease of production and maintenance, with the first designs having less than 80 parts. It was the same philosophy that permeates Russian weapon design to this day, its flagship gun being, of course, the AK-47. The DP was nearly as resistant to outside factors as Kalashnikov's design, with test models still being able to fire after being buried in the sand.

The weapon had its share of flaws, however. The disc-shaped pan magazine (called "proigryvatel" - "gramophone" - by the troops) only housed 47 rounds, which the gun would fire in less than six seconds of continuous shooting, but it was nevertheless big, uncomfortable and heavy. The design of the gun also made it difficult to replace quickly, which really doesn't sound all that well if you remember how often you'd have to do that. The bipod was crappy and would often break off. Like with all machine guns, firing for too long would overheat the barrel and damage it, but unlike most other designs, the DP required a special wrench to replace it. This was problematic in combat situations.

All in all, a reliable and simple weapon, even if uncomfortable. Naturally, it's still used today in many Third World conflicts (Somalia, Syria, anywhere else that you can get your hands on one, especially from Cold War Soviet exports).

Available Cadres: Axis Kampfgruppe 1 (2-3, white strength)

Fangz has told me that he won't place any Target markers, so the question is whether or not Herpicle will want to spend his last card to force a counterblow. If not, the Soviets may detrain their forces as per normal rules.

The deadline for either the regular Combat Phase stuff (if Herpicle orders a CB) or Soviet detrains is Tuesday, January 21, 7 PM GMT.

Soviet card hand: 2
Axis card hand: 1