I am reading "Soviet Infantry Tactics in World War II", by Charles Sharp (available from Battlefront.com) and trying to polish up my tactics in Iron Front. Part 3 of this book is about the rifle squad and a translation of "Combat Instructions for the Infantry of the Red Army" (circa 1942). Off course the two year difference between the document and the game's time frame will be the source of some discrepancies, but I think the book is worth a look for an Iron Front player.
For starters, a thing that surprised me a bit in the Soviet doctrine was the gradual use of fire upon an enemy position. In Sharp's translation, paragraph 71 reads (bold is mine):
If the advance is pinned down by unsuppressed enemy weapons, the squad leader places fire oh them himself or on order from the platoon leader with the light machine gun opening fire at 800 meters, the best shots (among the riflemen) at 600 meters, and at 400 meters - all the soldiers.
I can only imagine that for the men under the command of a doctrine-conscious Soviet squad leader, those 400 meters must have felt like kilometers ...
The second "curiosity", if you allow me the term, is the use of a guide ("provodnik") when contact with the enemy was almost imminent. This guide was a man with very good soldiering skills and sometimes also named an "observer". He would be on point when ordered by the squad leader right up until an assault position was chosen. He was to make and maintain visual contact with the enemy and then return to his role as a squad member during the assault.
The TOE of the Soviet infantry squad in Iron Front is a bit different than the Soviet rifle squad of 1942. The 1942 Soviet rifle squad had only riflemen and a sub-machine gunner. In Iron Front we have AT soldiers who carry sub machine guns/pistols. Nonetheless, I wanted to try the two particulars mentioned above in the game.
The mission is to take a village that is under the control of a German infantry squad. I divided my Soviet infantry squad as follows.
|Squad member number 2 is my guide. I set this soldier's skill to 75% within the editor.|
|Team red: the light machine gunner and a sub machine gunner as an assistant/ammo carrier. Skill level for both of these soldiers was set to 40% with the editor.|
|Team blue: all my riflemen. Half of these men have been set to 50% skill with the editor, all the others to the default (~10%?).|
|Team green: two sub machine gunners (I think they are actually AT soldiers) with default (low) skill. My virtual character is in the foreground.|
|I advance the rest of my squad forward. Surprisingly, the riflemen (team blue) opened fire before the sub machine gunners (team green). The light machine-gunner opened fire some 30 meters behind this position.|
|The blue team (riflemen, to the right in this picture) sustained a not so great rate of fire, but the shots had silenced many of the enemy guns. The green team (sub machine gunners, right behind me) starting firing some timid shots at this point.|
|A few dozen yards from the objective (village in the treeline, background), I bring the light machine gun (red team) as much as I can to the front. Team green (sub machine gunners) and me will be making the last bound towards the objective.|
|Team green and me closing in towards the objective. We found just three German infantry men hiding in the crops.|
|All the squad was then ordered forward into the objective for re-grouping and consolidation. No casualties! Any day you get your men unscathed from the ferocious rate of fire of the German MG42 is a good day.|