I just read a very interesting article in the latest issue of Armchair General on the Red Army Tankers or tankisti. I thought about how some of the facts regarding Soviet tanks in WWII could be incorporated into an Eastern Front expansion. I am posting these ideas to get input from other players and in the hopes that FFG will read this post and take into account some of this information to maybe incorporate it into an Eastern Front expansion.
According to the Armchair General article, the workhorse tank of the Russina military in WWI was the T-34. The article said that especially in the beginning stages of the war, most T-34s did not have radio communications, which caused the Russian attacks to be disjointed. Later in the war the Russians got radios for their upgraded T-34s from a Lend-Lease program from the United States. I was thinking that to reflect this in the rules, you could have a scenario specific rule that only allowed the Russians to move one or two tanks per turn to reflect their lack of radio communications in the early T-34s.
I also read something in this article that I found very interesting. It stated that tank-infantry cooperation was a hallmark of the Red Army. In essence, the Russians would use tankodesantniki or tank riders, where swarms of infantrymen would ride atop a T-34 into battle, and then dismount to fight. The article pointed out that this tactic was not exclusive to the Russian Army, but it was used very effectively by the Russians. I could see this tactic translating easily into Tide of Iron with an Operations Card that allowed a country to use this tactic. Basically, a tank could carry one or two infantry units (just like a truck or half-track). However, the infantry would not benefit from the vehicle's armor because the infantry are riding on the outside of the tank. Thus, if a tank took four hits, but its armor protected it against four hits, the tank would be unscathed. However, if four infantry were riding on the tank, they'd be blown away, leaving some nifty blood-spatter on the tank but leaving the tank virtually unharmed.
What do you think?
"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content."
Conan, from "Queen of the Black Coast," by Robert E. Howard