Attention Mapmakers: Soviet villages

Pitman

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Some time back, I used Google Earth to examine small villages/hamlets in southern Russia, in the geographic area roughly surrounding Kursk.

What I found surprised me, as the most common type of village that I saw had never been represented on ASL geoboards. These villages were long, narrow strips of wooden huts/houses that would stretch on either side of a road. Behind each hut/house would stretch a small field, garden, pasture, orchard, or what-have-you, typically enclosed by a wooden fence. These areas would typically be about one hex or two hexes in size, in ASL terms.

I was recently looking at a photo-essay with color photographs of the Soviet Union during the Stalin era and a couple of photographs showed exactly this type of village. I am including several examples below. The whole essay can be seen here: https://www.rferl.org/a/the-manhoff-archive/28359558.html

I think ASL geoboard designers ought to get to work designing some geoboards that feature this distinctive type of terrain.





 

Mister T

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Map 48 may be the closest we have to depict this, but the fences are missing. Whether the fences would be considered walls/hedges in ASL world is another story.
 

von Marwitz

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Map 48 may be the closest we have to depict this, but the fences are missing. Whether the fences would be considered walls/hedges in ASL world is another story.
Map 48 was also my first thought, which fits the bill quite exactly, I think.

It is, in its form, quite unique in our geo-board world, though. And fighting through it has a special feel to it because the straight lengths of road divide it quite handsomely if AFV or MG firelanes in Entrenchments are involved, while fighting from building to building along the road takes a lot of time.

Due to the layout of the hexes on a geoboard, it can't be much longer than it is on board 48. A variant of the board 48 style village could be a good candidate for a Fort board. I agree, that we could do with another village of this type.

von Marwitz
 

Pitman

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Map 48 was also my first thought, which fits the bill quite exactly, I think.

It is, in its form, quite unique in our geo-board world, though. And fighting through it has a special feel to it because the straight lengths of road divide it quite handsomely if AFV or MG firelanes in Entrenchments are involved, while fighting from building to building along the road takes a lot of time.

Due to the layout of the hexes on a geoboard, it can't be much longer than it is on board 48. A variant of the board 48 style village could be a good candidate for a Fort board. I agree, that we could do with another village of this type.

von Marwitz
Board 48 does not "fit exactly" what I have described and shown. It is closer than any other board but it is still a far cry from what it would need to be.
 

footsteps

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I don't know what any of those are from but only the last one even vaguely resembles what I am talking about.
The first and third (just the first sans Grain) have two villages along the long road. No 'backyards' as per your description, but still along the lines of lineal villages.

These were some of my earliest attempts at new designs. Probably ten years old.
 

zgrose

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I wonder if one would get the best look by running the village along an angle (i.e. J9->Y2) to get that nice orderly look and LOSes.

(edit) Ha, I just looked at board 48. Clearly the thought occurred to someone else, too!
 
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Michael Dorosh

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Map 48 may be the closest we have to depict this, but the fences are missing. Whether the fences would be considered walls/hedges in ASL world is another story.
I would agree with your latter.

I would be willing to suggest there were fewer fences in the 1940s, and their effect on movement and combat was likely very minimal. Rural USSR was extremely poor - and on the steppe, I imagine wood was at a premium.
 

GeorgeBates

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I like the Pitmap.

Huts makes sense. The fences aren't going to stop an MG fusilade or stand up to a grenade blast or the weight of 2 or 3 soldiers pushing on them. In fact, the splinters they would generate on units taking cover behind them could cause greater injury...
 
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Vinnie

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We were playing a CG on the Devil's Domain map and SSR'd the wooden buildings into huts for exactly that reason.
 

von Marwitz

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Given the "sturdiness" of some of those buildings, I would seriously consider SSRing them as huts. As for the fences, I would think hedge would be the closest thing in ASL terms.
I disagree. The houses were usually log-houses and thus much more sturdy than huts. A combination of SSR huts could work though if the artwork allows for 'hut' outlines mixed between normal wooden buildings.

von Marwitz
 

Michael Dorosh

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FWIW, without the drainage ditches, the Elst map does offer terrain somewhat similar to this, admittedly with a western European road net and lots of orchards/light trees.

Here you go, Mark. I even named it after you, so you have to like it. ;)
I like this as well, but I think the hedges (fences) between the fields are unnecessary. I just can't see those fences being of any real tactical advantage. They wouldn't mask movement behind them, they were probably rotten half the time and easily knocked over so therefore no impediment to movement. A squad trying to move laterally behind the houses (say, to redeploy) would spend 4 MF just moving 40 metres (1.5 per grain, 1 extra for crossing the hedge) and then unable to get into the next hex without Double Time.

In ASL terms, I think the hedges and walls in the game represent not just the physical structures, but also embankments, landscaping, foliage etc. Just as every LMG in the OB isn't on the map in counter form, not every wire fence or small hedge should be depicted on the map - only those that provide a significant tactical effect.
 

Yuri0352

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View attachment 1783 Here you go, Mark. I even named it after you, so you have to like it. ;)
This is a very nice map and one which seems to capture the spirit of the photos which Mark posted. I would love to see such a map published and included in future scenarios...If for no other reason than to never have to use the board 3 village ever again.
 

Sparafucil3

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This is a very nice map and one which seems to capture the spirit of the photos which Mark posted. I would love to see such a map published and included in future scenarios...If for no other reason than to never have to use the board 3 village ever again.
If you came up with scenarios using it, I am sure MMP would publish it. -- jim
 

footsteps

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FWIW, without the drainage ditches, the Elst map does offer terrain somewhat similar to this, admittedly with a western European road net and lots of orchards/light trees.



I like this as well, but I think the hedges (fences) between the fields are unnecessary. I just can't see those fences being of any real tactical advantage. They wouldn't mask movement behind them, they were probably rotten half the time and easily knocked over so therefore no impediment to movement. A squad trying to move laterally behind the houses (say, to redeploy) would spend 4 MF just moving 40 metres (1.5 per grain, 1 extra for crossing the hedge) and then unable to get into the next hex without Double Time.

In ASL terms, I think the hedges and walls in the game represent not just the physical structures, but also embankments, landscaping, foliage etc. Just as every LMG in the OB isn't on the map in counter form, not every wire fence or small hedge should be depicted on the map - only those that provide a significant tactical effect.
Since geo-boards need to be useful in many contexts, I would argue to leave them there. For the fences, they could be SSR'ed by declaring the Hedges to be +1 (or +2) LOS Hindrances only (no TEM; no LOS blockage).
 
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