Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bridging the gap

Over the past couple of months, O8 has been busy churning out Soviet engineering vehicles, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do a regimental pioneer company for my East Germans. 

When I was in the US Army a thousand years ago, engineers were one of two varieties: combat engineers and civil engineers. The civil type stayed in the rear areas and built/repaired roads, bridges, airports, dams, etc, for the use of the military, as well as for the friendlies in that country, the "IPs" (Indigenous Personnel - I won't go into the less flattering acronyms that we used to refer to the locals). Civils have no offensive capability and only limited defenses, generally geared towards anti-aircraft. Combat engineers on the other hand are expected to do their work in an actively hostile environment and they have full combat capability, both offensive and defensive. They are required to be able to defend themselves toe-to-toe against frontline combat troops and even to be able to go on the offensive, unsupported for short periods. 

Soviet/WarPac pioneers were something of a hybrid in comparison to their western counterparts, somewhat less offensive/defensive capability than combat engineers, relying more heavily on the line unit that they were attached to, but with considerably more fighting ability than civil engineers. 

In the early 1980s, the exact composition of a WarPac pioneer company varied depending on whether it was attached to an armored or motor rifle unit. I've opted for the later.  So, as the first part of my East German pioneers, I've finished a bridging platoon equipped with TMM-3 truck-launched bridges:

Each specially modified KrAZ-255B truck carried a single scissor bridge, 10.5 meters (approx 34 feet) in length and capable of supporting vehicles of up to 50 tons. Any number of the bridges could be connected end-to-end, providing a bridge of unlimited length. Variable height struts supported each bridge to depths of up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet):

A platoon attached to a motor rifle unit was normally four trucks and bridges, capable of spanning a river or ditch of 40 meters (131 feet). In the 1990's, the TMM-4 went into service, with an upgraded bridge capable of supporting 60 tons. 

And here's my platoon:

More engineering goodness (amongst other things) next time!

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