Monday, May 7, 2012

Back on Target - Fun things you learn by reading

Well, I went back to working on my IABSM scenario pack for the CSIR in 1941. A great reference is Patrick Cloutier's Regio EsercitoL The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars 1935-1943.

I was reading on the Pasubio Division supporting the German Advance on Petrikova. It seems on September 18th, 1941, while crossing the Vorskla River on a pontoon bridge, the Russians opened fire on the pontoon boats and damaged the bridge. So far, this seems rather ordinary. Now for the fun part. The unit firing on the Italians was a concealed and noise suppressed tank in a hull down position. The spotting for the tank was being conducted by shepherds who moved their sheep around until they spelled out letters to a circling Soviet aircraft overhead who radioed the information to the tank. Once the Italians figured out what the shepherd was up to, he was captured, the tank spotted and dealt with through an air strike.

So what I want to know is, did the Soviets indeed have "silencers" for their tanks? What tanks would/could have such a device? How on earth do you make a scenario using shepherds and their flocks as a forward observer (for any rules)?

Anyway, I was amused by this small tidbit and wanted to pass it along.


  1. It's a great story. I imagine, just off the top of my head, you'd need some sheep models. :)

    How possible is it, I wonder, for an early war Soviet tank AND an aircraft to both have radios, be in touch with each other, and for the aircraft to have the time to loiter overhead while the sheep got moved about? I wonder if someone was having some fun in the regimental diary?

    1. I wondered that a bit myself. I know that the Regia Aeronautica was busy doing air superiority over German units for most of August 1941. The Luftwaffe did not help the Italians much and the Hungarians had accidentally strafed the Italians earlier in the month. So the Russian plane being able to loiter about with no interference was not out of the question. I have a history of the 80th Roma Regiment. I will attempt to see if I can find the same story there. The radios are still tough to overcome but not entirely impossible.

  2. That story is to good to be true.

  3. It has a bit of that to it. I am trying to get in touch with the author and see if he can provide more details. It still makes an interesting story though.