The Trepper-Sukolov Group operated in Belgium, and this article is an overview of their somewhat complex history.
The Soviets favored Belgium as a spy base because it was close to other countries, and had good commercial cover opportunities. Businessmen could travel freely on the continent, and to the British Isles without attracting attention. The authorities were somewhat indifferent to espionage, as long as it was not against Belgium. For these reasons, the GRU used the country widely in the 1930s as a training ground and base for its agents.
Soviet Spy Network Development
Spy networks had to be created, and the Soviet intelligence approach was for Moscow headquarters to send lists of spy candidates to the diplomatic representative. These contained the persons’ necessary background information. Strict care was observed to reject people who had been outspoken in public as Communist sympathizers. Their suitability and dependability was already established by the Director.
They were mobilized by an induction order designating a time and place for them to appear, along with detailed instructions for recognition signals, methods, and cover. Their intelligence officer contacts received similar orders. This system was practical for filling slots in networks with clocklike precision.
The Belgian networks of the Rote Kapelle were made up of: (1) Agents who had been working for the Comintern for many years, such as: Johannes Wenzel, (2) Soviet officers, such as: Leopold Trepper, and (3) Agents recruited by Trepper, such as Herman Isbutsky.
The following table shows many that were active in the Trepper-Sukolov Group in the years from 1938 through the end of 1941. Trepper was the leader from December 1938 to July 1940. He fled to France when Germany invaded the Low Countries. His Deputy, Victor Sukolov stayed and rebuilt the network under the German occupation, until he was compromised, and forced to escape in late 1941.
A third network picked up the pieces and operated under Konstantin Jeffremov. It was marginally effective. In Summer 1942, it was detected and its members arrested and imprisoned. An organization table of the Trepper-Sukolov network follows.
Trepper-Sukolov Group Organization
The first “cover” company for the network was the The Foreign Excellent Raincoat Company.
Trepper started this cover before the spy operation was launched. He believed that satisfactory spying could only be accomplished with a commercial cover. This could finance the espionage, and help avoid suspicion. Cover firms, or “shadow enterprises” had existed many years before in Europe, and were employed successfully during World War I.
Trepper turned to Leon Grossvogel, a former Comintern agent that had been employed by the Brussels firm, Roi du Caoutchouc, since 1929. In 1935, he managed the foreign subsidiary, the Excellent Raincoat Company. But, he was unpopular with his employers and in 1937, he became the firm’s traveling inspector.
Grossvogel proposed setting up an independent subsidiary company in the same business. His employers agreed and put up half the funds, and held half interest. Grossvogel owned half, and appointed Louis Kapelowitz, Abraham Lerner, Moses Padawer, and Jules Jaspar as Directors. The new company was the Foreign Excellent Raincoat Company.
Germany seized The Foreign Excellent Raincoat Company when it invaded Belgium in 1940. And, with the departure of Trepper and Grossvogel to France, a new cover company was needed. In March 1941, Viktor Sukolov set up and registered SIMEXCO in Brussels, with he and Nazarin Druilly as principal stockholders.
This was a “sister” firm to SIMEX, that was set up in France by Grossvogel. SIMEXCO was a genuine business and was granted telephone and telegraph facilities by the German authorities. The business was in general dealings and contracting supporting German occupation.
Sukolov set up a W/T operation, and established good communication with the new Trepper Group in France. Likely, many of Trepper’s intelligence messages to Moscow were sent through this W/T.
Sukolov fled from Brussels in December 1941 to France, and Nazarin Drailly took over the company management. The 1941 SIMEXCO profits were 1090000 Francs. Later, in July 1942, after the spy operation was detected by the German III N Ast, the firm was sold to Louis Thevenet, who was not not involved with espionage.
Important Intelligence Provided
The Belgium operation’s main value was in wireless transmission to Moscow. They could operate transmitters without suspicion more easily than in other countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or France. Couriers could enter and leave Belgium more easily also.
In particular, Sukolov received reports from the German Harnack and Schulze-Boysen groups via courier, and to relayed from Belgium by wireless to Moscow. And, as stated earlier, Sukolov was handling W/T to Moscow for the Trepper Group in France in 1941.
Among the reports produced by the German groups and passed to Moscow by means of Sukolov ‘s transmitter in Brussels were the following: a. Information about the strength of the Luftwaffe at the outbreak of the Russo-German war. b. The monthly production figures of the German aircraft industry for June and July 1941. c. Advance information about the German attack on the Maikop oil fields. d.Figures on the losses of German parachutists in Crete.
The W/T operators were Johann Wenzel, Mikhail Makarov, and Anton Danilov. Wenzel’s W/T was in Brussels, and Makarov’s was in Ostende, but the facility was destroyed by German bombing in May, 1940, and he fled to Brussels and set up his own W/T there. Danilov was an assistant to Makarov.
Through his contacts with Bulgarian diplomatic circles, Trepper was able to tour the war-torn areas of Belgium in mid-May 1940, on the assumption that he was checking the damages to his business resources. He then wrote a lengthy report on his observations and discussions with people enroute, and forwarded it to Moscow.
“Andre” (Grossvogel), provided information concerning economy and industry, and “Romeo” (Isidor Springer) had contacts with US and Belgian diplomats.
As a member of SIMEXCO, Jean Passelecq became an active agent in the Sukolov network, supplying military intelligence to Sukolov himself, Isbutsky, and Drailly.
Sukolov Group after German Invasion of Belgium
Victor Sukolov, alias “Kent”
Victor Sukolov was born 7 November 1913 in St. Petersburg into a Jewish family, with name Anatoly Markovich Gurevich. He had many aliases, but the main ones were “Kent” and “Sierra.” In his teens, he was a factory worker and Komsomol member. He also had a gift for languages, and wanted to develop this for intelligence work.
Sukolov volunteered for the Spanish Civil War, hoping it would boost his career. He made the rank of Captain, and afterward was extensively trained in espionage techniques by the GRU in Moscow. He learned about equipment, photography, and chemistry.
In 1938, he was posted to France. He visited Berlin in April 1939 to reactivate the Schulze-Boysen network, and initiate a courier service between Germany and Belgium. In July 1939, Sukolov entered Belgium as Uruguayan student at the University of Brussels. He used the cover name Vincent Sierra.
He delivered money and W/T technical information to Alexander Rado in Geneva in March 1940. Sukolov worked as Trepper’s assistant in Brussels until Trepper fled to France in July 1940. At that time, Sukolov was placed in charge of the Belgian network. As head of SIMEXCO, he was able to travel freely, and in 1940 and 1941 he made trips to France, Germany, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia on intelligence missions.
Members of the Belgium network were arrested in December 1941, and Sukolov escaped to France with his mistress Margarete Barcza. In January 1942 Sukolov reactivated a group of Czech agents in Marseilles, with cover of a branch of SIMEX, run by Jules Jaspar and Alfred Corbin.
He was arrested in Marseilles in November 1942. Ultimately, he was taken to Gestapo headquarters in Berlin for intensive interrogation. Agreeing to to cooperate, March 1943 Sukolov’s W/T playback to Moscow began. This continued until May 1945 from various locations.
The French captured him at Bludenz, Austria, 3 May 1945. He was turned over to the Soviet authorities, and ultimately imprisoned at Vorkonta. He was released in 1956, and afterward lived in St. Petersburg. He died in 2009.
Victor Sukolov in old age
Couriers were used extensively by the networks. Most couriers were aware of their package contents but some were used as “dummies.” The network chief usually sent couriers to fixed rendezvous points in neighboring countries, to make contact with Moscow couriers.
The courier system was slower than other means of communication, but was more secure for bulky documents, microfilm, or equipment.
Many techniques camouflaged intelligence material appearance for secure delivery. Agents were told to never appear to be handing over anything unusual to the contact. They used everyday objects for concealment, such as fountain pens, cigarettes, pocket or wrist watches, or match boxes. Reports were hidden between newspaper pages, which were pasted together. They could be concealed in shoe soles, or underneath trunk labels.
“The Rote Kapelle – The CIA’s History of Soviet Intelligence and Espionage Networks in Western Europe, 1936-1945”, University Publications of America, Inc
“Anatoly Gurevich”, Wikipedia
Alexander “Sandor” Radó alias DORA
Rado’s Radio Shack is the latest series of articles by David Galster that provides an overview of Soviet run spy networks in Europe during World War 2. The articles provide some interesting historical background information for Campaign Series: East Front III.
The Switzerland intelligence network, known as the Rote Drei, (Red Three) provided Moscow with much information on the German Army, its plans, and operations. The ringleader, Sandor Rado, coordinated the efforts of three sub-group leaders, codenames Sisi, Pakbo, and Long. In addition, he oversaw at least four radio operators, in various locations in Switzerland.
Sandor Rado Background
Rado was a Hungarian from Ujpest, near Budapest. He was born into a Jewish family in 1899, and after graduating from the gymnasium, was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. He attended officer training school, graduating in 1918, and was afterward assigned to an artillery regiment.
During this time, he also studied law as a correspondence student at the University of Budapest.
The academic environment, and political mood of the time influenced him to join the Hungarian Communist Party. After the fall of the monarchy, and subsequent Communist takeover in Hungary, he was assiged as a cartographer for a Hungarian Red Army Division.
Eventually Rado became the commissar for the division’s artillery, and was involved in fighting anti-communist insurgents. But, when the Hungarian Communist regime fell in September 1919, Rado fled to Austria.
At the University of Austria, he studied geography and wrote on military topics for the German-language Magazine Kommunismus, published by Hungarian political refugees. In July 1920, he established Rosta-Wien, an information agency, which he used to spread propaganda broadcasts from the Soviet Union.
Later, Rado moved to Germany, and prepared for the Communist uprising there. But, the badly planned revolution failed, and he went to the Soviet Union in 1924, where he worked for World Economy Institute of the Communist Academy.
In 1926, he returned to Germany, and established the Berlin cartographic agency “Pressgeography”. Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 caused him to flee to Paris. There, he formed an independent anti-Nazi press agency, “Impress.”
With the arrival of Prime Minister Pierre Laval, French policies became more sympathetic to Nazi Germany, and suspicious of Communists and left-wing activists. Rado began planning to move to another country. During this time, the deputy chief of Soviet military intelligence, Artur Artuzov approached him, and recruited Rado as an intelligence agent to spy on Nazi Germany.
Rado first sought residence in Belgium, but having his request denied, he obtained approval on a residence permit in Switzerland. Geneva was his choice because the League of Nations was there, with potential information contacts. In Geneva, Rado set up a cover business, GeoPress Agency, ostensibly to make maps.
Forming the Spy Ring
Starting in 1937, Rado began obtaining contacts and information on the Italian military, and its support of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. The “Center,” as the GRU HQ was called, was interested in information about Italian troop transfers to Spain.
In La Spezia, Italy, Rado observed three warships loading troops and supplies. He was even able to gain access to board the cruiser, “Giovanni delle Bande Nere.” He passed this information to his Paris handler, codename “Koyla.”
Later, Koyla authorized Rado to be the group head in Switzerland. A new contact, Otto Puenter was introduced and assigned to Rado to contact other sources. Puenter’s codename was “Pakbo.” Thus began the spy ring, with Rado, codename “Dora” as the leader.
In the years 1938 and 1939, Rado developed the group. He gained two other sub-group leaders,
Rachel Duebendorfer, codename “Sisi,” and Georges Blun, codename “Long.”
Ultimately, the sub-group leaders made contacts with well-connected sources, that provided very valuable information. In the years of 1939 to 1941, there were at least nine sources: Codenames Poisson, Gabel, Louise, Salter, Agnessa, Grau, Taylor, and two others that were not identified.
The subgroup leader Sisi, or Rachel Duebendorfer would later find a source, codename “Lucy,” with contacts in the German High Command. This was a 1943 development. Lucy, identified as Rudolf Roessler, got information from sources, with codenames “Werther,” “Teddy,” “Olga,” and “Anna.”
The identity of these was never confirmed by direct testimony or documentation. However, a CIA study suspects these were: General Hans Oster, Abwehr chief of staff Hans Bernd Gisevius, German politician Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, and General Fritz Boetzel, Intelligence Chief for Army Group Centre. These sources became available to Rote Drei in 1943, useful in the battle of Kursk.
Rachel Duebendorfer, “Sisi”
The following table describes the basic organization of the Rote Drei regarding sources and sub-group leaders.
Rote Drei Organization
Intelligence Gathered 1939-42
Here are some important messages that Rote Drei transmitted to the “Director” in Moscow between 1939 and 1942. They predicted both the invasions of Poland and Russia by the Germans.
In 1939, Gabel provided: “. . disposition of Italian army land and air units, Italian military industry and shipbuilding, and arms for Franco.”
In 1939 Poisson sent: “Hitler government was preparing to seize Danzig (Gdansk)”
and 1940: “According to the Japanese attaché, Hitler said that after a quick victory in the West, a German-Italian offensive would begin on Russia.”
In 1941 Geodress sent: “Rommel said: The time of our action against Russia is just around the corner … We do not expect much resistance.”
In 1941 a Swiss Factory Official reported: “On the Soviet-German border there are about 100 infantry divisions, of which one third are motorized. In addition, there are 10 armored divisions In Romania.”
In 1941 Louise learned: “Germany now has 150 divisions in the East.”
In late 1941 Agnessa said: “SS divisions on Eastern Front were almost completely destroyed, and selection of replacments underway.”
In 1942 Salter said: “Romanian government promised the Germans six more divisions for spring offensive.”
In 1942 Taylor reported: “The numbering of German units that were in battles in the East Front southern sector, especially between the Don and the Donets, as well as in the Donbas and the Crimea: Panzer divisions: No. 75 11, 14, 16, 22; etc . . .”
In 1942 Grau said: “From December 7 until early March, there was no sending of Hungarian reinforcements to the Eastern Front. At the beginning of the new year, Hungarian divisions were recalled from Ukraine. In early March, on the right bank of the Dnieper were 5 Hungarian divisions and the 41st Motorized Brigade.”
In 1942 the Uruguayan Ambassador said: “a skirmish (political) between Hitler and Mussolini: the Fuehrer accused the Italians that they were badly helping him in the fight against Russia. He demanded 25 mountain divisions for the Eastern Front and 30 divisions for Greece, Yugoslavia, Holland and Belgium.”
Radio Transmission Network
In 1940, Rado contacted Alexander Foote, an English Soviet agent in Switzerland who had worked for Ursula Kuczynski’s network in 1938. Foote became a radio operator for Rado’s intelligence network, and in March 1941 managed to establish radio communication with Moscow Center from Lausanne. Foote, codename “Jim” became the first radio operator for the Rote Drei.
Later, Rado recruited Edmond Hamel, a radio shop owner in Geneva, as an additional operator, codename “Edward.” Hamel’s wife, Olga also agreed to train as an operator, codename “Maud.” Hamel furnished his own radio equipment.
Margarita Bolly first served as a courier, but she began training on Morse code and by the summer of 1942 was a wireless operator for the group, under codename “Rosa.” She also worked from Geneva, with a radio transmitter set up in a separate apartment, with Rado paying the rent. Ultimately, the group had two transmitters in Geneva, at separate locations, and one in Lausanne.
In March 1940, the “Center” sent a technician, codename “Kent” (Victor Sukolov,) from Brussels to Switzerland for a brief period to help organize radio transmission equipment and procedures. He also provided codebooks for encryption and trained Jim on the procedures.
In addition, Kent gave tips on transmission. They were required to compose radiograms in German, using Morse code. Each operator had a separate callsign. The radio wavelengths, and transmission times were to be varied, as a defense against direction finding.
Typical Radio Message
Here is the plaintext for an early message sent from Rote Drei:
21.2.41. To the Director.
According to data received from the Swiss intelligence officer, Germany now has 150 divisions in the East, In his opinion, Germany’s attack will begin in late May.
The Red Army had fairly standardized encryption methods, but there were mostly done manually using code tables out of codebooks. The 8th Department of Intelligence Directorate, GRU was responsible for encryption methods.
Soviet agents operating ‘illegally’ (with no diplomatic cover) did not have access to a regular supply of codebooks. A simpler system was to memorize a simple letter to figure conversion table, using a six-letter keyword to encode their messages.
The letters of the keyword were assigned numbers according to their position in the alphabet. The keyword was changed at intervals from Moscow. For example, “Talmud” would become 513462. The unused digits 7, 8, 9, and 0 are used as the tens of the cipher digraphs. Then the alphabet would be A= 1 B=70 C=71 D=2 E=71 and so on.
Keywords sometimes came from literary works, and in one instance the Director ordered Sisi to use
“The Storm Over the House”, Ebers Publishing House, page 471, with additional instructions.
This explanation on the next page is from the book, “Compromise of Soviet codes in WWII.” It shows this procedure in more detail, although it uses the Cyrillic alphabet. The Rote Drei probably used the Latin alphabet, since they were ordered to transmit in German.
Rote Drei was able to get some codebooks, and it may have been that that they also use tables like the one shown below to encode messages. The letters, numerals, and punctuation are in the cells of a 10×10 table. Commonly used words are also placed below letters. The rows and columns are numbered in a random sequence, which changes frequently. A letter is encoded by taking the row number first and then the column number. This is a 2-digit system. The Cyrillic letter T = 38.
The Rote Drei network was in Switzerland, and had a good size for information gathering. With four radio operators and three transmission sites, they had backups in case one was compromised. This group provided advance warning of the impending German invasion of Russia in 1941, with at least three independent sources providing warnings. So it seems that the Rote Drei provided good intelligence to the Soviet Union in the early years of WWII. Rado received the Order of Lenin in 1943.
“Under the Pseudonym Dora”, Sandor Rado memoirs
“Alexander Rado”, Wikipedia
“Rote Drei Communist Espionage Network”, Arthur Bauer
“Red Orchestra”, Wikipedia
“Compromise of Soviet Codes in WWII”, Christos T.
Alexander “Sandor” Radó alias DORA
Rado’s Radio Shack is the latest series of articles by David Galster that provides an overview of Soviet run spy networks in Europe during World War 2. The articles provide some interesting historical background information for Campaign Series: East Front III.
This post will tell the tale of two automated AI vs. AI playtests of the Campaign Series: Vietnam VN_600325_Vinh_An scenario, the first with the LAI/SAI (Legacy AI, Scripted AI) working in tandem, the second employing the LAI only (no scripting).
In the historical battle of Vinh An (from the scenario briefing notes):
Early in 1960, Viet Cong activities had become more prevalent in the Mekong Delta region. It was commonplace for the ARVN military to conduct road clearing and sweeping operations in hopes of catching the Viet Cong in the open. Road sweeping operations typically meant clearing mines and roadblocks for supply traffic to move freely from district to another. While these were standard affairs, one such operation culminated into a full scale ambush by the newly created Viet Cong U Minh Main Force battalion. This battalion would be the bane of the ARVN divisions operating in the area for years to come. In this case, it is the 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 21st ARVN Division that would have their teething experience on QL 12 during a road clearing and sweeping operation.
In short, this scenario is thus a basic convoy ambush type scenario.
In the screenshot following:
The VC 1st Coy lies in wait in the vicinity of Vinh An.
The VC 2nd Coy is directed to sit tight, then attack Xom Ben Luong if and when fighting erupts around Vinh An.
The VC 3rd Coy is set to ambush any ARVN forces moving northwards up Highway 12.
The ARVN 2 Coy, the road clearing convoy, is ordered to move northward up Highway 12, and clear any mines or roadblocks in its path, then veer eastward to Vinh An. Meanwhile, the mine clearing engineers are to continue up the road northward, eventually as far as Xom Ban Oi.
Beginning at Turn 5 (or possibly sooner, if the ARVN 2 Coy is attacked), the ARVN 1st Coy is directed to load onto trucks, then motor up Highway 12 as far as Xom Ben Luong, also with the mission to clear any mines or roadblocks discovered along the way.
Beginning at Turn 5 (or possibly sooner), the ARVN Weapons Coy is to load onto trucks, then proceed up along the left river bank as far northward as Kinh Song Trem Trem, there to provide fire support for ARVN 1st Coy. (Moving anywhere beyond that point is too slow going.)With the SAI/LAI working in tandem, how did the first playtest play out? Let’s see (the situation at the end of Turn 13):
The ARVN 2nd Coy and VC 1st Coy are fighting to control Vinh An. The mine clearing engineers (with engineer trucks close behind them) continue on their primary mission.
The VC 2nd Coy has taken Xom Ban Luong. If the fight for Vinh An goes too badly, the VC 2nd Coy is directed to help out the VC 1st Coy in that fight.
After hitting a minefield along Highway 12 just beyond Xom Chac Bang, the ARVN 1st Coy was indeed ambushed by the VC 3rd Coy. The ARVN Weapons Coy assists from just across the river.
A second ARVN engineer company has trucked northward to, hopefully, clear the minefield just northeast of Xom Chac Bang.In other words, this scenario has pretty much developed as intended: an ambush, and a main fight around Vinh An.Hmm, I wonder what would happen if we remove the SAI (Scripted AI) and let the LAI (Legacy AI) alone play itself. Let’s find out:
The VC1st & 2nd Coys operate about the same as in the first autoplaytest.
The ARVN 2nd Coy abandons its road clearing mission and retreats back down Highway 12 to Xom Vam Chac Bang.
The VC 3rd Coy moves cross country northeastward and away from Highway 12. There is no ambush!
Leaving its trucks behind, The ARVN 1st Coy marches on foot up Highway 12 only as far Ap Vinh Dong.
The ARVN Weapons Coy stays put, goes nowhere.More or less the end result (also at the end of Turn 13; there is little change after that point):
The VC are clustered around Xom Ben Luong and Vinh An to the north.
The ARVN cower in fear midway along Highway 12.
Many ARVN lie dormant to the southwest around Kien Long.
Except for incidental clashes, there has been very little combat.
In this unscripted autoplaytest, it played out entirely unhistorically, and with near total disregard of the scenario designer’s intent.Now imagine if you the human were to play one side or the other vs. the opposing (a) SAI/LAI tandem or (b) LAI only.
Will this game’s AI be perfect? No. Will it be better than ever? We think so!
I have just finished putting together a second iteration of the Finnish order of battle for Campaign Series: East Front III, a platoon-scale tactical wargame covering battles in WW2 Eastern Front in 1939-1941. This blog post supplements the previous German and Romanian OOB posts by Jason Petho, and Scott Cole, respectively.
Finnish Army in Campaign Series: East Front III
As those familiar with history know, Finland participated in the Second World War battling the Soviet Union at two occasions, and then once against Nazi Germany pushing them out from the country. In this regard, Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against, then for, the overall interests of the Allied powers.
A lone guard on skis. Petsamo 1940.02.01 (SA-kuva.fi)
As East Front III 1.0 will cover the years 1939-1941, the relevant conflicts are the invasion of Finland by Soviet Union in 1939, known as Winter War, and the subsequent Finnish participation in Operation Barbarossa, dubbed Continuation War.
The war against Nazi Germany to liberate Finnish Lapland will be featured in an East Front III sequel covering the years 1944-45 and is not covered in this article.
Winter War Order of Battle
The Winter War began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. This provides a relatively short period of time in regard of Order of Battle design, and will be implemented as a holistic, independent data set.
In addition to Finnish Army, the Swedish Volunteer Corps will be added as another independent formation to game’s data set under Finland nation ID 41.
Finnish Army will be covered in detail from Army Corps to Platoons, as there were no Army level formations in Winter War. There will be generic formations available under the standard TO&E information, with each and every historical division also represented in the data:
Being an artillery reservist myself, I took an additional effort to depict each and every historical artillery formation to the game as well, from Artillery Regiments to independent Batteries. As Winter War was a short but violent battle, each artillery formation will additionally be depicted as how they started the war, and how their strength was in February 1940, with one more month of war to go:
Swedish Volunteer Corps
While most WW2 history geeks are aware that Sweden maintained their neutrality during the conflict, a less known fact perhaps is that during Winter War, Sweden simply declared themselves a “non co-belligerent” state instead. In other words, they did not maintain a strict neutrality as such.
Perhaps the concrete example of Sweden’s aid to Finland at this critical hour were the Swedish Volunteer Corps. Svenska frivillligkåren (in Swedish) were roughly a Brigade sized, well equipped formation, with some 9 650 Swedish volunteers choosing to join Winter War together with Finland. As part of the Corps, Sweden also sent approximately one third of their most moder airforce fleet (Gloster Gladiator fighters and Hawker Hart bombers) to Finland to accompany the volunteer pilots.
“Finland’s Cause is Yours – Come join the Volunteer Corps!”
Swedish Volunteer Corps played an important part occupying a wide front in Finnish Lapland, with the brave young volunteers willingly having risked their life for the sake of their Nordic neighbor. To honor their commitment, the Swedish Volunteer Corps are deservedly a part of the Winter War order of battle as an independent and full organization:
Continuation War Order of Battle
The Continuation War began some fifteen months after the end of the Winter War, with Finnish Army commencing their attack against Soviet Union in 10 July, 1941. The war would continue until September 1944, when Finland agreed to a cease-fire with USSR. For the purposes of East Front III 1.0, the initial Finnish Army formations will cover the year of 1941.
In addition to Finnish Army, no additional formations will be added to the data set, with Finnish Volunteer SS Battalion being a likely candidate for addition to a future East Front III sequel covering the years 1942-43. It is true parts of the Finnish volunteers fought already in 1941 in Waffen-SS division Wiking, but as they were integrated into the unit, instead of being an independent formation as the III/Nordland was (as of January 1942), they will not be depicted in the data sets for the first year of war.
Looking at the order of battle data, this time there will be a complete Finnish Army formation available from the Army level down to Platoons, again with generic TO&E based generic formations, and each and every division depicted in all their detail, too:
As with Winter War, all historical artillery formations are covered as well. With the hodgepodge set of various makes and models of artillery pieces, this was my favourite part of the OOB design, and I do hope you enjoy the historical details included in the game!
As a little something to look forward, all this detail in order of battle design will make it possible to add a plethora of nice little detail to the game.
Here’s the Finnish 3D unit bases with nine different designs available at the time of writing this article!
Finnish 3D unit bases (work in progress), from left to right:
Generic Finnish Army
Winter War Finnish Army
Winter War Swedish Volunteer Corps
Continuation War Finnish Army
Continuation War Armored
Finnish Volunteer SS Battalion (not included in 1.0)
Winter War Finnish Air Force
Winter War Swedish Volunteer Corps Air Force
Continuation War Finnish Air Force
As Jason pointed out in his German OOB blog, Order of Battle creation is a labour of love with many challenges part of the job.
I do concur with him that, with addition of Winter War and Continuation War Finns (and Swedes!) to the game database, we’re making every effort to ensure that you will have the most accurate organizations to build your East Front scenarios, once the game is out!
In Hack’s Hardcore Hints series, David Galster shares some of his scenario design toolkits for Campaign Series: Vietnam, a work-in-progress tactical platoon-scale wargame.
It’s a pleasure, Campaign Series Wargamers,
Have you ever played a scenario, starting with a pristine battlefield, yet knowing that there had been previous combat at the location? Not realistic right? Well, there is a way to put artillery craters on the game map – right from the start. So now you can see, (in 3D mode,) shellholes on the very first turn. This is like the Campaign Series Vietnam scenario editor option to rubble cities. However, the craters must be added by manipulating the *.scn file itself, and not with the scenario editor.
Crater Code Basics
In the game engine, all crater codes start with 13, then have the X coordinate, Y coordinate, and a firing points number. (12, 16, 30, 48, are a few.) There are single spaces in between. The code line for a hex with craters looks like:
13 2 10 48
So to “pre-crater” a scenario, first open the scenario file, (*.scn) using Notepad ++ or jEdit that has the ability to add or modify text. Then add the code lines in the “Unit Data” section.
Generating with EXCEL
These can be generated by an EXCEL spreadsheet if you have a pattern that you want, and can define by coordinates. The variation numbers can be picked from a column file using a random number generator. Be careful not to put craters over trench hexes, or it will negate the trench. Since they are there for visual effect only, be careful not to put them on top of other functional scenario elements like trenches, mines, etc.
A set of crater codes in a scenario file looks like this:
13 2 12 16
13 2 14 48
13 2 16 30
13 2 18 36
13 2 20 30
The spreadsheet will generate codes in a group of cells. These can be pasted into Notepad++, using unformatted text, but they will be tab delimited. They will look like this:
13 2 10 48
13 2 12 48
13 2 14 16
13 2 16 36
13 2 18 68
To replace the tabs with spaces, (you can see the tabs by toggling the “paragraph” key, ¶,) perform a “find” on “→” and replace with a single space. Use the “replace all” option in Notepad++. Then, they will be in a form that can be copied an pasted into the *.scn file. These need to be located in the “Unit Data” section, and can be placed just before the “data footer” part of the scenario file.
You may wonder about the significance of the fourth number, like 48, 16, 36, etc. That number is the cumulative number of points fired on that hex. From 1 to 23, there is a smaller pattern of five craters. From 24 to 47 the pattern has 11 craters, and for 48 and above it has 14.
In CS Vietnam, they look like this:
Trio of Possible Crater Patterns
Sample Scenario File with Craters
Here is an example of a scenario file and what it looks like with the crater codes added. See the boldface codes near bottom, just above the data footer.
So after you modified the scenario file, go ahead and start a new game, and in the 3D mode, look at the area where you wanted craters. There should be artillery crater holes of various patterns, making the battlefield look like the random, tattered mess that any should look like after only a few hours combat.
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Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.