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An attempt to get myself out of writer's block by carrying out an unrelated rant. So, what if the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact dragged on quite a bit longer and the Soviet-German war took place in the early 1950s?

A few overall notes for starters: the American-Japanese conflict would not happen, as the Soviet Union would do everything possible to prevent another expansionist empire at its borders, and a few minor battles convinced the Japanese that invading deeper into Siberia would be a Bad Idea. That would keep the US from entering the war and making the massive technological leaps it did; attempting to predict the alternate history development of the US Army starting with 1941-1942 is utterly impossible because it entered the Real Life war in an absolutely silly state (see M6 Heavy Tank, M2 and M3 Medium Tanks; we’re definitely not talking about the Navy). A harrowing yet interesting note is that the Holocaust would occur at a much more "leisurely" pace - the Nazis only began to go from forced work camps to utter extermination when the tide of war turned against them. This is little respite, though, and it leaves China alone against Japan (quite a few people tend to forget about that one - the bloodiest front of the overall 1931-1945 conflict).

Armies

Soviet Army (Советская Армия)

Previously (before 1947) known as the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, and still popularly known as the Reds. 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 a decade placating Hitler and redirecting his attention West until the Soviet military 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 theft of modern electronics technology from the US, 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 dynamo-reactive (recoilless) weaponry or "armour-incinerating" shaped charge weaponry. However, the Reds have had several theorists like Vasily Chuikov prove that modern, mechanized warfare would lead to infantry rarely using individual weaponry in open-terrain engagements, which has led to 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 went into tanks, not APCs and SPGs.

Soviet armoured forces are, however, par excellence. With the demise of the French design school, Soviet tanks, with their squat profiles and thick and sloped soft-alloy armour, 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 infantry support and Deep Operations.

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 armour. It also trades accuracy for firepower and numbers.

Army of the Third Reich (das Heer des Wehrmacht des Drittes Reiches)

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 decade 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.

Either way, the German-Soviet truce is rapidly approaching its end, and the German military is preparing for action. It began the War to End All Wars 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 uses a sawed-off version of his father's Great War-era Mauser – the semi-automatic rifle program has been lagging behind for years, to the point that purchasing American Garands is being seriously considered.

The German 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 1943-1945: Heer field reference books had completely ignored the existence of both the T-34 and the KV-1 and instead managed to include the two-turret SMK/T-100 prototype as the non-existent T-39, even after Finnish troops captured the aforementioned KV tanks. To be fair, the Reds had been similarly duped by the Neubaufahrzeug three-turret tank, hailed as an indestructible war machine. 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. The increased interior volume also affords further gadgetry such as light multipurpose mortars.

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.

NOTE: The name is a homage to the Il-2 Shturmovik expansion pack. And if you think I made this up just to pit World of Tanks level 7-10 vehicles against each other... Well, you'd be right.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SUGGEST YOUR UPGRADED GERMANS Frankly (and unsurprisingly) I’m not as expert in Wehrmacht Wunderwaffen as I am in Soviet designs. I might not be able to add all the images in one go. Note that the captions are Doylist. Also, I’m not sure whether this is meant for CoH or CoH2.

Soviet Army

Decks/Companies

  • Shock Army – combines infantry, assault engineers, and an absurd amount of artillery.
    • Infantry
      1. Call in Assault Engineers
      2. Rapid Deployment – boosts infantry training speed
      3. Defensive Barrage – designates a CP for an off-map battery to protect by bombarding any enemy unit within area for a given period of time.
    • Artillery
      1. Corps Howitzer Emplacement – unlocks the 152 mm howitzer emplacement
      2. Counterbattery Fire – special mode for 152 mm emplacements
      3. Stalin's Hammer – calls in a SU-14
  • Armoured Army – focuses on mobile, armoured warfare.
    • Support
      1. Rapid Assault – briefly boosts speed of all vehicles
      2. In-Field Repair – self-regeneration capability, because to Hell with infantry
      3. Tank Desant – allows tanks to de-capture CPs. Any tanks.
    • Prototyping
      1. Hunter Tank – calls in a T-43I
      2. Spall Liners – reduces vulnerability to explosive damage and non-penetrating shots
      3. Superheavy Tank – requisitions an IS-2
  • Deep Operations – mixes subterfuge, stealth, advanced weaponry, and a lot of air support.
    • Combined Arms
      1. Precision Strike – orders a Petlyakov Pe-2 dive bomber to deliver 4 FAB-250 bombs at a single-point target, result in devastating damage. Instant removal of pesky emplacements.
      2. Interceptor Flight – puts a single Lavochkin La-14 jet fighter on station. The next enemy air support power is neutralized.
      3. Aerial Assault – requests a whole flight of Ilyushin Il-8 heavily-armoured CAS fighters, which continuously exterminate any troops (friend or foe) with 7.62 rapid-fre MGs, 23 mm autocannons, torrents of rockets, and hundreds of 2,5 kg anti-tank bombs, for a straight minute.
    • Subterfuge
      1. Radio Intercept – reveals the location of all enemy forces on map at the moment of usage, but doesn’t indicate subsequent movement or upgrades
      2. Deep Reconnaissance Deployment – parachutes a squad of Spetsnaz
      3. Seizure of Initiative – boosts the movement speed of all allied troops
  • NKVD Troops – fanaticism, better defensive capabilities, propaganda, and a few very advanced secret weapons.
    • Political Warfare
      1. SMERSH Team – deploys three squads of NKVD Troops
      2. Salt the Earth – temporarily removes the CP from the game, requiring lengthy repairs to have any gains
      3. Propaganda Operation – bullies all enemy infantry into temporary retreat
    • Special Access
      1. Incendiary Storm – peppers the designated area with thermite incendiary shells
      2. Early Air Raid Warning – allows deployment of a single Oko station
      3. Guard Rocket Mortars – deploys a BM-29

Soviet Infantry

Conscripts

Soviet Conscripts

The big problem with the Mosin rifle was that it was factory-sighted for firing with the bayonet, so trying to shoot without it would result in all shots going significantly to the left of the target

Standard cannon fodder with three months of training, mostly effective at harassing non-frontline units – they're poor shots with poor morale. Their primary weapons are the rugged M1930 Mosin "three-liners", powerful and cheap, but with horrendous ergonomics, being designed in the late XIXth century with obsession for bayonet combat, and can only be fired accurately with the "pig-sticker" blade fixed.

Constructs Slit Trench, Sandbags

Special Abilities

  • RG-42 - standard offensive fragmentation grenade, made from a tin can - literally. Replaces earlier, costly stick grenades.
  • Grenade bundle - multiple charges with one fuse, unreliable, but powerful enough to knock out light armoured vehicles.

Upgrade

Dakka

In 1916, when Vladimir Fyodorov proposed an assault rifle (sort of), his contemporaries wondered how they were supposed to supply every soldier with enough ammo. By 1942 the problem was, evidently, solved.

  • PPSh-M – Shpagin SMG, 7.62x25 mm, Modernized. A cheaper version of a clone of the Finnish Suomi-konepistooli. Bulky thanks to a solid rifle-style stock, but capable of accepting 35 or 71-round magazines, and unleashing a torrent of fire effective even at medium range, while – it needs reiterating – being ridiculously affordable. Even completely untrained squads can produce a blizzard of lead that suppresses trained riflemen – which makes it the new favourite with the Reds.

Guards

Clean-up

Contrary to popular pre-conceptions: 1) Soviets preferred helmets to ushankas, or, better yet, helmets over ushankas and 2) starting with 1942, the greatcoats were heavily restricted due to fabric shortages, and only returned around 1946.

Formed as "constant readiness" mechanized and armoured units, the Red Guards (named so after the Bolshevik paramilitaries of 1917) are scrutinously selected, better-paid and receive more modern equipment, which entails significantly greater expectations regarding performance. Distinguishable by not only insignia but also the M1949 uniforms, which have officer-style greatcoats instead of shorter, more economical smocks. Guard infantry is issued the much sought-after Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle, which is lethally precise and can keep up a high rate of fire, but requires 143 components, including 22 springs and 12 different steel alloys (2 of them purpose-made), and gun lubricant, unlike the familiar Mosin design, which is routinely unjammed by vigorously applying another rifle (and profanities) to the bolt handle.

Special Abilities (Default)

  • F-1 grenade – the “lemon”, larger and more powerful, this defensive grenade can easily shred a careless user.
  • BZS – known outside the Soviet Union as a Molotov Cocktail (the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs is not amused) this is the recognized hand-thrown AT weapon, but with a few improvements: it's a pyrophoric mixture of phosphorous, diesel, and engine oil, instead of using a burning rag.

Upgrades

  • Assault kit – three key additions. The ADK is a highly classified design by the esteemed weapons designer Degtyaryov and the rising star Mikhail Kalashnikov, which can be tentatively designed as an automatic assault carbine firing the new 7.62x39 mm round from a detachable 30-round magazine. Outfitted with an MP-40-style folding stock for mechanized infantry and paratrooper use, it is very effective at both short and medium range. Urban assault units couple it with the SN-44 armoured cuirass, resistant to 9 mm rounds, worn under the greatcoats for a winter-time surprise, and replacing the incendiaries with RPG-47 shaped-charge ballute-stabilized anti-tank grenades.
  • Anti-vehicle kit - trades incendiaries for a PTRS-41 14.5x114 mm semi-automatic anti-tank rifle. Does not compromise the ability to engage in long-range fire - the AT rifle does wonders on personnel - but sends enemy light armour to the scrapyard in short order.

Lieutenant

KomBat

Contrary to yet another stereotype, Soviet political officers were not passive paper-pushers. After all, the was the Kommissarbefehl. And yes, it's a politruk, same as this isn't Neil Armstrong - nobody really cares.

Soviet line officer, armed with a Sudayev PPS, an even cheaper Leningrad-made SMG designed for the personal defensive weapon role.

Special abilities

  • Follow unit
  • Charge!

Company Command Squad

An improved officer unit – a Captain – with both better effects and an armed protective detachment of five Guards, two of which carry the new Degtyaryov RPD 7.62x39 mm light machine guns.

Proprietary for the Shock branch.

Special abilities

  • Lead by Example - confers defensive bonus when static, movement bonus when moving, and increases damage against the target the Captain's attacking.
  • Mortar Barrage
  • Set Up Rally Point - puts up a temporary rally point. Surrounding units immune to suppression. Represented by a destroyable Assault Banner.

Engineers

Wire

And that includes putting up telephone wires at -40 in the middle of a field, yes.

Standard constructor unit armed with Sudayev SMGs.

Upgrade

  • Mine detectors

NKVD Section

Paramilitary detachment of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. A more fanatical version of Guards, armed with two additional RPD light machine guns. Lack upgrades, but reinforce morale of surrounding units – including each other. Not amateurs either – they are counterintelligence experts and one of the first modern units to practice synthetic martial arts.

Proprietary for NKVD units.

Special Abilities

  • F-1 grenade – larger and more powerful, this defensive grenade can easily shred a careless user.
  • BZS – known outside the Soviet Union as a Molotov Cocktail - the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs is not amused - this is the recognized hand-thrown AT weapon, but with a few improvements: it's a pyrophoric mixture of phosphorous, diesel, and engine oil.
  • Root Out "Saboteurs" – boost production at targeted structure.

Assault Sappers

Enhanced builder unit with combat utility. Equipped with PPSh-M SMGs and SN-44 armoured vests. Can also set up "flame fougasses" - single-use directed anti-infantry flamethrower mines that cause what's left of the impacted unit to retreat.

Proprietary of Shock units.

Upgrade

  • ROKS-48 flamethrowers

Special abilities

  • Demolition Charge
  • Cut through Wire

Spetsnaz Team

Raised by the Main Intelligence Directorate as a part of the "deep operations" doctrine (and hence proprietary to the branch), these paratroop operatives are inspired by the relentless efforts of British commandos. Their unconventional weapon of choice is the scoped and silenced version of the Mosin rifle. They’re also the only Soviet units (other than the Snipers) who wear splinter multi-colour camouflage.

Special abilities

  • Camouflage
  • Plunder and Burn - storms the enemy production structure, steals a portion of the enemy resources, and demolishes the building.

Sniper Team

A standard detachment of a sniper and an observer, outfitted with a scoped SVT-40S and a PPS.

Special abilities

  • Camouflage
  • Flares – fires an illumination rocket to track hostile in the designated area.

Soviet Support Weapons

Machine Gun Team

Maxim

The Soviet method of dealing with MG42's superior rate of fire: "More".

A large squad hefting around an SG machine gun on the cumbersome Vladimirov wheeled mount of the M1910 Maxim Gun. Although a set-up weapon, hence more accurate and never having to reload, its damage output is inferior to most modern one-man-portable German MGs.

Upgrades

  • DShK 12.7 mm – a larger-bore heavy, anti-vehicle-capable machine gun mounted on a similar Kolesnikov mount.
  • Taubin AG-2 – another similarly-sized weapon, this automatic weapon fires the old 40.6 mm rifle fragmentation grenades from a 15-round magazine. Proprietary for Deep Operations branch.
  • APO-152 – an exotic large-bore launcher for fragile ampulae with an incendiary payload – a long-range flamethrower. Proprietary for NKVD troops.

82 mm Mortar Team

A standard indirect-fire battalion mortar. That extra millimetre allows using "appropriated" 81 mm mines, but not vice versa.

Special Abilities

  • Indirect Fire
  • Deploy Smoke

ZIS-3

M1949 divisional cannon with a tumultuous history – it was originally developed without any authorization. While cheaper, smaller, lighter and with a flatter trajectory than most of its tactical equivalents, this 76.2 mm cannon has the significant boon of being effective against tanks, and hence excels at direct fire support; also, it is the first artillery gun designed for conveyor-based massed production.

Special ability

  • Indirect fire

M1938 howitzer

121.9 mm howitzer of the same (divisional) class. Uses high explosive rounds only, making it less effective against armour, an interrupted screw breech lock that limits rate of fire, and is simply heavier, but has a higher arc and a lot more explosive power. Global upgrade of the Shock troops.

Special ability

  • Indirect fire

ZIS-2

I.V. Grabin's original design that later provided the breech and carriage to the ZIS-3. However, it marries a 76.2 mm powder case to a British-style 6 pdr (57 mm) shell and a much longer barrel without the prominent muzzle brake, producing a costly and light but murderous anti-tank gun. APCR shells only, no splash radius. Proprietary global upgrade for Deep Operations.

Special abilities

  • Camouflage
  • Canister Shot

Soviet Armed Structures

Turret bunker

After the Great War the Soviet Union, initially lagging behind in development of tanks, licensed or copied several designs, such as the Renault FT-17 (later heavily modified into the MS-1/T-18 – the samples arrived missing most of the parts, so the Reds improvised) or the Vickers 6-ton, which evolved into the T-26. Although very effective in the Spanish Civil War, the T-26 was instantly rendered obsolete by anti-tank artillery. By 1939, that left the Soviet Union with a new border to fortify, and thousands of useless tanks. The solution? Tank bunkers! The chassis is stripped of anything usable, dug into the ground and fortified with whatever materials are on hand; it is so efficient that all of the 13 Fortified Sectors of the "Molotov Line" have stores of T-26 hulls to rapidly plug up breeches, or to replace damaged T-26 turrets used in more permanent fortifications. The resultant bunker has a 360° field of fire for a 45 mm cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun, and can resist poorly-placed light cannon rounds.

M1939 AA gun

A dug-in semi-automatic 37 mm cannon. Aside from a chance to intercept incoming air attackers, it is moderately useful against enemy armour.

ML-20 howitzer firebase

A 152 mm gun-howitzer in a semi-fixed entrenchment is a hallmark of the Shock commanders.

Special abilities

  • Indirect Fire
  • Creeping Barrage
  • Counterbattery Fire (if unlocked)

F-42 AT gun

Yet another proprietary unit of the Shock branch, this entrenched towed version of the ZIS-6 107 mm cannon is used to provide the option of local anti-tank defence.

Special ability

  • Turn Around

Oko post

In late 1934, a Soviet radioelectronics expert-turned-conscripted AA gunner proposed a form of rangefinder system based on radio waves reflecting off the target. The research was not sufficiently supported, and hence the British fielded a practical early-warning system much earlier. This field RADAR post (Hush, comrade! The Enemy is always listening!) dramatically increases the capability of a faction's AA weaponry to intercept incoming powers, and yes, it produces an air raid siren as soon as someone orders an air strike. Very heavily restricted by the NKVD.

Soviet Vehicles

GAZ-64

A Soviet general purpose unarmoured car with an SG machine gun on a monopod. Agile but instantly destroyed by enemy fire.

T-70

The Soviets' basic armoured platform for light infantry support and reconnaissance. The armour is thin but sloped, and the twin car engines used give the tank sluggish acceleration. The single-man turret is equipped with a 20 mm TNSh autocannon capable of damaging only the weakest armour, but the commander usually keeps the large top hatch open for improved visibility.

Upgrade

  • 20-K – a semiautomatic 45 mm cannon used in the upgraded (i.e. not twin-turreted) T-26 tanks, it has much more power per shot, but the commander has to constantly act as loader, impairing reconnaissance capabilities even further while still lagging behind small Panzers with 5 cm guns.

DT-70

Desant

During the actual WWII the Soviet Union only had a handful of lend-leased APCs and no domestic designs, and had to get by like this. Might explain why the Soviets obsessively mechanized during the Cold War.

A T-70 chassis fitted with an two-squad open bay and a pintle-mounted medium machine gun. Troop reinforcement point.

Upgrades

  • 76 mm regimental howitzer – converts the vehicle into a fire support platform, adding an OB-25 light low-velocity howitzer for lobbing high-explosive shells. That replaces one squad and stops troop spawn. The remaining squad helps load the gun and fires on outside targets. Not useful against tanks.
  • SU-76 – a ZIS-3 76 mm divisional cannon mounted on the same chassis, turning the troop carrier into an open-top SP gun with decent anti-tank capabilities.

ZSU-12,7

Another T-70 conversion, this time into a flattop carrier for an anti-aircraft gun. The rapidly rotating thinly-armoured open-top turret houses an anti-aircraft mount of four DShK 12.7x108 mm HMGs.

T-43

The original T-34 was a shock, implementing the very latest innovations in tank design philosophy. The Germans had had nasty battles against French B1s and British Matildas, occasionally being forced to use dive bombers against them; but the T-34 was as heavily armoured as them whole being not a sluggish infantry tank but a very fast medium. When the Abwehr finally managed to tear open its eyes - the new Soviet tanks had gone unnoticed even when stationed 20 m from Wehrmacht troops - terror was mixed with disbelief: the T-34 apparently was both faster and tougher than the Heer's "antitank tank", the Panzer III, and even its early L-11 gun outmatched both the 3,7 cm cannon and the 7,5 cm howitzer of the "heavy" Panzer IV. A portion of German leadership still denies its existence. They're all in for another shock though: under a similar designation and wooden mock-ups, the Soviets hide a deep modernization.

The T-43 plays the same basic cards: a high-velocity 76 mm gun, a squat profile with heavily sloped armour, and an aviation diesel offering unparalleled power-to-mass ratio. However, it is considered an engineering masterpiece even when compared to the T-34: the driver's vulnerable hatch is removed from the glacis, the Christie suspension, with its large cut-outs in side armour, is swapped for torsion bars used on the KV series, the engine is mounted transversally to shorten the engine bay and move the turret to the centre of the vehicle, and the turret is now three-man with a commander cupola. The overall height and size are reduced, which allows adding thicker plating without impacting mobility. The gun however is only slightly improved, and the calibre remains the same Great War field artillery classic. On the other hand, production costs increases are minimum, and the advanced automatic flux welding techniques developed in the Soviet Union mean that not only it's probably the best tank in the world, but it's produced easily and in large quantities.

Also armed with a detachable hull-mounted DT machine gun and a co-axial SG machine gun.

Special Ability

  • Tank shock! – the T-43 is quite heavy, durable, and fast. It is Soviet regulation that ramming is a credible method of eliminating "soft" targets like infantry and artillery guns, and smaller tanks. Even larger vehicles have to fear a well-placed impact of the armoured glacis against the target's drive sprocket, which leaves the victim immobilized and the attacker mostly undamaged. German designs are particularly vulnerable because of the front-mounted gearbox (damaging which will likely set the vehicle on fire) and the high-mounted long-barrel guns (that have trouble targeting hostiles at contact range).

Global Upgrades

  • Appliqué Armour – field-expedient all-around plating
  • T-43U – turret swap; provides a taller variant with an extended bustle and an 85 mm gun intended for KV-3, as well as the option of Armour-Piercing Composite Rigid shells.
  • ATO-43 – replaces the hull machine gun with a heavy (emplacement) flamethrower, without impacting primary armament in any way. Not available to Shock commanders, they have plenty of specialized units.
  • Mattresses – the whimsical (and incorrect) name for slat armour kits used to defend against shaped-charge ordnance. Available only to Armour commanders.

T-43I

Available exclusively to Armour commanders, this is an early armament upgrade kit for the T-43, developed as a "Hunter" tank of a distinctly German design: the 76 mm gun is traded for the ZIS-4, a shortened ZIS-2 57 mm cannon that manages to have the 85's penetration while maintaining a higher pace of fire and excellent accuracy. The existing prototypes were never recalled and instead received a coincidence rangefinder system, camouflage netting, and an early domestic smoke launcher system.

Special Abilities

  • Camouflage
  • Launch Smoke
  • Precision Fire – destroys the target's track. If the track is busted, uses a well-placed shot to crack the sight triplex, blinding the gunner.

T-43UK

A hallmark of the Armour branch, this is an officer unit akin to the Command Squad. Naturally, it's a T-43 instead, modified for the role. Visually nearly indistinguishable from standard, the tank loses the hull gunner (who is actually supposed to operate the radios, not the gun, and hence his embrasure is welded over), and receives a new command seat with the larger KV cupola. The 85 mm cannon is retained.

Special abilities

  • Follow Unit
  • APCR shells – hard-core enhanced kinetic penetrator shells with no explosives

ZSU-37

Although the Soviet Army places a lot of importance onto air defence, self-propelled AAA of this calibre is still exceedingly rare and hence this system is available only to NKVD troops. It uses a T-34 (sic) chassis to mount a turret with twin 37 mm semi-automatic guns.

SU-107

Designed for the Deep Operations commander, who might need a 107 mm gun before they can afford an IS tank. The T-43 chassis can only mount the gun directly in the hull, sacrificing the turret and all the machine guns.

Special ability

  • Camouflage

A-44

Another development of Ferdinand Porsche's theories, this time as a medium tank with an electrical transmissions and a rear-mounted four-man turret taken from the new IS series. Because of its prototype status, available only to NKVD troops. 85 mm cannon and twin co-axial 7.62 mm MGs.

Upgrade

  • ZIS-6PO – crams in a 107 mm cannon. Unless the new muzzle brake is used and the tank is immobile, firing it will flip it over.

KV-3

First heavy tank variant. Improved version of the original Kliment Voroshilov heavy tank developed from the T-220 prototype, with glacis plating up to 100 mm, and a stretched chassis powered by a boosted diesel. As the Germans have scrambled to protect their medium tanks against the 76.2 mm F-34 of the KV-1, the KV-3's new conical turret mounts a modified 85 mm naval AA cannon that can reliably penetrate most German mediums. If APCR rounds are supplied, it can even penetrate earlier heavies like the Tiger. Also comes kitted with three machine guns, but the loader never bothers with his rear-looking MG. Special ability (Default)

  • APCR shells – hard-core enhanced kinetic penetrator shells with no explosives

Upgrades

  • 122 mm cannon – leaves the 85 mm and APCR shells to the T-43, and installs a version of the A-19 corps-class cannon with a prominent muzzle brake. The separate propellant charges result in a very slow rate of fire, but the sheer firepower per shot is several times greater than that of the overglorified 88 mm, especially against soft targets.
  • DShK turret – enclosed 12.7 mm parasite turret in place of the command cupola, prevents the commander from being cut down by enemy fire – a known hazard when using pintle-mounted guns.

IS

The next-generation Soviet heavy tank, developed on a rebuilt chassis that has nominally thinner armour than the KV-3, but uses cast sections of heavily sloped plating to achieve considerable survivability, while being shorter in both length and height, and hence more agile. The domed turret houses the new ZIS-6 107 mm high-velocity cannon firing Armour-Piercing Composite Rigid shells at a decent pace, paired with a KPV 14.5 mm machine gun, i.e. automatic AT rifle. In a controversial decision, the radioman has been removed along with the hull gun.

Upgrade

  • Flame turret – installs a remote-controlled pintle flamethrower. Available to Armour commander only.

SU-152 Taran

Based on two concepts borrowed from the Germans: the assault gun, and Dr Ferdinand Porsche's hull layout with centre-mounted engine bay, which affords a large fixed superstructure in the aft, which, in this case, mounts a 152 mm howitzer for bunker-buster duties. After the mixed performance of the KV-2, Soviet designers were wary of mounting such a gun in a (supposedly) rotating turret; using a fixed superstructure helped achieve success without sacrificing the good survivability and already limited mobility of the heavy tank chassis.

Unique to Armour commanders.

Special Ability

  • Indirect Fire

Upgrades

  • Pintle DShK – adds a machine gun to the otherwise defenceless SPG
  • BL-10 cannon – high-velocity 152 mm anti-tank cannon. Trades indirect fire capability for higher accuracy and even higher (ludicrous) penetration, considered adequate against any prospective super-heavy.

KV-I

Engineer support variant of the KV, with the hull of a KV-3, but the cast turret used on KV-1s. Fitted with a VT-42 45 mm light anti-tank cannon. Two MGs.

Specific to Shock commander.

Upgrades

  • Dozer Blade
  • Co-axial Flamethrower – the largest of the flamers available to either faction. Requires bulky fuel tanks.

or

  • Land Torpedoes – two quad racks of 240 mm rockets. Short-range weapon of absurd power.

SU-14

The cavernous hull of a T-35 five-turret tank fitted to carry a gun of the Artillery of High Command Reserve, namely a Br-8 152 mm high-velocity cannon (to which the aforementioned BL-10 is ballistically matched), complete with concrete penetrator rounds, in a lightly armored enclosed superstructure. Nominally armed with 4 MGs in a broadside configuration; not used in practice.

Specific to Shock commander.

Special Ability

  • Indirect fire

Upgrade

  • Switch to 203 mm howitzer - installs a B-4 instead, replaces this upgrade by "Switch to 152 mm cannon". Even bigger gun, with a much higher arc.

IS-2

Iosif Stalin's pet project, the second Iosif Stalin tank is a near-superheavy 70 t monster. Using the basic template of the original IS hull, the designers managed to cram in a 130 mm naval cannon previously used in the SU-100Y project, and used a pair of naval diesels to propel the thickly armoured 68 t monster. The colossal (by Soviet standards) volume has allowed the designers to endorse a few quirks, such as a 37 mm co-axial autocannon, and two turrets mounting twin 7.62 mm machine guns, one in the hull and one on the left side of the main turret bustle.

Obviously exclusive to the Armour branch. Losing several of these is bound to make the Supreme Commander-in-Chief rather unhappy, which is heavily ill-advised unless fancy an assignment somewhere around Anadyr.

Upgrade

  • Mechanized loader – an electromechanical system designed to increase rate of fire. These shells and powder charges are huge and supposed to be handled by half a dozen sailors.

BM-29

A top-secret weapon under the auspices of Lavrenty Beriya, the Guard Rocket Mortar is a truck mounting a battery of twelve rocket launcher rails that can briefly produce a lot more firepower than a battery of conventional guns. Otherwise it's completely harmless, other than the generous supply of dynamite that prevents it from falling into the wrong hands.

Exclusive to NKVD units.

Special Ability

  • Indirect fire

Ideas for Yer Wacky Nazis

You too can contribute to the advancement of the Wehrmacht!

  • The planned German commanders are: Grenadier (who has also spent a lot of time stationed on the Wotan line and is hence a fortification expert), Panzergrenadier (who has the Porsche Tiger as the apex armour unit after a large selection of APC variants), Panzerwaffen (who instead have more modern armour, with a mix of StuGs, Jagdpanzer and super-heavies), Luftwaffe, and Waffen-SS.
  • The T-34/KV fiasco resulted in all German tanks evolving into highly efficient snipers. Originally there was supposed to be a family of infantry support vehicles; both PzKpfw IV and StuG III mounted low-velocity cannons to attack infantry and fortifications before the Big Mean Russian Tanks crisis. Without the aforementioned shock, one can expect the Germans to field both Sturmpanzer with 7,5, 10,5 and even 15 cm howitzers and more machine guns, and Jagdpanzer with long-barrel, high-velocity weapons such as the famous 88 mm, or even a 7,5-5,5 cm Konish, a squeeze-bore gun.
    • The current idea is to have the Tiger as a basic heavy, because the 88 mm is nothing to write home about anymore. A super-heavy-class cannon is the 128 mm, whereas the mediums would still use 75 mm guns with VERY long barrels. I also prefer the smaller E-100 over the Maus.
  • The German defensive is based on two types of set-up vehicles with anti-vehicle guns. The famous 88 mm Flak was supposed to have a version on a Selbstfahrlafette, where it could be quickly relocated, whereas the more potent 12,8 cm anti-tank cannon would be mounted on the back of a turretless tank chassis. Neither have meaningful armour or the ability to fire on the move; the 8,8 cm has a chance to neutralize a Soviet aerial support ability, whereas the 12,8 cm has a decent anti-infantry shell.
  • German technology is still very advanced. Some examples of this advancement would be optional vertical stabilizers for guns, or early guided anti-tank missiles.
  • Reichsführer Himmler was an enormous geek, deeply into mysticism and knights, so you can expect Waffen-SS squads to look like Loki Odinsonn with a gun. They would also be even more loathed by the standard Heer.

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