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CoH 1946 Addendum

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Red Army (USSR)

The armed forces of a totalitarian communist state, nominally led by Marshal, General Secretary of the VKP(b), Father of the Nations etc. Iosif Stalin, an incredibly ruthless and paranoid, but cold, calculating and charismatic dictator subject to constant deification. Stalin's reforms, at a colossal cost as it may be, turned the Soviet Union into an industrial powerhouse within a decade, and his "Communism in one country" doctrine made it possible to communicate diplomatically with the outside world – pre-Stalin leadership postulated an upcoming global revolution facilitated by the armed forces of the USSR – but his manic purges have wiped out much of the Civil War-era military leadership as well as Soviet veterans of the Spanish Civil War. Understanding how much he weakened his own military forces, Stalin has been banking on his intelligence and diplomatic assets and has spent the last decade placating Hitler and redirecting his attention west until the Soviet mili-tary could recover.

In part thanks to Stalin's patience and relaxation of political repression, and in part thanks to both continuing military cooperation with Germany and lend-lease/theft of modern electronics technolo-gy from the USA, the Soviet military is now dangerously modern, although it still has idiosyncrasies. German experience in developing portable General Purpose Machine Guns has not been successfully adopted, and there is no progress in developing handheld recoilless weaponry or shaped charge weaponry. However, the Reds have had several theorists like Vasily Zhukov prove that modern, mechanized warfare would lead to infantry rarely using individual weaponry in open-terrain engagements, which has led to the beginning of widespread adoption of automatic assault weaponry in place of the venerable 1891-issue bolt-action rifles. Mechanization of infantry and artillery on the other hand, while greatly desired, has proven problematic—significant effort had to be undertaken to at least partially motorize the Army, and the rest (the most) went into tanks, not APCs and SPGs.

In terms of tanks, Soviet armoured forces are, however, par excellence. With the demise of the French design school, Soviet tanks, with their squat profiles and thick and well-sloped soft-alloy armor, outmatch their German equivalents. Their fire control systems leave much to be desired, however, and their guns trade accuracy and rate of fire for a larger bore and a heavier anti-infantry HE shell as dictated by the doctrine of versatility to provide infantry support.

Soviet artillery is mostly towed to cut costs; self-propelled weaponry is restricted to assault gun and tank destroyer roles, which incur a lot more armor. It also trades accuracy for firepower and numbers

Wehrmacht (Germany)

The battle-hardened land military of the expansionist totalitarian national-socialist state that has already forcibly united Europe, oft-referred to as the Nazis even though most of them are not convinced national-socialists (especially the Kriegsmarine – as the Führer puts it, the Kriegsmarine is Communist). A few years of relative calm has helped Nazi Germany consolidate its acquired industrial and technological resources, both through further exploitation of conquered states and technological and economic cooperation with the Soviet Union, a political regime it is supposed to despise.

The Eintausendjähriges Reich is led by Chancellor Adolf Hitler, another moustached dictator with an awe-aspiring pseudonym ("Noble Wolf", compare to the Soviet "Man of Steel") and a bespectacled secret police chief. Somewhat less sane but also less paranoid and possessing greater delusions of grandeur (but his forces did conquer most of Europe, after all), which isn't helped by his comparative lack of military experience (Hitler was a Corporal; Stalin successfully led the First Battle of Tsarytsin, later known as Stalingrad). Hitler is in power partly because of communist meddling – German Bolsheviks (Bolsheviks being a totalitarian branch of communism, hence Bolsheviks by definition obeyed the orders of the VKP(b) out of Moscow) were too busy smearing Social-Democrats (who they recognized as Mensheviks, the other branch of communism; there was also Trotsky's Interbranchism movement) to try and prevent the German National-Socialist Workers' Party from trumping them both

Germany began the WWII in a rather silly state, using its comparatively limited resources to come up with the ad hoc Blitzkrieg approach—but the bulk of its infantry still moved on foot. This has since been mostly rectified via the iconic half-tracks, which also come in a dazzling variety of fire support and logistics models. The dreaded German GPMGs are much lighter and more versatile than their equivalents, and German engineers have made great progress with rocket-propelled shaped-charge anti-tank ordnance. At the same time the average Panzergrenadier now use modern automatic weaponry that at least rivals Russian designs, giving them serious mid-range firepower.

Panzers, on the other hand have changed radically. Half of Abwehr ended up in Strafabteilungen after the exact extent of Soviet armoured superiority was discovered around 1942: even though T-34 tanks had been stationed fifty meters from German forces on the Wotan line since early 1941, they had simply failed to take in account how effective they were until the Finnish came hollering. Finding out the truth caused the entire line of German armour to be slated for replacement with advanced, heavier equivalents that outmatch the Soviet opponents. However, many of them still have familiar weaknesses: larger interiors and poorly sloped armour made of hard but brittle steel are combined with effective but complicated Schachtellaufwerk suspension and bulkier and slightly more flammable gasoline-fed engines (the Germans still prefer their vehicles to be compatible with German-made synthetic petroleum). All in all, their vehicles are slower and more likely to be hit; German engineering also prefers to keep the gearbox in the front of the vehicle, where it is easily damaged and set on fire, and the drive shaft under the floor increases height and causes all turrets to be slightly offset from the centreline. On the other hand, the new Panzers are excellent duellists—the average Kampfwagenkanone is smaller in calibre but with greater muzzle velocity, mated with an excellent gun sight in a tall turret with extensive visibility, and the odd transmission placement helps put the turret in both the geometrical centre and the centre of mass of the tank for better recoil management; hence German armour excels at pounding other tanks to scrap but doesn't have the same explosive blast for anti-infantry combat.

German artillery is numerically inferior to the Soviet walls of cannons, but much of it has been put on wheels, or chassis of older Panzers for greatly enhanced mobility. However, ever since the Turn of the Tide, the original towed artillery has returned to use.

British Commonwealth (Great Britain)

The combined armed forces of the entire British Commonwealth, led by the fiery Sir Winston Churchill, “Bulldog,” and, of course, King Charles. The nation has seen the disastrous consequences of appeasement and the power of the German Blitzkrieg; the nation has endured the unending Battle of Britain and the Italian offensive in North Africa, and has come through wiser and stronger. Churchill has successfully held back the German offensive, and strengthened Britain's will to fight. Now, with the USA completely by their side and several victories already achieved (the most significant being the Italian Armistice), they are now in France and driving towards Paris, and finally, Berlin.

Britain began the war in a sorry state, being just big enough to garrison the entire British Empire, and suffered a disastrous defeat in France; just see what happened at Dunkirk. However, since then, Great Britain is working hard to close the gap with the German military, developing effective infantry-based automatic weaponry and shape-charge anti-tank weapons; the US Lend Lease program has also helped them understand the combat effectiveness of some US weapon designs.

British tanks started the war in two main types: one being the exceptionally mobile and well-armed Cruiser tanks, which had armor made out of cardboard; the other was the exceptionally well-armored Infantry tanks, armed with stubby support cannons and as slow (or even slower) than walking infantry. However, since the Lend Lease program and the rapid evolution of German tanks under the stimulation of Soviet designs, the British have made several advances in their armor design. Newer British tanks combine the mobility and anti-tank firepower of cruiser tanks (or most of it, at least) with the anti-infantry prowess and armor of infantry tanks (or most of it). This has led to designs with above-average mobility and firepower, while armor protection has only been raised to the armor levels of previous-generation infantry tanks (which have all been surpassed by modern mediums). Their heavy tanks sacrifice some mobility for a bit more armor than contemporary German medium tanks.

The British are infamous for their artillery; the 25-prd howitzer has saved their forces from defeat countless times, and while there are self-propelled version to support an armored advance, the majority of their artillery is still towed and set up in emplacements.

American Expeditionary Forces (USA)

Breaking its isolationism since the Lend Lease program, the American Expeditionary Forces are the armed forces that the USA has deployed overseas to aid the Allies. Led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, an elected leader that pulled the nation out of the Great Depression, the USA as a whole is now motivated to fight against the Axis powers. The AEF has participated in Operation Torch and driven the Axis out of North Africa, and has also Invaded Italy and forced the Italians to surrender. Now, they are have braved the English Channel and Operation Overlord, the planned Liberation of France, is underway.

American small-arms has not changed very much from the inter-war period: semi-automatic rifles complemented with automatic rifles and machine guns. However, their development in handheld recoiless and shape-charge weaponry is second to none. Supplying their weapons to many Allied nations under the Lend Lease program has also helped them rack up some experience, and newer, emerging designs are built to correct the deficiencies of previous weapons.

To put it mildly, US tanks were quite silly entering World War 2 (please see the M2 medium, M3 medium, and M6 heavy tanks); since the Lend Lease program and real-world combat experience, that has been rectified. American tanks are built to fight from hull-down positions, packing decent multipurpose (i.e. has decent armor penetration but also have decent HE shells) main guns in turrets with incredibly effective gun mantlets and great gun depression; they sacrifice hull armor and place their turrets slightly in front of the vehicle's center, making it tougher to handle recoil should the vehicle fire its cannon sideways or to the rear.

American artillery is towed, mainly to keep costs low. However, since most development has gone into tanks, US artillery is kept as light as possible; this keeps their artillery mobile, able to be moved by just a few soldiers, yet sacrifices the sheer effectiveness of the contemporary artillery.

National Revolutionary Army (China)

A name bestowed upon the armed forces of the KMT since before the Great War, the National Revolutionary Army has successfully united China under one banner. Afterward, Chiang Kai-shek proceeded to wipe it clean of warlord factions and communists; a crusade that took over ten years and nearly cost him his own life—and his son's. Knowing how much he weakened his forces and also well aware of the wolf at the door (Japan), Chaing Kai-shek spent little over a decade placating Japan and garnering German support. This period, known as the “Golden Decade,” allowed China to build up a large amount of infrastructure and partially modernized the NRA (mostly due to the partially-successful 80 Division plan).

Chinese soldiers, aside from the German-trained divisions, lack the proper weaponry, training, and discipline. Warlord factions have only been recently purged, and most generals are still warlords—only ones that have concieted their armies to Chiang. This has led to the use of fanaticism and asymmetric warfare to make up for it. Only after the USSR lent support have the infantry seen better days.

China lacks tanks, or the industrial basis to produce them. While this has been slightly recitfied by the German-designed plant in Shanghai that license-produced Panzer IIs from 1936-1939, China's armored brigades are essentially non-existent. Only after the USSR lent support have there been Chinese armor fielded in large numbers together.

China's artillery is either towed or move under sheer manpower.

Imperial Japanese Army (Japan)

After the Great Depression wrecked their economy, Japan underwent a military coup that led to the rise in militarism. This is best reflected in their invasion of northeast China in the early 1930s, along with a massive surge of military material development. Japan quickly industrialized, and seeking more resources to satisfy their hungry factories, expanded throughout Asia to get the raw materials they needed. This has led them straight into conflict with China, and later, the rest of the Allies.

The IJA's typical soldier is well-trained and well-motivated. In terms of weaponry, they are well-equipped, if not versatile. More recent developments to counter the ever-improving Allied weaponry has led them to adopt more powerful man-portable anti-tank weapons and led to Japanese use of fanaticism; copying what they had encountered in 1939-China (where soldiers charged at them waving Chinese one-edged scimitars and suicide-bombed tanks) they have begun to cause difficulty for the advancing Allied forces.

The IJA has kept up with tank development, mostly due to the vast amount of land warfare they have seen. While early-war tanks were interwar designs (some with less armor than a civilian truck), they have since evolved to counter the ever-more potent Allied (mostly, Commonwealth) tank designs. They have gone so far as to license-produce the German Tiger tank—outmatched in Europe but still quite devastating in Asia.

Japanese artillery pieces are either towed or mounted on naval vessels for fire support.

Timeline

  • 1938: Germany breaks off Sino-German cooperation, but not before training 40 Divisions and allowing China to license-produce Kar. 98s, MG34s, Sdkfz. 221s, and Panzer IIs.
  • 1939: Japan invades China, and Italy invades Greece.
  • 1940: Germany and Soviet Union conquers Poland. Italy conquers Greece
  • 1941: Germany invades France, Norway, and Balkan sub-continent. Italy invades French North Africa. US begins war preparations.
  • 1942: Germany conquers France, Norway, and Balkan sub-continent. Battle of Britain, British victory. US adopts Lend-Lease program for Britain, Soviet Union, and China. Japan conquers vast majority of China, conquers French Indochina and Hong Kong. Invades Philippines and Malaysian Peninsula. Italy conquers French North Africa and invades British North Africa. Germany forms the Afrika Korps to support Italy. Soviet Union invades Finland. Finnish Transfer of Soviet weapons tanks spurs Germany to develop Tiger and Panther tanks. Soviet Union and China reach an agreement regarding prisoners and military equipment.
  • 1943: Battles of El Alamein, British victory. Germany begins Operation Barbarossa. New Soviet tanks encountered, Germany spurred to develop E-series of tanks. Japan conquers Philippines, Malaysian Peninsula, and Singapore, invades Burma, and bombs Pearl Harbor. US declares war on the Axis. Mitsubishi is licensed to produced Tiger tanks. Fiat is given the license to produce Panther tanks.
  • 1944: US and Britain conduct Operation Torch in North Africa, succeeds in pushing Italy and Germany out of North Africa. Japan conquers Burma, invades Indochina. Battle of Stalingrad, Soviet victory.
  • 1945: Japan conquers Indochina. Allied Invasion of Italy, Italy falls in same year. Battle of Kursk, Soviet victory.
  • 1946: Japan begins invasion of Australia. Allied forces conduct Operation Overlord.

Tank Development

USSR

  • (1941)T-34, original design. Many were used during Operation Barbarossa before the T-43 was fielded in sufficient numbers. Remaining vehicles refurbished and transferred to China.-->(1942)T-43-->(1943, post Operation Barbarossa)T-43U
  • KV-1, used extensively against the Finnish and during Operation Barbarossa, where their armor proved the Germans wrong. Later replaced by IS-2, remaining vehicles refurbished and transferred to China.-->(1943, post Operation Barbarossa)KV-85, as a stopgap against new Tiger and Panther tanks-->(1942, post Invasion of Finland)KV-2, designed to utterly obliterate Finnish positions. Proved extremely effective in clearing large swathes of forest and anything inside as well.
  • (1943, post Operation Barbarossa)IS-1 (IS-85)(prototype only)-->(late 1943)IS-2, designed to counter Tiger and Panther, replaced by IS-3-->(late 1944)IS-3, designed to counter new German E-25 and E-50-->(early 1945)IS-4 (prototype only)-->(mid 1945)IS-6 (prototype only)-->(early 1946) IS-7, designed to counter German E-75 and E-100 tanks.
  • (1940)SU-76-->(1941)SU-76M-->(1942)SU-85, designed to counter the Panzer IV tanks with long barrels, ended up being used against Tigers and Panthers. Used before SU-100s were fielded in sufficient numbers. Remaining vehicles refurbished and transferred to China.-->(1943, post Operation Barbarossa)SU-100, built off of T-43 chassis instead of T-34, sporting D-10T 100mm capable of reliably penetrating Tiger and Panther armor.-->(1944)SU-107, designed to counter new German E-50 tanks.

Germany

  • (1939)Panzer III Ausf. A-G-->(1942)Panzer III Ausf. H. 50mm was discovered to be insufficient to penetrate KV-1 armor. Later discontinued, remaining vehicles converted to StuG III Ausf. G assault guns and/or expended in North Africa.
  • (1939)Panzer IV Ausf. A-F-->(1942)Panzer IV Ausf. G-H. 75mm gun able to counter T-43s, but after encountering T-43Us, deemed inferior and discontinued, remaining vehicles converted to Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz, Jagdpanzer IV, or expended in North Africa.
  • (1942)Panzer VI Tiger: Participated in Operation Barbarossa. After encountering IS-2 tanks, deemed inferior and discontinued, remaining vehicles expended in Eastern Front, Italy, or North Africa. (1943)Mitsubishi begins to license-produce Tiger tanks under the designation Type 6 Tiageru.-->(1943) VK 45.01 (P) (Tiger II) (prototype only)-->(late 1945) Panzer VIII (E-75): Designed to counter IS-3.-->(late 1945) Panzer IX (E-100): Designed to stay one step ahead of Allied tank design.
  • (1942)Panzer V Panther: Participated in Operation Barbarossa. After encountering IS-2 tanks, deemed inferior and discontinued, remaining vehicles expended in Eastern Front, Italy, or North Africa. (1943)Fiat begins to license-produce Panther tanks under the designation P44/43. (1942) Panther II (only prototype)-->(late 1943) Panzer VII (E-50): Designed to counter T-43U and IS-2 tanks. Upgunned to 8.8cm gun in 1945.
  • (1942) Jagdpanzer IV L/70: developed to replace StuG III Ausf. G, to counter T-43U.-->(late 1943) E-25: designed to counter IS-2 tanks, replacing Jagdpanzer IV.-->(1943) Jagdpanther: designed to counter IS-2 tanks, supporting E-25.-->(1946, post IS-7) Jagdpanzer IX (Jagdpanzer E-100): designed to counter IS-7 and all Allied tanks in the foreseeable future.

Britain

  • (1941)Matilda II, struggled against German tanks. Later discontinued after encountering Panzer III Ausf. M and Panzer IV Ausf. F2-H.-->(1942)Churchill Mk. I-III, struggled against German tanks, but its heavy armor made the Flak 36 famous.-->(1942, post Invasion of North Africa)Churchill Mk. IV, armed with 6prd, effective against Panzer IVs, ineffective against Tigers and Panthers.-->(1943)Churchill Mk. VII, uparmored to survive Tiger and Panther shots and armed with a 75mm gun.-->(1944)Churchill Black Prince, uparmored further and armed with a 17prd to counter Tigers and Panthers. Later discontinued after Centurion tanks were fielded in sufficient numbers and expended in Italy. Later all Churchill variants were converted into Churchill ARV or Churchill AVRE tanks.-->(late 1945)Conqueror Mk. I, a tank dedicated to countering the Panzer VIII. Upgunned to 120mm in 1946 to counter the Panzer IX.
  • (1941)Cruiser Mk. IV-->(1942)Crusader Mk. I-->(1942, post Invasion of North Africa)Crusader Mk. III, armed with a 6prd anti-tank gun to counter new Panzers. Later discontinued and remaining vehicles converted into gun tractors.-->(1942)Centaur, mostly converted into Centaur AA vehicles after the Cromwell came into service.-->(1943)Cromwell, armed with a 75mm gun, effective against Panzer IVs. Slowly upgraded during course of war, discontinued after the Centurion tank was fielded in sufficient numbers. Remaining vehicles converted to Challengers or later on, Charioteers.-->(1944)Comet, a modified Cromwell designed to as a stopgap against Tigers and Panthers. Later discontinued after Centurion Tanks were fielded in sufficient numbers.--> (1945)Centurion Mk. I, a brand-new “universal tank” design built to counter the German Tigers and Panthers. Later upgunned to Centurion Mk. III with QF 20prd when 17prd was insufficient against Panzer VII. -->(late 1945)Centurion Mk. 6, a further upgrade to the Centurion, better armor and a Royal Ordinance L7 105mm gun, designed to counter the Panzer VIII.-->(1946)Centurion Mk. 7/1, giving the Centurion heavier armor to cope better against the German tanks.
  • (early 1945)Tortoise, a heavy tank destroyer designed as a stopgap counter to the Panzer VII tanks encountered in Italy, later proved effective against Panzer VIIIs as well.

USA

  • (1941)M3 Stuart, designed to serve as recon, and effective against Panzer IIs. First deployed to North Africa via Lend Lease in 1942. Replaced by M5 Stuart-->(1943)M5 Stuart, an improved version of the M3 Stuart, deployed by US forces alongside Sherman tanks.--> (1944)M24 Chaffee, M5 Stuart's “Squirrel Rifle” 37mm gun was far too ineffective against German tanks, so the M24 Chaffee solved this with a 76mm.
  • (1941)M4 Sherman, designed to counter the Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs encountered in France. First deployed to North Africa via Lend Lease in 1942. Later upgraded to M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, and later upgunned to M1 76mm. Never saw US service. In British service the Sherman was later upgraded to the Sherman VC “Firefly”, mounting a 17prd. Served as basis for M10 tank destroyer.-->(1943)M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight,” built with new suspension and better M1A2 76mm gun to counter long-barreled Panzer IV tanks. Utilized in North Africa via Lend Lease and with US forces in Operation Torch. Later removed from US service and supplied to China. Served as basis for T34 Sherman Calliope -->(1944)M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman, extremely heavily armored and armed with M1A2 76mm gun to engage Tiger and Panther tanks. Later withdrawn from US service after the M26 Pershing was fielded in sufficient numbers.-->(1944)M26 Pershing, designed to counter Tiger and Panther tanks, rushed into service in Italy. Later became so necessary that the US stopped production of Shermans.-->(late 1945)M46 Super Pershing, designed to remedy the overloaded powertrain of the M26 and give it a more powerful gun, designed to counter the Panzer VII.
  • (1942)M10 Wolverine, designed to support the M4 in the US's combat doctrine. First deployed to North Africa via Lend Lease, later British mounted a 17prd making the Achilles.-->(late 1943)M36 Jackson, an upgunned version of the M10, designed after the 3' cannon was insufficient against Tigers and Panthers.-->(1945)M95 Heavy TD, designed to counter Panzer VIII, and later, IX.
  • (1945)M29 Heavy Tank, designed to counter Panzer VIII.

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