First new addition is a Soviet armored gunboat of the BK pr.1125 series (BK = Bronekater), respectfully called "river tank" by the Germans because its main armament usually was a T-34 turret. Several hundred of these sturdy and heavily armed boats had been build since 1937, in order to patrol and secure the widespread waterways of the Soviet Union. They saw first combat as part of the Amur Flottila during the Kanchatzu incident in late June 1937. Later during World War II, they showed up on almost every large European river, taking part in the battles fought on and near those rivers. They played a major role in the reconquest of Stalingrad by the Red Army. Bronekaters were also widely used on lakes and shallow inland waterways like the Baltic Sea and the Sea of Azov. During their active duty the pr.1125 boats were modified several times, and therefore you'll find three different versions of the pr.1125 in BattleGroup42: An early version armed with the main turret and three 7,62mm machine gun turrets from the T-28, a medium version with a T-34 turret, two T-28 7,62mm machine gun turrets and one 12,7mm machine gun in an open turret, as well as a late artillery version that carries a BM-24 rocket launcher instead of a machine gun turret on its aft deck.
Our next addition belongs to the arsenal of the Red Fleet. It's a MO-class small guard ship, type 4, called "small hunter" by the Soviets. These unarmored, yet rather robust boats were armed with two 45mm guns and two 12,7mm machine guns. They could also be equipped with depth charges or sea mines. Major theaters of operation were the Black Sea and its creeks, but also the Baltic Sea, where the boats hunted German submarines, carried out escort/patrolling duties and supported amphibious landings.
With addition number three we're switching sides and taking a look at the German navy. For combat and transport duties on rivers and lakes, it used specifically designed prams and barges. They were hardly more than floating, motorized platforms, relatively slow and not ocean-going, but could transport and land heavy payloads like tanks and were excellent weapon platforms. Armed barges were used as makeshift monitors as well as for escorts and other duties. There was also a mine layer variant. In BattleGroup42 there'll be two versions: The transport barge, armed with two 20mm guns for air defense and carrying two vehicles. The second is an artillery barge, armed with two 88mm cannons in addition to the 20mm guns.
We're heading out to the high seas with our last two additions: The Benson/Gleaves-class destroyers. These classes were basically the predecessor to the already ingame Fletcher-class destroyer, despite being produced parallel to it for some time. The Benson and later Gleaves-class were subtypes of the same design, and only differed in their machinery and shape of the stacks. The first batch of ships, armed with five single barrel 12,7cm turrets, was commisioned in 1940. Later, the C-turret behind the second stack was removed in order to decrease the severe topweight problems. In BattleGroup42 the Benson-class represents the early ships, while the Gleaves-class represents the ships of the later production line. They can be found on maps prior to 1943, where they replacing the Fletcher-class.
And that's it for today's news on Release Candidate 3. We still have some candy for you left, which we will present to you in another news. So as always, stay tuned and check back on battlegroup42.de once in a while.
The BattleGroup42 team wishes you a lot of fun with RC3