August 16th, 2017
So, I have another character being drawn up (by another player) for the same game for which I posted highly detailed questions about Israel (admittedly probably too detailed) - only he's playing Russia, and he's trying to draw up a character who served in the Soviet Army as an officer semi-realistically. (It's *after* the character's military career that everything goes interesting.)

I want to write him a summary of the Soviet Army officer's career path, what service branches are available, etc., but nothing I can find tells me the basic stuff. It's all focused on generals and stuff. (Looked on Wiki, looked on Google, neither helped. I found a monograph on that was from 1975 and provided *some* detail, but expected me the reader to know more than I do to make sense of stuff.)

To quote his draft summary: "(1) Early life.  Born in 1959, he follows a similar course to Putin (joining the military instead, but attached as an "adviser" to one of the Soviet Bloc countries after a tour in Afghanistan which gave him a scar on his upper right arm from a Taliban attack).  He resigned with a TBD officer's rank in the middle of the 1991 coup attempt (a la Putin; he's simply younger) rather than join in the attempt (which he percieved as doomed)."

He's trying to figure it out in more detail than that, but the problem is that he (the player) and I (the GM, one of two, responsible for helping him draw up his character - he does the important work of figuring out policies and stuff, the meat of gameplay, himself) can't find anything much about anything re the company-grade and field-grade officers of the Soviet Army and how they were trained, or how their careers progressed, or anything.

In specific:

1. As the character was born in 1959, presume he enters officer training from civilian life sometime around 1977. How long is his officer training, and how is it decided whether he goes, say, infantry or airborne troops?

2. What's the career path like from initial officer training (including "what rank does he enter service at?" - the materials I can find state "Lieutenant", but the Soviet Army has 3 Lieutenant ranks!) to, say, battalion command?

3. What additional school-type training would he undergo during that career path, and at what times during his career? (I can help the player figure out good tour-of-duty mixes once I have that information.)

4. What service arms existed in the Soviet Army? I often hear of officers referred to as a "Colonel of Infantry", "Colonel of Air Defense", "Colonel of Strategic Rocket Forces" - but what are the possible options for the "of x" formula?

5. Were ordinary officers even assigned as "advisors" to Warsaw Pact forces, or only Political Officers?

I know these are really detailed questions in some regard. I'm trying to keep them general, but even the general stuff is hard to figure out. My objectives for this are:

A. Figure out what rank, highest, would have been plausible for what I'm currently thinking is a fairly obscure-ish Russian serving as a Soviet Army Officer from 1977-1991 - if the player wants lower, cool, but I as GM need to have a clue what's "too high".

B. Figure out what his career would have looked like - where would he have served, at what levels, doing what? (Especially key to figure out when he would have served in Afghanistan.)

C. Figure out if the early life posited is *plausible*.

I thus don't need to know deep details (at least not until a player requests a detailed bio of their Russian adversary from their intel people, at which point I may be back...), but only be able to work out a summary. I can do the hard part of the work myself and with the player, but I need help figuring out the foundational stuff before I begin that.

(Edited to add: Link to something Google *did* dredge up for me, and my note that what I was sent was a draft summary of the character, not a full bio. We'll be working on the full bio once we have the summary agreed to.)


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