Northeast Atlanta Gaming

August 1, 2010

1980 Soviet Motor Rifle and Tank Regiments

Filed under: Counters,Games,Order of Battle,Tactical — foodnearsnellville @ 7:40 pm
Tags: ,

This is a version of the explanatory notes that I posted in the archive on Yahoo Panzerblitz. It describes the archive

Soviet motor rifle and tank regiments circa 1980

This effort was largely inspired by Viktor Suvorov’s book, “Inside the Soviet Union”, and is a representation, in Panzerblitz/AIW terms, of the motor rifle regiment described by Suvorov on pages 84 – 86 of the Berkeley Books paperback edition.

To note, his depiction creates a number of issues. For one, the automated mortars (the 2S9 Nona) he describes are not thought to be available until 1981, and were not seen by the West until 1985. Therefore, we have added these units as an option.

The Grad-P (BM-21) rocket launchers have not been extensively studied in the Panzerblitz context. They have the same explosive power as the 140mm rockets fired by the BM-14 of Arab Israeli Wars fame, but they have 40 rockets on the launcher as opposed to 12 or 17. So the firepower (AF) could be 21, as it is with the BM-14, or it could be 40/17 times greater. I’ve doubled the firepower of the BM-21 Grad P compared to the BM-14, but any value between 21 and 40/17*21 would be acceptable to me.

Dan Fraser’s TO&E (found in the Yahoo Groups Panzerblitz group file repository) is used to fill in the blanks. This document creates some issues as well. For one, Dan differs in the size of tank battalions (31 or 52, according to Suvorov. Dan’s tank battalions average 45 tanks plus a command tank counter). Very little has been written about ARVs available to the Soviets in 1980. I’ve picked one, created the image by looking at photographs and adding visual elements to a T-55 silhouette, sans turrent, until it resembled the pictures.

CP, Sig and OP counters and transport for these counters are provided for those who wish to use Dan Fraser style command and control variants.

The T-55s shown were upgunned to 1980 standards (3). They just had better AP shells in 1980 than they did in 1960. Otherwise this is a stock AIW T-55. Since the T-62 is not upgunned until a few years later, they have exactly the same stats on paper, and there is little to pick between the two of them at this moment in time.

On one sheet we have provided the T-55 (4) variant, a 4 tank T-55 platoon. This is because according to Steve Balagan, 4 tanks per company would accompany a motor rifle regiment assault. Both references 4 and 5 speak of motor rifle regiments having 2 BMPs per BMP battalion and having only one BMP battalion per regiment. This formation can now be assembled from Sheets E and F.

Heavier tanks (e.g. T-64s, T-72s, or T-80s) would be reserved for a division level independent tank battalion, according to Suvorov (Dan Fraser would call it an anti-tank battalion). Available at this time would be the base T-72 and T-80 and the T-64A (7). T-64s will be the most common “heavy” tank. The T-64B will come into service in 1981.

The number of BMPs presented on Sheet A per company is 3 counters, or 15 BMPs, More than one reference on BMP battalions suggests these brigades only had 10 BMPs per company, or 2 counters (4,5). Some of the company would fight dismounted. This layout is given on Sheet E.

The artillery on Sheet B is provided is as per Suvorov. Dan Fraser’s TO&E suggests the Grad-P’s are divisional assets and uses a pair of mortar counters (with transport) to replace the 3 2S1s and 1 Grad-P launchers (Sheet D and Sheet F). However, any number of Soviet assets formally assigned at one level tend to be distributed evenly at lower levels. You’ll see this repeatedly in references 1, 4 and 5.

Andy Johnson’s OOB (Reference 6), an OOB of real Soviet units circa 1988-1989, tends to support the notion that the Grad P was a divisional asset. You’ll also see, in reference 6, the use of D-30 122mm towed weapons at the regimental level. The 122mm howitzer in AIW is a reasonable representation of this weapon. You could replace the Suvorov style artillery battery at the regimental level with two 122mm howitzer counters and transportation.

SA-7s, for convenience, are managed at the battalion level as sections. RPG-7s are assumed to be mixed in with the infantry, and are treated as assets in the Panzerblitz context by the ability of infantry to direct fire on tanks and elevated attack factors while engaged in CAT.

Optional Units:

You can fill out the tank battalions provided by adding the 3 additional T-55s. You can replace the anti-air SA-7 sections with SA-14 sections, should you desire (SA-14 was introduced in 1976). You can replace the battalion level 120mm mortars and transportation with the 2S9 Nona self propelled mortars as well.

Filling out the tank battalion is useful in the game/scenario context because then you can have battles where each infantry company can have a tank resource for the attack. The use of the regimental tank battalion to supply a tank platoon per infantry company is detailed in reference 5.

Making regiments.

A pure BMP regiment, a la Suvorov, can be assembled from Sheets A and B. A pure BTR regiment can be assembled from Sheets C and D. Sheets E and F are my best representation of the BMP regiments described in  references 4 and 5, and have 4 tank T-55 platoons. Sheets G and H create a typical tank regiment; choose either 3 T-55 or 3 T-62 battalions from Sheet G to combine with Sheet H. Sheet I (could not be added to this archive, because of space) contains division level independent tank battalions, which will have 51 tanks, typically.

Archive Components

Sheet A

Sheet B

Sheet C

Sheet D

Sheet E

Sheet F

Sheet G

Sheet H

Sheet I

Soviet Regiments Circa 1980


1.Suvorov, Viktor, “Inside the Soviet Union”, 1982, Berkeley Press, pp 82-95.
2.Fraser, Dan, “The Advanced Panzer Blitz TO&E Book Version 10”, url:, accessed June, 2010.
3.Collins, Jack, “Tank Protection Levels”, url:, accessed July 27, 2010
4.“Cold War BMP or BTR Equipped Battalions”, March 10, 2010, url:, accessed July 26, 2010.
5.Balagan, Steven and Arad, Mures “Soviet Order of Battle and Doctrine”, url: , accessed July 26, 2010.
6.Johnson, Andy, “Warsaw Pact Order of Battle – 1988”, url:, accessed July 29, 2010.
7.Baryatinskiy, Mikhail “Main Battle Tank T-80”, 2007, Ian Allen Publishing, p 12.



  1. I was wondering if you were going to do counters for the americans, more counters for the british. An airborne battalion for the russians. counters for the Chinese and south africans

    Comment by paul — August 6, 2010 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

    • I have some M1s on a sheet I published on Yahoo Panzerblitz, along with the M60s posted above. I intend to increase coverage of British. I’d like to do an evolution of the Leopard, both 1 and 2, and when I get enough Western APCs, infantry, and support vehicles, I’ll do 1980 unit sheets for those three countries.

      I have some interest in the Chinese, haven’t done South Africans yet. Might be fun to do the Oliphant series someday. Pakistani versus Indian armor is something to consider as well.

      Airborne Soviet units (platoon) exist in Marco Valerio Bonelli’s PL ’70 variant, but one thing I really need to do some day is inventory the weapons and make a judgment of my own on the relative power of various modern infantry units.

      When I do any of these is an open question. It takes time to collect the appropriate counter libraries. I’m currently back to doing research on the Israelis, as Eshel’s book “Chariots of the Desert” is a phenomenal resource. The Magach is the current weak point here. I need to get a feel for the power of the M48A2C, as the Israelis had these and fielded them in 1967.

      Comment by foodnearsnellville — August 6, 2010 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

  2. […] 1980 US Battalions and Brigades Filed under: Counters,Games,Tactical — foodnearsnellville @ 12:31 pm Tags: Arab Israeli Wars, armor, artillery, counters, mechanized infantry, order of battle, Panzer Leader, Panzerblitz, Panzerleader '70, playing pieces Taken largely from Dan Fraser’s TO&E, with assistance by the Yahoo TO&E group (esp. for Mechanized Infantry). Sheets for a tank battalion, a mechanized infantry battalion, an artillery battalion and a generic brigade HQ are presented. The ‘B’ options sheet from my 1980 Cavalry post can be used with these sheets to customize for 1981, or replace M60A1 with M60A3 counters.For sheets of an enemy persuasion, please check out my Soviet counters. […]

    Pingback by 1980 US Battalions and Brigades « Northeast Atlanta Gaming — August 15, 2010 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

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