Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dreadnought*

The massive Klimenti Voroshilov Two (KV-2) assault howitzer rolled to a stop. The driver, one Private Pavel Ivanovich Zhukov from a tiny village in the Urals, kept complaining that the "road is mushy Comrade Captain, there is too much mud, he wants to slide into the ditch."

Captain Pyotr Sergeivich Yershov had felt it as well, the road was churned up from the heavy vehicle traffic in the area. A fast moving rain shower had provided just enough moisture to muddy the road. As one of the few good roads in this part of Lithuania, both the Soviets and the Nazis had been on it since the German invasion just a few days before.

Captain Yershov hated to admit it, but they were somewhat lost. He thought they might not be too far from Kaunas, but he wasn't sure. He had traveled a lot in the Baltic states prior to the war. But he had been young and had paid perhaps a bit less attention to the countryside than he had to the young ladies in his youth group.

"Take it easy for a few minutes, boys. I need to talk to the infantry."

As Yershov climbed down the side of the massive turret, an infantry sergeant major came over, but not before yelling at one rustic looking private that his hole needed to be a lot deeper or the fascists would surely make his young wife a widow.

"Tovarishch Kapitan! I am Sergeant Major Tikhonov, 72nd Infantry. My major is busy looking for the rest of our battalion, what can I do for you?

"Da, Starshiy Serzhant, is your infantry to stay and defend this crossroads? As we," gesturing to the KV-2, "have no prior engagements, perhaps we can stay and help. We too have no idea where the rest of our battalion is."

In truth in the few short days since the German Army Group North had rolled across the border into the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic nothing had gone to plan. The fascists were seemingly everywhere, their thrice-damned Stuka bombers were unopposed. More than one curse had been levied at the Red Air Force. Of course, the captain had no way of knowing that most of that force had been caught, and destroyed, on the ground.

"Yes, Tovarishch Kapitan, our orders are to hold here until we are relieved."

"Very good Starshiy Serzhant Tikhonov of the 72nd Infantry, we shall..."

Yershov paused.

"What is your full name?"

Drawing himself rigidly to attention, the soldier barked, "Starshiy Serzhant Ivan Petrovich Tikhonov at your service, Tovarishch Kapitan!"

"Very well, Ivan Petrovich, I look forward to killing fascists with you!"

Whistling, the captain strolled back to his vehicle. With infantry in support, they had a chance. As long as those damned Stukas stayed away!


And so begins another of my sojourns into writing historical fiction. Valued reader Bret suggested that one of my endeavors to craft something entertaining might well be turned to the subject of that lone KV-2 at the Battle of Raseiniai in Lithuania which I posted about the other day.

I've done a bit more research on the topic, I didn't realize (though I should have) that the battle took place in the first week of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. That there was a bit more to the fight than a lone Soviet vehicle I should have known. There were infantry in the area, also a few KV-1s, the Dreadnought's smaller cousin.

While the plot for a full novel has yet to coalesce in my fevered brain, I have snippets of stories that may or may not be weaved one day into a vast tapestry of...

Yeah, yeah, calm down Sarge, let's not put the cart before the horse.

MrGarabaldi, there will be Czech-built tanks running hither and yon, maybe even a Soviet 122 mm gun or two lobbing shells at the Germans for our man Paweł. I also think LoFan John might be onto something with his suspicion that perhaps Hollywood used this story as the basis of the film Fury, which is, as you know, a Sarge favorite.

I might even scrape together a photo or two of smashed up German panzers for Juvat. Though I daresay a busted up Soviet tank would do just as well, I mean Juvat and I are old timey Cold War types, when the Soviets were the bogeyman and their equipment was extensively used by the folks we tended to regard as "the bad guys."

Stay tuned.

"Ich habe dir gesagt, dass der Hurensohn groß war!"
("I told ya the sumbitch was big!")

(Source)





Sources
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/battle-raseiniai-1941-single-kv-tank-stopped-entire-german-kampfgruppe.html/2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Raseiniai
http://www.warlordgames.com/scenario-monster-in-the-road-the-battle-of-raseiniai/
http://forum-console.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/205825-kv-2-premium-tank-ideas-pzkw-kv-ii-battle-of-raseiniai-kv-2/
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2617567&mpage=1&key=Fast%2CBoys%2CSuper%2CBelgians&#2617567
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kliment_Voroshilov_tank


* The crews called the vehicle this, though probably "дредноут." Being Russians and all.

48 comments:

  1. Da.....da....Sarge.

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  2. So, your Tiger was caught in the open by P-47s and B-25Hs, in full squadron strength? Hence the story ending?

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    1. Nope, that story will be continued. Think back to the very first post in that series, the opening photo. That will give you a clue.

      We will be revisiting that Tiger, well more specifically her crew, eventually.

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  3. Chris, I won't say that you are wasting your time on your "real" job, but I swear that there are, at the very least, a couple of bang up novels just aching to be put to paper within you. Any man who looks forward to killing fascists has a story that needs to be shared. Just think, you could write each day at home. No traffic to deal with. No boss, and no wasteful meetings to attend. You would only have to answer to the feline staff.

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    1. 'Tis the plan for my "retirement." Which will occur in less than two years.

      That's the plan, hopefully the plan will survive contact with the enemy.

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  4. I still haven't quite finished reading "Between Giants - The Battle for the Baltics in World War II" by Prit Buttar. Not much glory in the fighting in that part of Europe, just lots of slogging.

    Being half Lithuanian, I understand more now why mom's side of the family emigrated before the turn of the century. Cold, wet, and ground closer to swamp in most places - worse as you go north into Estonia.

    Also kind of depressing, comparing the political infighting of the 20's to early 40's in "little Lithuania" to what it was in the 13th-15th Centuries as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and even the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the 1600's (Battle of Vienna!)

    /
    L.J.

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    1. Wow, that looks like a "must have" book! I checked it out on Amazon, fascinating.

      A good friend of mine in high school was of Lithuanian descent. The Baltic States had a raw deal over most of the 20th Century. Lithuania was once rather a big deal in Eastern Europe.

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    2. Just be prepared, it's not a rip-roaring read. More the scholarly review of who-did-what-when-where-and-to-whom.

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    3. Oh dear. Written by a scholar is it?

      The books I like to call, "Why people find history boring." Maybe I'll see if the library has it rather than spend my hard earned cash.

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  5. "I might even scrape together a photo or two of smashed up German panzers for Juvat. Though I daresay a busted up Soviet tank would do just as well, I mean Juvat and I are old timey Cold War types, when the Soviets were the bogeyman and their equipment was extensively used by the folks we tended to regard as "the bad guys."

    Whatchu mean "were", Willis?

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    1. Well, in my defense the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics no longer exists, I mean they're like defunct, pushing up the daisies and joined the choir invisible, that is we won. Or so I was told. So past tense. Not saying that there aren't new bad guys using Russian stuff, some of which was designed during the bad old days of the USSR.

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    2. Ahh, now I get it, terminology. I never referred to them as Soviets. Russians or Communists were my descriptors, usually with a preceding modifier.

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    3. It's all about semantics I suppose.

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    4. Hold on thar!
      Watch who you call, “Willis.”
      Some of is ate a little touchy about the use of our given names.

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    5. Yeah Juvat, what were you thinking?

      (That's called piling on...)

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    6. Sheesh, two posts in a row!

      Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! Mea Maxima Culpa!

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    7. Bad boy, bad boy. Watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boy, bad boy.

      (I watched that show way too much in the late '80s, early '90s.)

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    8. It's still on, by the way. Along with "Live PD." Another addictive tv reality cop show. And much better when recorded so you can zip through the commercials.

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    9. I knew that, though I seldom watch TV these days, unless you count Netflix and Amazon. Which I don't. No commercials.

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    10. Sometimes I forget that one grows old, and that includes this one.
      I can remember going laden to the sponson & seeing Soviet trawlers--yes, young 'uns, Soviet, not Russian--shadowing my first carrier, waiting to pick up our floating trash & garbage (the CCCP was defunct by the time my second made its cruise). I can recall the 1MC instructions not to throw away anything useful to them, as if we ever would. Useful was out, but nobody said anything about disgusting, so we often included some nastiness for our opposite numbers to dig through. Bear in mind, too, that "nasty", to a sailor, is pretty damned bad.
      --Tennessee Budd

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    11. Hahaha!

      Good on you Tennessee!

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  6. Nice job. It is sometimes hard to think of Russians as just people, rather than 'The Enemy' in whatever form they are in today, well, at least as it pertains to whatever the Russians have as a government and the military arms of said government.

    There has always been a separation of 'The Russians' (enemy) from 'the Russians' (the people). Especially since, well, for a long time one of the biggest enemies of 'the Russians'(people) has been 'The Russians'(whatever government they are currently running.)

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    1. The guys who did the siding on my house (in a freezing mid-February) were Russian, (born there, emigrated when they were kids), and one Kazakh, yup, from there. He didn't speak much as his English wasn't very good. The Kazakh was in his forties, the others were all young guys in their 20s, nice kids, hard workers.

      I like the Russians, they have ever been ill-served by the people over them. Proves the point that all governments suck, just that our sucks less than all the rest.

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    2. A Freezing mid-February day in Rhode Island, eh? So the Russian workers were in shorts and t-shirts?

      Agree, government sucks.

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    3. No, they admitted to being cold. As the crew boss said, "Why do you think we left Russia? Too damn cold!"

      Daytime high, as I remember, was 10. Which is unusually cold for here.

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    4. I'm a shorts and sandals (no socks) type of guy down to about 40 degrees, depending on wind. I gotta keep my chest warm, though, so jacket or multiple shirts.

      Down to 20 degrees I'll put on socks and sandals.

      Below that I check to see if everyone around me is speaking in a Swedish accent and using chipper-shredders. Brrrr.

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  7. https://youtu.be/_myHyADCLq0?t=2m47s
    while taken from japanese anime depicting mock ww2 tank battles as sport that high school girls excel (dont ask, it's japan...)
    this is most close to reality vision of what would happen to pz38t hit by large caliber shell I have managed to find

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    1. Bombs from aircraft will roll a tank over like that as well. Plays Hell with the crew.

      (I get the whole Japan thing, an odd bunch to say the least.)

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    2. It is rather surprising to those not-in-the-know as to the number of tanks that were knocked out by high explosives, in comparison to armored piercing. 'Soft Kills' from overpressure killing the crew is one way that HE kills. There are descriptions of finding an 'abandoned' tank and realizing it's still occupied must be a spooky thing.

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    3. You have to hit really close to kill a tank with HE. Heck, guys out in the open have been killed by HE overpressure, wasn't a mark on 'em.

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    4. I think I remember 10' with a Mk-82 being the max miss distance to kill a tank. Mk-84 wasn't appreciably further. Getting a dumb bomb within that distance took a lot of skill and a fair amount of luck. LGB however.....sayonara....sucker!

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    5. Yeah, LGB you can pretty much put it down a hatch, right?

      Of course, a Mk-82 has a lot more "bang" than an artillery shell, even a 155 mm.

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    6. while indirect arty fire is extremely unlikely to hit target as small as tank,
      direct-firing howitzers like that on kv-2 - or later on soviet su-152 and isu-152 "beastslayers"
      are certainly not completely out of question
      reportedly there was similar use of 152mm sp howitzers in Ukraine lately...

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    7. Wouldn't surprise me if they've been used recently, the Russians never throw away old equipment.

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    8. It isn't even the projectiles causing overpressure. When The Big Badger Boat was firing on the Hitachi Steel works, she had to pull out of the firing line, as the overpressure from the guns in turret 2 was. snapping the supports for the radar on MK 37 director 1.

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    9. I should have put it isn't even just the projectiles. The "just" diappeared in posting. How odd.

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    10. Scott - On the receiving end it isn't the projectile, it's the boom which causes the overpressure. On the firing end it's the muzzle blast. But yes, a large projectile passing close by can screw you up big time.

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    11. Again, it isn't the projectile, it's the muzzle blast on the firing end and the boom on the receiving end. DAMHIK

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  8. Hey Old AFSarge;

    I anxiously await. Yep the Soviets didn't throw away nothing, they still had firecan radars in storage along with T34's

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    1. They have acres of stuff, just waiting. Fortunately a lot of it would take some renovation to make useful again. Except the AKs, nothing kills an AK.

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  9. Dreadnought...thought it would be about naval ships, maybe of the British influence...but tanks instead...cool! See, I can learn all kinds of history from all different eras reading this blog.
    Yet one more reason to check in here.
    And, yes, please write historical fiction that isn't dry as dead dust...I hate scholarly tombs!!

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    1. I was going to mention that the post wasn't about battleships, then figured that most folks would figure that out pretty quickly.

      Yes, I hate boring history, there's no need for it to be boring.

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  10. During the months before the German invasion, a delegation of Soviet specialists wanted to tour German tank production lines. Hitler said to give them full access. The Soviets were quite upset because they knew what they had started produce (T-34 and KV-1) and when they saw Pz-IIs, IIIs, and a relative handful of IVs with short-barreled guns, they were sure they weren't being shown the latest and greatest they'd been promised. Turned out, they were. I need to remember which one of my books has that story. I suspect it's on Kindle.

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    1. I did not know that, fascinating. The Germans sometimes believed their own propaganda. The T-34 and KVs were a big shock when they were encountered.

      Thanks Larry!

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    2. I think it was in "Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942 (Schwerpunkt)" by Robert Forczyk. The other possibility is "Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East" by David Stahel. Unless my mind is really playing tricks on me and it was actually a paper book.

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    3. I'll have to track those down, thanks Larry!

      (Your comment went to moderation as this post is over a week old, sorry about that. But I rescued it!)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)