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Author Topic: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War  (Read 6648 times)

Offline cuprum

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2018, 02:52:59 PM »
If you are preparing to fight an armored train, you have many ways to get results. But usually you meet him when you did not expect it. You do not have explosives and people who can handle it, you do not have the tools to loosen the nuts on the rails. Most likely, your soldiers are yesterday's illiterate peasants who generally have little idea what a locomotive or car is))) Red regiments at the beginning often fled in terror, just seeing tanks away ... Single tanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoIm6O5YBVM

Offline madman

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »
If you are preparing to fight an armored train, you have many ways to get results. But usually you meet him when you did not expect it. You do not have explosives and people who can handle it, you do not have the tools to loosen the nuts on the rails. Most likely, your soldiers are yesterday's illiterate peasants who generally have little idea what a locomotive or car is))) Red regiments at the beginning often fled in terror, just seeing tanks away ... Single tanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoIm6O5YBVM

Just like in Normandy for the first while EVERY German tank WAS a Tiger!

Offline cuprum

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2018, 04:05:57 PM »
I found the old Soviet magazine for 1922.
There is an interesting article on the use of armored trains. It will be difficult to translate it completely, but I will give some diagrams and descriptions of the typical use of a light armored train in defense and offensive.

Episode One. Defense Tsaritsyn, red defending, attacking White. The terrain is plain. Reds defense breached. In front of the white troops - an open path to the city, there are no red troops in front of them. The Red Command is deploying four armored trains (two - improvised) from calm defense sectors to prevent the troops from breaking through. Trains are firing and maneuvering, preventing white from crossing the railway. They cover each other with fire, preventing White from sabotage.  At this time, parts of the Reds are moving away to new positions and reserves are being advanced from the rear. White's attack diminishes, the city remains in the hands of the Reds.


Offline cuprum

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2018, 04:32:16 PM »
Episode Two. Soviet-Polish war. Fight for the city Rechitsa. Poles break through the front and go to the bridge in the rear of the Reds. Line up defenses on both sides of the bridge. Part of the red troops and the red armored train are cut off from their troops. The Poles have no artillery. They create a blockage on the rails from logs. The red armored train attacks the Poles at the bridge with the support of the red infantry. He slowly moves, pushing in front of him a block of logs for a kilometer. After leaving the zone of intense machine-gun fire, the team of the armored train parses the dam and continues the battle. The Poles are broken, the bridge again passes into the hands of the Reds.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 04:36:19 PM by cuprum »

Offline cuprum

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2018, 04:56:54 PM »
Episode Three. Red captured Simbirsk. Whites entrenched on the opposite bank and on the river island. Whites have artillery and an armored train. The Reds task is to seize the bridge in order to continue the offensive. The bridge has not been blown up, since White is counting on using it for a counterattack.
The first attack of the red armored train was repelled by artillery fire of field batteries and the armored train of the whites. Reds are sent at high speed towards the white armored train locomotive -“kamikaze”. He crosses the bridge, catches up with the white armored train and smashes the control platform and one of the artillery carriage. Immediately after this, an attack of the red armored train with the support of infantry occurs. An armored train as a result of an explosion of rails gets stuck on the bridge, but under the cover of its fire, the red infantry bursts into the opposite bank and knocks the whites from positions. Red offensive continues.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 04:59:21 PM by cuprum »

Offline cuprum

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2018, 05:27:23 PM »
The last episode. Events at Belgorod. Reds retreat under the blows of white. They stop outside the city, putting their parts in order. The connection between the red parts is still broken. White has two armored trains, as well as several groups of armored cars. The Reds have an armored train in the near rear. At dawn, white armored trains leave for the red rear without meeting resistance. It seems that the red ones just overslept))) Although White’s confidence suggests the change in the red headquarters, which was not uncommon. Having dropping troops in the rear of the red defense, one of the armored trains moves on to the nearest station where the Reds headquarters is located and attacks it. Bolshevik troops lose control. At this moment, an attack occurs on the highway armored cars on both flanks, as well as from the rear, they are attacked by troops with the support of an armored train. Reds are broken. The red armored train, having no information from the command and not knowing what was happening, retreats to the rear, not taking the fight and fearing to be cut off. White victory.


Online Byblos

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2018, 07:07:16 PM »
Very interesting ! Thanks Cuprum !

Online Mark Plant

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2018, 10:35:20 PM »
You simply don't need explosives to derail a train. Just some basic tools .These are. of the period .(exhibit at the Russian Railway museum Moscow.)

You can remove the fixtures and fittings on a rail with pry bars and wrenches in under an hour.With just a section of men.[/quote}

Sure, this happened often enough. And the crew simply got out and replaced the track and were on their way. They had all the equipment and parts they needed.

Quote
Nor do you need hundreds of men to assault one .Thirty is more than enough.

Advancing with 30 men across an open field into even one emplaced MG would be brave. To do it to a train that is, even without a landing party, full of artillery and MGs behind armour? It would be suicidal.

If you attack with a battalion, and there is a decent landing party, then you are still in real trouble, given that the landing parties tended to be the very best men available and they are backed up with armoured artillery.

There were attacks in the rear on armoured trains, but they weren't common, because it was really, really difficult to pull off. The ones I know of were usually at night, by surprise, while the train was stationary. That avoids having to take on the armour, but like all night attacks is quite difficult to co-ordinate.

Even to penetrate into the rear of the enemy lines, when capture meant certain torture and death, was only for the brave. To do so on the off-chance you might find a decent opportunity to strike wasn't really on. When it happened, it was an attack of opportunity.

Even if you took the train, then what? You have a train behind enemy lines that you can't return to your side. The best you can hope to do is wreck it (which in practice meant loot, derail, and blow up the locomotive -- often by over-stoking the boiler). A new locomotive is produced, and they are back in action. This was a major problem for Makhno and the other Greens.

Offline madman

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2018, 11:20:23 PM »
Great stuff Cuprum. Thanks to everyone for your input. Please keep it coming.

Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2018, 11:15:28 AM »
Mark.
Your example is a totally different operation. It's an assault on a stationary active train with a view to derailment once captured. In affect its a frontal assault on a fixed position. Totally game worthy as a scenario.
I  referenced the derailment then assault . I gave the example of actual rules of engagement of
a derailed train .chiefly if it doesn't totally derail and wreck . You don't stay to play. Thirty men is enough to provide containment and to sweap . once the train is neutralised by derailment and its crew suppressed by the crash. Your priorities are the carriages contain the infantry neutralizing high risk first .containment mops as it sees .whilst the priorities are swept first.No point is anyone charging a fully operational train. In turn its quite difficult to game effectively.
Sabotage is about disruption and buying time. Be it replacing a rail or an engine it buys time.
The rules of engagement are clear if it doesn't work ie totally derail and crash . You do not assault.Any disruption you achive is a win.

Cuprums examples are full blown attacks and relatively easy to represent. It's also worth noting that these are all at choke points which is pretty much what any table top game is. If your not just pushing massed ranks across a flat baron table and rolling a ton if dice.
As cuprum noted this big country and a fluid war. Its hard to apply the notion of a solid front more a series of salients at strategic locations Becoming denser near to a power base. although on paper these may look like a front there are in some  places seriously wide open spaces between them . Its hard to wrap your head around such a landscape and apply it a 6×4 table.
My point was ment to be simple . Gaming an armoured train needs a predetermined scenario with clear objectives .
But its all subject . My personal approach is undoubtedly clouded by a late 20th century khaki education rather than trawling through historical accounts.Small unit actions are what I know.
But as every true Englishman knows you don't need explosives to stop a train. Or even battalions of heavily armed men and artillery.

Simply leaves on a rainy day.

Offline Etranger

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2018, 10:10:31 PM »
or the 'wrong kind' of snow...

Great examples Cuprum!
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Offline madman

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2019, 05:15:09 PM »

Books

Armored Trains by Steven Zaloga (Osprey Publications)
Armoured Trains – An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1825-2016, by Paul Malmassari
Armoured Train: Its Development and Usage; Balfour, G


So which of these books would be the most useful to us? Before I buy them all is there one, or more, which cover Russian Civil War trains better or more thoroughly? I am looking at breadth of coverage, amount of info on RCW, employment, construction and availability. If more than one cover the bases or all three are best so be it, but if just one is sufficient that is what I am looking to find. Thank you.

Stephen

Offline Von Stroheim

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2019, 02:40:05 AM »
The two Osprey titles on Armoured Units of the RCW -  Red and White both have info on armoured trains as well as tanks and armoured cars Osprey has them on sale now

Online Byblos

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2019, 10:40:03 AM »
The two Osprey titles on Armoured Units of the RCW -  Red and White both have info on armoured trains as well as tanks and armoured cars Osprey has them on sale now

I agree, totally agree !

Offline FramFramson

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Re: Employment of Armoured Trains in the Russian Civil War
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2019, 06:29:12 PM »
Fascinating and educational as always Cuprum!