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Once a Conscript has watched the standard training videos, they are given their weapons and equipment and shipped off to the frontlines to join their brothers and sisters in a Conscript Army. This, apart from being a way to get troops to the frontlines as quickly as possible, also serve as a means through which Conscripts can gain actual combat experience, and is in fact considered part of a soldier's training. Conscript Armies are generally seen as being combat reserves and in a sense, cannon fodder, as they make up the bulk of the Soviet Army infantry.
As Conscript armies are viewed as part of the training process for a Conscript, they lack ranks, insignias and generally any sort of organisational structure, as such things are seen as interchangeable. This also follows the Communist ideology; in the Conscript Army, everyone is equal. The only form of organised structure within Conscript armies is either created by the Conscripts themselves, or imposed by attached Grenadiers or the Commissars, who help to maintain some semblance of discipline and order in a Conscript Army's ranks, in addition to maintaining morale and monitoring the Conscripts under their command for those most experienced and battle hardened; in other words, those most suitable for candidates for promotion to a proper infantry division.
Typically, Conscripts who show a good degree of proficiency in combat have a good chance of being transferred out of their Conscript Army and into a proper military unit, such as the Grenadiers, or, in the case of those who show exceptional skill and prowess in battle, elite units like the Naval Infantry or Spetsnaz Airborne Guards.
Though the whole concept of the Conscript Army is derided as "throwing away one's countrymen" by others, it is seen as an effective way to get battle hardened soldiers out of masses of boys and girls at minimal expense. While effective, the downside is that Conscript Armies have some of the highest casualty rates of any military unit in the world.
For those Conscripts who manage to survive long enough and show enough skill in battle, there is a chance that they will be transferred to the Grenadiers. If they are, then the first thing they receive is a proper training course, with instruction from actual instructors and proper schooling in combat. Once inducted into the Grenadiers proper, they then receive their uniforms and equipment, with actual rank and insignia, and are assigned to an actual military unit. Compared to Conscript Armies, Grenadier units are organised along traditional millitary lines, and are treated as proper combat units instead of cannon fodder to be thrown away at the enemy. This can be reflected in the disparity between the average life expectancy of Conscripts and that of Grenadiers.
In contrast to Conscripts, who have almost no training and are little more than barely organised rabble, those in Grenadier units are disciplined, experienced soldiers who have already been exposed to the harshness of war during their time in the Conscript Armies, thanks to the brutal streamlining process of the Conscript Armies (survival of the fittest, in other words). Grenadier units are kept at fixed strength, with recruits drawn from the ranks of the Conscript Armies to replace losses.
Convict Battalions are special units in the Red Army, comprised of volunteers drawn up from prisoners in the Gulags. Uniquely, this makes the convict battalions one of the few volunteer units in the Red Army. Convict battalions are used for a variety of roles, but usually air defence and mine laying duties. Those in a convict battalion have to suffer some of the worst conditions in the Red Army, under the watchful eye of a Commissar. Apart from having to carry around heavy flak cannons with a considerable risk of shoulder dislocation, convict battalions are also tasked with some of the more unpleasant tasks in the Red Army. However, despite the conditions a trooper in a convict battalion has to suffer, many in the gulags still sign up, because it offers them a shot at freedom once they have completed their time.
Spetsnaz Airborne GuardsEdit
Better known as the Spetsnaz, the Spetsnaz Airborne Guards are the premier airborne forces and special forces units of the Soviet Union. With a fierce reputation for being one of the best special forces units in the world and for the harshness of their training programme, Spetsnaz Airborne Guard units are meant to drop behind enemy lines and act as strategic airborne infantry, conducting special operations meant to disrupt the enemy's forces. For this reason, they use lightweight equipment such such as bullpup rifles and carry more rations than the average soldier. In order to save weight, much of their equipment and vehicles are modified, such as the T-64R Microhammer Tank. They are extensively trained for paratrooper operations, and typically drop from Badger bombers, or more recently, UT-185s, when called in. Notably, the Airborne Guards participated in such operations like the Battle of Mt. Fuji, where they succeeded in killing Emperor Yoshiro of the Empire of the Rising Sun. Comprised of the cream of the Soviet Army, they are few in number, with an approximate strength of 25,000 men, or five Airborne Guards Regiments.
The Soviet Tank Divisions are the pride and strength of the Soviet Army. Such divisions are heavily weighted towards tanks, with the bulk of their strength comprising main battle tanks such as the Hammer Tank and Rhino Tank, with support from artillery elements, combat engineering vehicles and lighter vehicles to back the tanks up. Typically, Tank Divisions are used to spearhead Soviet assaults, as was the case in World War II and III, smashing the enemy aside with their heavy armour and weapons, while the support elements and infantry come up behind the tanks, mopping up any stragglers. The strength commanded by the Soviet tank divisions have led them to become extremely feared by soldiers of other powers, and it is usually a great morale booster to Soviet infantry to operate in support of a Soviet tank division, since they know that the tanks will smash any opposition out of the way.
Soviet tank divisions can be divided into three categories; Category I divisions, which are typically the most elite divisions and spearheaders of the assault, mainly comprised of advanced T-64 Hammers. These divisions, the smallest in number, are the best the Soviet has to offer, crewed by the best trained and battle hardened men and women, and are always at full combat readiness. Behind these are the Category II divisions, which comprise the majority of the Union's armoured forces. These divisions consist primarily of T-58 Rhinos, with a few Hammer tanks thrown in for good measure, and are kept at around 50-75% readiness. When the Category I division has made the breakthrough, the Category II divisions will move to exploit it. Finally, there are the Category III divisions, which are considered the reserve, and are typically at 10-33% readiness. For the most part, Category III divisions are made up of outdated vehicles such as the T-55 Anvil, and the personnel of these units are typically inexperienced Conscripts with little experience in driving a vehicle.
Heavy Tank RegimentEdit
Sometimes, the Soviets find that even a Tank Division isn't enough. When this happens, they more often than not decide to call up a Heavy Tank Regiment, presuming such a formation is available. If one is, however, then it is one of a Soviet commander's greatest assets.
This is illustrated in their composition; Heavy Tank Regiments get their name from the mighty JS-4 Apocalypse Tanks, which with their ability to dish out and absorb ridiculous amounts of damage, symbolise the philosophy of the Heavy Tank Regiments. Moreso than any other formation of the Soviet Army, Heavy Tank Regiments focus on dishing out devastating shocks, disproportionate to their actual size.
On the offensive, Heavy Tank Regiments specialise in swift and devastating frontal attacks that overwhelm the enemy with concentrated firepower and shock value. Hammer tank battalions are often at the forefront of the assault, with the lighter vehicles and infantry elements moving up behind to support the tanks and exploit vulnerabilities in the enemy's defences. These attacks are supported by heavy artillery support in the form of BM-33 Katyushas and V4 Rocket Launchers, which provide deadly bombardment guided in by spotters. Well executed, such an artillery barrage can soften up the enemy for the tanks to finish. The centrepiece of the regiment is of course the heavy tank battalion, which is made of six JS-4 Apocalypse tanks (Mammoths or Terminators for some regiments).
While their firepower and durability of an Apocalypse tank is of course remarkable, the greatest asset of the Apocalypse is possibly its immense psychological value. The sight of a house sized tank is one that can strike fear into the most professional of soldiers, and enemy commanders have sometimes overestimated the impact of such units. Having built up a formidable reputation among friends and foes alike as being invincible, Heavy Tank Regiments are known for their effects on morale, greatly disproportionate to their actual size. Befitting their nature as elite units, Heavy Tank Regiments are crewed by the cream of the crop of the Soviet Army, experienced tankers and officers. The commanding officers of such formations are often highly respected and decorated, even war heroes.
Such formations have drawbacks, however. Despite their massive propaganda value and not inconsiderable power on the battlefield, Heavy Tank Regiments cost a fortune to maintain. Nevertheless, the morale and shock value of these regiments are considered by the Soviets to be well worth the cost.
Formed during the Second World War after the German scientist Wernher Von Braun developed the dreaded V2 Rocket, the GRAU are the operators of the V2, the V3, and most recently, the V4, and are also responsible for maintaining and operating the Soviet Union's tactical ballistic weaponry. Apart from having control over some of the Union's longest reaching weapons, they also help test new ballistic weaponry, and operate such rocket launch facilities as the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh SSR.
The Soviets first employed military airships during the Second World War for reconnaissance and observation purposes, taking advantage of the high endurance and high altitude of airships to provide extended coverage of the battlefield. For most of the war, the Soviet Union used airships in a noncombat role, until the development of the Slava Assault Airship near the end of the war.
Following the Second World War, impressed by the success of the Slava, the Soviet Air Force began to expand its airship fleet, having Krasna Aerospace construct a number of designs for combat purposes, culminating in designs such as the massive Kirov Airship and the Barrage Balloon just prior to WWIII. While the number of airships for combat has expanded greatly since the first Slava appeared on the battlefield, Soviet airships continue to see usage by the Soviet military in other roles, ranging from transport airships used to carry supplies, equipment and troops to wherever the military needs them, to airships used in minesweeping duties, and airships meant for observation, just like those used during the Second World War.
Space Rocket SquadronEdit
By far the most prestigious branch of the Soviet Union's space forces, the Soviet Space Rocket Squadron is the astromilitary branch of the Soviet Union. Comprised of top Soviet pilots handpicked for their physical and mental qualities as well as their loyalty to the Soviet Union, the Soviet Space Rocket Squadron are charged with the defence of the Soviet Union's assets in space, as well as the further exploration of space and the operation of the Union's spacecraft. They operate a plethora of combat spacecraft, such as the Vostok II spacecraft. Based out of the gargantuan Mir Space Station, the Space Rocket Squadron stands ready to defend the Soviet Union and is one of the strongest contenders in space, although the recent rise of both the Allied Space Patrol and the Chinese Star Fleet has challenged its power somewhat.