Some Reference Material

Friday, August 26, 2011

Soviet Field Artillery

The 346th Artillery Regiment supports the 80th Rifle Division.  This is the still-mustering 1st Battalion

From the unit's right, two Zis-3 76.2mm guns and a 122mm howitzer.  The rightmost gun crew is Minifigs, the others are Pendraken.  On the unit's far left, the forward observer.  The kneeling observer is Pendraken, the mounted horseholder is Wargames South, and the empty horse is Perrin.  My Perrin Franco-Prussian war project did not have legs but they are unusual in casting riders and horse separately so have been a source of convenient horseflesh.

A close-up of the howitzer.  All these guns should have horse-drawn limbers -- a fact that is high on my completions list.

Of course, much of the time they will be off table, with the observer calling in fire.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Independent Tank Regiment

The 119th Separate Tank Regiment was an interesting real-world unit formed as part of the Red Army by ethnic Armenians.  This representation is a bit understrength - it needs three more T35/85's to make up full strength.

The formation has a sub-machine-gun company, a command element, reconnaissance, and of course two tank companies.

SMG and Command are all Pendraken.

The T34/85 Tanks are from Wargames South.  They are some of the nicest models on the market; they do come at a premium price.

The recon armored car is from Minifigs; the crewman having a look-see was a Minifigs artillery crewman.

German Infantry

Our first German unit is 1st Battalion, 252nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Infantry Division

At the front left the reconnaissance team, then the battalion commander.  Three companies, each of three rifle platoons; on the right each has a supporting MG42 from the weapons company.  At the rear, units right to left, the engineer platoon, and two Panzerschreck teams from the regimental AT company.

At the left front a mortar, and behind it the 75mm battalion gun.  All the figures here are from Pendraken.

A close-up of the battalion gun.  All equipment and specialists beyond the most generic are labelled with the type on the right rear of the stand, as well as the ID on the rear.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Red Army Rifle Regiment

To be specific, the 410th Rifle Regiment, 80th Lubanskaya Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class Rifle Division.  I am basing the formation on the late war Soviet TOE to be found in the Army Overview pdf from Command Decision:Test of Battle.  I have modified the details to work with the Blitzkrieg Commander rules, which has very different command rules but the same stand=platoon backbone.

First, the regimental assets:

From the unit's right, front rank:
  • 45 mm AT gun, Pendraken gun and crew.  The limber is from Pendraken's WWI line but the rider is from Wargames South.  
  • The regimental scouts, in their cammo suits.  Recon is a big deal in any good WWII game -- in BKC well-employed recon increases the command value of a nearby command stand.
  • The commander himself, with his team. The burned-out Panzer IV is from Minifigs. I found the sample a bit fiddly to assemble; wrecked I could manage. The mounted officer is a very handy figure; he was designed as the commander from the Pendraken WWI Russian cavalry. 
  • On the left flank, the 120mm Mortar (Pendraken again) with its limber.
  • Right-rear the anti-tank riflemen of the AT company, and the Sub-machine gun company on the left; a handy regimental reserve.
The regiment is missing its 76.2 mm regimental gun  I prefer the look of the M27, but no-one makes one at the moment.  Every tank some kraut scribbled a picture of on the back on a napkin, but not a basic weapon like a regimental gun of which some 16000 were made.  Go figure.  The M43 was built on the 45mm AT gun carriage, so kit-bashing one is my back-up plan.

In Blitzkrieg Commander the typical battlegroup is a re-enforced regiment; the command stand is therefore set up to be the highest ranking stand on the board.

Next, the 1st Battalion:

Command stand, 6 rifle stands in three companies, 2 machine gun stands, and a mortar.  All Pendraken

Likewise,  2nd Battalion:

Except -- the officer in the right front rife stand waving his pistol over his head to encourage his men is from Minifigs.  The Minifigs figures are slight but can be mixed in moderation with Pendraken figures when the equipment size differences are not too jarring.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Romanian Battalion

These are the most recent models to be added to my armies, but are a nice start point because they are a seldom-covered subjects and (since they are a small force) can illustrate a few starting ideas.

The Romanians have an extra appeal to a wargamer  as one of the few armies that can actually be used on both sides in WWII.  The Romanians provided more troops the the German war effort than any other ally, fighting at Odessa and the capture and defense of the Crimea.  They suffered mightily at Stalingrad.  As the Red Armies entered Romania in 1944 the Romanians decided they had had enough, vacated the front lines and drove the German forces out of the capital.  For the balance of the war select formation carried on as Soviet allies.  The best website for matters pertaining to the Romanian experience can be found here.

This is the 1st Battalion, 3rd Motorized Vanatori Regiment, 1st Armored Division.  Vanatori is a Romanian term that once designated a type of infantry (I think roughly equivalent to the German J├Ąger) retained by some regiments as a part of the regimental tradition.

At the front, the hexagonal command element.  The formation is based for Blitzkrieg Commander; I hasten to add that the odd base shapes are my own innovation.  I think they improve stand type recognition, but you do not need hexagonal stands to play the game.

Behind them three infantry companies, each of 3 stands.  At the very rear at the viewers left (the unit's right) are the machine guns of the machine gun company and on the other flank the mortar stand.

Most figures in this force are Pendraken who do a lovely line of Romanian WWII Infantry, except for these machine-gunners who are from Pithead, who offer the more "trademark" Zb machine gun. 

As a motorized formation, obviously they are still missing their trucks.  I will fill out the rest of the regiment along with a share of divisional assets and the especially the Armored regiment.  I also want to produce leg infantry and cavalry forces for various phases of the war.

As you can see, basic Romanian uniforms at 10mm do not require a lot of complicated detail work; a battalion can be fielded very quickly.

My 10mm WWII experience

When I decided to return to miniatures gaming after a long absence, I played with a number of different projects, most of which never really worked for me.  As a part of that process I decided to look at WWII.  Initially I was thinking 1:300 or so since that was the big scale here when I was last considering an army.  I was diverted from that by a chance purchase of a stack of 1:144 Dragon  Panzerkorps kits of Stugs.  I was rapidly hooked.  I found that my half-century old eyes could see the 10mm models about as well as my teenage eyes had been able to make out the 1:300 figures; and the figures are still cheap enough that I could afford both sides of a conflict.

I rapidly discovered that 10m (which is also described as 12mm), like most wargames "figure height masquerading as a scale" measurements, is a pretty vague term.  Effectively, a single army when carefully assembled can include everything from largish 1:144 down to  "American n-scale" 1:160.  I generally describe the "scale" as 1:150±10.

As I post here I will try to illustrate some of what I have discovered, as well as providing links (where I have them) for the various manufacturers I use.  I have just started organizing my models into units based on 1-stand = 1-platoon TOEs I have obtained from various sources, so the first few posts at least will feature "parade reviews" of those units I have organized completely.

A key part of the plan here is not only organizing the formations but labeling every stand with its place in the TOE. This is stand A, 1st Company, 1st Battalion (Germans used Roman numerals for some levels), 252nd Infantry Regiment.  Its is type "Infantry" and the little flag (if I use rules at some point that call for it) indicate a company command stand.
Once complete, labelled and magnetized, each unit will be stored in a Belgian cookie tin with as authentic a label as I can muster.