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Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42» Forums » General

Subject: BT7 fast enough to be worth two wheels? rss

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Colin Raitt
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Well I've just finished scenario 4 The Monsters. The BT7 has been hard done by in my reckoning.




The BT7 is faster than the T34 and Sdkfz251 (45,33 and 32 mph respectively on road, 31,25 and 13 mph off road).

The BT7 has a better power to weight ratio than the T34 and Hanomag (32, 18 and 13 horsepower per ton).

A BT7 just loses to a T34 on ground pressure but both are far better than the Sdkfz 251 (10.7, 9.4 and 17.6 pounds per square inch). Yet it's the T34 and halftrack that get 2 speed wheelies in CoH.

Does that seem fair to you?

Hopefully Uwe will fix it in the second edition.






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James Palmer
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I can't speak for this particular example, but a lot more than just raw mechanical statistics go into these values. How the vehicles were typically used, what kind of training their operators typically had, and other factors go into why they were given the values they were.
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Chuck Meeks
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This a total guess because I have no idea how the designers came up with their data but maybe it takes into account maneuverability and/or vehicle/engine reliability. Just a guess.
 
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Colin Raitt
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My feeling was that soft factors like training and doctrine showed up in activation costs for movement and fire. Morale probably affects squad defense values. Attack values, range and vehicle defense values I thought were decided by hard factors like armour thickness and cross country speed.
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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Setting it at 3 helps to make it feel historically right. T34's rushed German tanks and slugged it out close. Perhaps the BT7 was faster but ask yourself this. If you were in a lightly armored tank would you feel confident to rush in? The crews in T34's felt much more confident in their armor, at least in the early days before the Germans had an answer to the T34 ie the Panther. So as was said mostly Doctrine set this number at 3 and not pure speed statistics, because pure speed statistics does not take into account the human factor. That is how do these crews actually wish to use these things.
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Colin Raitt
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I can see the point of BT7 drivers seeking ways to go slow on the advance. He couldn't be too blatant though as he was stuck in the tank, observed by the commander/gunner and loader. Even if the whole crew were colluding the platoon commander has only 3 other tanks to monitor. The infantry have at least as much to fear in the advance and are expected to repeatedly seek cover increasing the opportunities to delay. A platoon leader with 40 men to watch has a harder job than his tanker colleague yet Russian infantry move as fast as Germans.

Consider also a tactical withdrawal. Even the Russians sometimes ordered a retreat. Fearful of imminent destruction the driver would find every ounce of speed.

The BT7 was called a light cavalry tank by the russians. Not much of a doctrinal barrier to fast movement in the name.

Overall I still want the BT7 to be speedier.
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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For one thing tank crews and commanders had a bit more value to keep alive. High command did not want to throw away these higher trained men on bad doctrine use. So comparing them to regular conscripts and the human waves the Soviets used is a poor comparison. It's not PC to say this I guess, but I believe Stalin deliberately through away the lives of many of his peasants because he wanted to use the war to solve the over population problem. When he complained at the end of the war that his country lost the most in blood and that holding onto eastern Europe was justified due to the price they paid in lost lives was pure misdirection. He ended up getting 2 wishes fulfilled. A culling of the population, and a major land conquest to boot. So the Allies ended up just taking away the land conquest from Germany and handing it over to the Soviets. Sadly ironic isn't it? Who won the war? Why Russia did. All other Allies gained little or nothing.

Anyway, back to topic. I believe giving a BT7 3 hex movement would just allow them to exploit CC much to often. It would probably make them seem to strong in the scenarios. And it would take away from the feel the T34 give us which is a whole lot of CC on German tanks. T34's swarming panzers I can see, but not BT7's so much.
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Marcin Woźniak
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It should rather be speedy 3, with even lighter armor. Light tank crew's only deliverance was speed in overwhelming all-out assault, rushing through and havoc behind enemy lines.
Very similar to light cavalry in previous wars.
And BT-7, though well - armed, were poorly armoured and fast, definitely falling into category of light tank.

They were also to be used on deep thrusts in (planned for late Summer of 1941) offensive through Poland. These thrusts became weak counterattacks, in which Soviets lost twice more tanks than Germans had.

Actually, most of tank early war lossess due to Solonion were 'abandons' due to lack of fuel and/or retreat chaos/ poor morale of RA soldiers. Who rarely decided to ut up a fight against (too brave) German Blitz tactics.

Anyway, equipment AND doctrine would point towards 3, even better than in T34
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Pavlos Germidis
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Aaaah, the BT series !

Having the BT-7 move at the same pace that the T-26 is a bit weird, I admit.

Look at the video below (mind you, sometimes it is speeded up) and see what the little bugger can do.
http://www.crackclan.com/distribution/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19...

The "deep operations" doctrine that lead to the design of the fast tank series (BT) was never really put into use. Instead of raiding the rears of the enemy, the BT was used as a main tank in normal engagements, suffering badly. True.

There are alot of confusing things: the macro-use, the doctrine, the actual employment of the tank in battles and the mechanical capability of the machine. Clearly, the tactical use of a BT rolling alone at high speed would be suicidal -just as it was during 1941. Should it be at the player's discretion to use or not this capability (even to run away, hehe) ?

What were the BT tankers taught then ? Would they behave like the British and their fast cruiser tanks, that would rush forward but then stop completely when under fire ? I would personally use speed to feel safer and present a more difficult target.

My player's opinion: removing the only talent of the BT tank (speeeeed) makes it a tad bland (didn't you all love playing BT-7 in Combat Mission?). I would vote 2 speed -because of maintenance issues and the fact that the BT's hull and fittings and pilot's could hardly withstand a very rough ride.

What was the fastest tank around in ww2 ? Was it the M18 ?
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Marcin Woźniak
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3.7_cm_Pak_36

Right now it's not easy to destroy BT7 with PaK36, but it was designed to destroy those pre-war light tanks, and according to table presented, was deadly efficient in doing so.
Frontal armor of BT7 was 22 mm thick, sides 6 mm which hardly protected from MG close fire. I'd reduce front defence so PaK had at least decent chance of destroying it at maximum distance. But movement 3 would be important. It definitely was 'rush it or die' kind of tank.

Remember, that it is still deadly against infantry, unless attacking close to strong ATG position. Even then, Soviets prepared their mech corpses to attack on narrow fronts, and 200 of those should break even strong position of entire AT battalion entrenched (36 guns); entire German infantry division had 72 such guns (3times 12 in AT companies and one battalion).

BTW, Barbarossa had NO chance of success, given sheer numbers and quality of equipment. Morale and training proved crucial.
I mean, low morale in RA and really good training of lower rank Wehrmacht officers.

BT's were no worse than MOST of German tanks used in Barbarossa. Slightly lighter armor (about 30mm thiock in German Panzers), much stronger gun (45mm had a decent HE - antipersonel capability, and 37mm had really poor - need of direct hit)
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Jesse LeBreton
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MarcinW wrote:
It should rather be speedy 3, with even lighter armor...


As you say if it was made more fragile, then speed 3 would not be such an imbalance. I could live with it.
 
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Marcin Woźniak
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then it would be as it was forged.
Once it is translated to English, I strongly recommend Mark Solonin, Russian contemporary historician and former Soviet officer.
Perfect books, all of them!
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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Thanks for the recommendation, but I would probably never read them because the history books I read are more about the big picture rather than tactical battle stuff. Books like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Richard J. Evans's three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Guns of August, Battle Cry of Freedom, etc. for my modern era interests. But my real favorite is ancient history. Bar non my favorite history book was Hannibal: One Man Against Rome.

So when it comes to nuts and bolts knowledge of things like the armor value of soldiers boot laces I defer to you guys
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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So what would you house rule the new stats to be?

Original: 15/12
New? : 14/12
 
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Marcin Woźniak
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Hey, but Solonin is more about criticizing the system, and propaganda about Eastern Front that set itself deeply inside most of Western historicians books.
Equipment stuff is fascinating, but the rest is where Solonin really shines.
 
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Marcin Woźniak
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I'd go for 13/12 DR, just like with PzIb. The speed should make for it. And if it is standing in the open, it just asks for it.

Cavalry tank it was. Perfect for Blitzkrieg.
 
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Marcin Woźniak
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22mm frontal armor from 100 m could have been pierced even by Boys AT Rifle. or continuous HMG fire.
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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The PzIb is 14/12 at least on page 22 of the reference rules. Perhaps the counter itself is different. I'll look later. 13/12 would place it in the same durability class as halftracks and armored cars. Heck the BA-10 armored car is 15/12. The BT-5 is 14/13. Was the BT-7 that flimsy to justify 13/12? If not and you wanted to make the BT-7 a 13/12 then you would open the door to speculation on many more vehicles. Then you would say to yourself if the BT-7 was 13/12, then surely a halftrack couldn't be 13/12 also. See where this is going? I only scrubbed 1 point off the frontal defense because I don't think there is any room to go lower. Not without putting every other vehicles numbers into question.
 
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uwe eickert
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Hi guys,
I am back from my skiing vacation!
I rated the BT7 in this manner, mainly from historical use accounts. These tanks were vulnerable, had no radio, and only decent commander vision. They were obsolete and the good crews were in possession of the T-34s. The tanks could move fast on paper, but in doctrine, I did not see them used in this way. I have found few accounts where the BT's were 'leading the pack'. Also remember that the BT5's tracks were removed for fast road movement.

As mentioned previously, I tried to rate the units how they were used relatively to other units. In no way should they move as fast as the T-34s (who often led the Soviet charges) or the SdKfz's which were fully in the radio net, coordinated their movements, and were trained for rapid forward deployment from obstacle (or depression) to obstacle. So I stand by this stat unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I have not read through the later posts on the armor yet.

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Marcin Woźniak
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mainly because during Barbarossa only minority of RA fought, the rest being occupied with running away or surrendering. Therefore words as 'doctrine' are irrevelant. Pre-war doctrine was about deep operations, and (through equipment) RA was much better prepared for this then Wehrmacht. Having indestructible infantry tanks (KV1, KV2), main t34 - fast and powerful, light tanks in numbers unimaginable to mortals of their age.
30 mech corps, each of which was supposed to be 1000 tanks (not fully equipped, 27000 produced by January 1941, , just like each of four Panzer Armies used by Wehrmacht.
20000 more tanks Soviets produced each next year until 1945, with less then 5000 tanks ending war
 
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uwe eickert
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Marcin,
So you are saying that the BT-7 should have 2 bonus moves? Or keep them the way they are?
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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Yes that is what he and the OP are suggesting. As long as the BT-7's frontal armor was reduced to 14 it seems to me bumping the BT-7's speed to 3 wouldn't be a game breaker. As they argued it was fragile but way faster than a T34. So to keep it balanced a bump in speed can be offset by a reduction in frontal DR.
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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Pavlos' video link had some stats. If that guys stats were right the BT-7 could go 86km/h! T-34 was what? 40km/h?
 
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uwe eickert
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Those stats are for road movement after its tracks had been removed. And those had to be good road conditions. Even trucks could not travel that fast.
But you all make very good points and I will discuss the change with Pavlos. Thanks for the great input!
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Marcin Woźniak
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Lebatron wrote:
The PzIb is 14/12 at least on page 22 of the reference rules. Perhaps the counter itself is different. I'll look later. 13/12 would place it in the same durability class as halftracks and armored cars. Heck the BA-10 armored car is 15/12. The BT-5 is 14/13. Was the BT-7 that flimsy to justify 13/12? If not and you wanted to make the BT-7 a 13/12 then you would open the door to speculation on many more vehicles. Then you would say to yourself if the BT-7 was 13/12, then surely a halftrack couldn't be 13/12 also. See where this is going? I only scrubbed 1 point off the frontal defense because I don't think there is any room to go lower. Not without putting every other vehicles numbers into question.


halftracks have lower silhouette, actually, and are thus harder to hit. frontal armor is the same.
Early war light tanks WERE that fragile. German Panzer divisions lost only several hundreds of tanks (and not most of them) because they were wreaking havoc BEHIND Polish lines and usually avoiding main infantry force. Handgrenades blast was sometimes enough, and Polish AT, AT Rifles and especially bofors AA were very efficient tank destroyers
 
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