Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reading to Go With Combat Mission: Red Thunder

As I often do with new games, I went searching for books that were pertinent to Combat Mission: Red Thunder. I was, first, interested in a good overview of the operation. The first book I found is relatively short and probably mostly of interest if you're very into an analysis of late-period WWII Soviet offensive doctrine.

Analysis of Deep Attack Operations: Operation Bagration is a brief but very military analysis of Operation Bagration. I've only just started this, but it seems like a good analysis of Soviet doctrine and how it was employed to bring about the destruction of Army Group Center. I'm looking forward to trying to employ some of the ideas I'm gleaning from this analysis to the Operation Bagration scenario in War in the East. 

More directly pertinent to CMRT, I wanted something that really covered small unit tactics for both the Germans and the Soviets, with a particular focus on the Soviets. When playing East Front games I've leaned heavily toward playing German formations. I'm not nearly as well versed in how to employ the scads of Soviet tanks and hordes of infantry available as I am the more flexible but smaller German formations. 

Red Army Armour In Combat seems to fill the bill quite nicely! Honestly, I've been looking for this kind of book for years and seem to have finally found it. This is again probably not a book for beginners. All of the material is primary source material that focuses on narratives of actual battle reports of units up to about battalion size. The material specifically focuses on how the Soviets employed armor throughout the war, and necessarily also discusses a lot about German tactics in response to the Soviets. Much of the material in the book are actually briefings written for the US Army by German former officers early in the Cold War. These briefings were a means of transferring the knowledge gained by German officers about fighting the Soviets to the American military men now responsible for defending Germany from the Soviets.

What this boils down to is a series of detailed after action reports an analysis written by the soldiers who fought in these actions just a few years after the war. Most of what I've read so far is at the company team level. These are not the well-known Division, Corps, and Army level engagements, but rather the gritty company and platoon level stuff that made up the detail of those larger battles. I''m thoroughly enjoying this!

Both of these books were only $3.00! I'd say that's quite a value if you're interested in the subject and are at a point where you want something more detailed and military.