By Craig Robertson, Chief Game Developer, 1A Games

The new Stalingrad campaign expansion is packed full of cool new components to add to your Tide of Iron games. However, one of the elements that we are most excited about is the new Soviet T-70 light tank. The first new plastic unit for Tide of Iron since Fury of the Bear launched in 2010, the T-70 fills a gap in the Soviet order of battle.

The T-70 entered production in early 1942, as a moderate improvement over the T-60, which had poor cross-country performance. Although the Soviet high command already considered light tanks obsolete, the T-70 was adopted because it could be manufactured in smaller automotive factories that were incapable of handling T-34 or KV-1 production. Over 8,000 T-70s were produced, and the chassis was also used as the basis of the SU-76 self-propelled gun. In October of 1943, all light tank production was cancelled.

The basic Soviet independent tank brigade in late 1942 consisted of a mix of T-34 medium tanks and T-60/T-70 light tanks. At the start of the battle of Stalingrad on 13 September, there were six such tank brigades (6th Guards, 6th, 99th, 26th, 27th, 133rd), and the 13th Tank-Destroyer Brigade. All were at reduced strength from weeks of fighting. For example, at full strength a tank brigade was supposed to have 32 T-34s in three companies and 11 light tanks in one company (including battalion headquarters tanks). The 6th Guards Tank Brigade had only 15 T-34s and 3 T-70s on 13 September and it was the strongest unit compared to the other five tank brigades.

At Stalingrad, three of these tank brigades were attached to Rifle Divisions, two were part of the 2nd Tank Corps, and two operated independently. The 137th Tank Brigade was ferried across the Volga in September (just the T-70s) and the 84th Tank Brigade’s T-34s and T-70s moved into the city across the river in October.

How the T-70s were used depended upon the tactical situation. Although the Soviet forces were on the defensive, the T-34s and/or T-70s might spearhead a counter-attack. Any tank could also be used as a strongpoint when it broke down and became immobile.

Historical data provided by 1A Games’ Creative and Operational Manager Dana Lombardy, designer of Streets of Stalingrad, who has been studying this battle for more than 30 years.

TOI: Stalingrad is now on Kickstarter! You can check it out here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1641418217/next-wave-tide-of-iron-core-game-and-stalingrad-ex