Sunday, January 30, 2011

Soviet Infantry?

Yes please. My Romanians have had the unexpected side effect of getting me interested in finally painting my dream Soviet force: an Opolcheniya Batalon (or Militia Battalion). Rated as Confident Conscript, these troops are among the worst in the world of Flames of War. This of course compels me to play them.

The only problem is the amount of infantry one has to paint to field them, indeed an endemic problem for all Soviet infantry lists. I've been wanting to build this list since 2004 and I bought all the necessary figures over the course of time. They are all Mid-war figures, which I tend to favor over the late-war ones. But since the Militia is a mid-war organisation, these figures are ideal for that task. So, with the figures sorted out, next comes the painting... I've come up with a plan, which I mentioned briefly in one of the Romanian articles.


I plan to tackle the Militia as a paint escalation project. Starting with a Soviet force with a light infantry requirement, and slowly growing it into the Militia by adding platoons and further infantry to existing companies. So, I'll begin with a Tankovy Company with tank riders in support to kick off my SMG teams. Then I'll move onto a Rota Razvedki (recon troops) to increase my support options, such as flame-throwers, etc. From there I'll power through an under-strength Motostrelkovy (motorised troops) to add more support and Rifle/MG teams. Next up is a Strelkovy where I'll make sure I have all the infantry I need for my Militia. Then, finally, I'll move onto the Opolcheniya, adding flavor platoons such as up-armored T-34s and lots of anti-aircraft guns.  

This approach isn't new, but I'm going to add a small twist. I am going to try and play at least one game with each force as I work my way through the steps. The lists and games might float between Mid and Late war, but ultimately the objective will be to put together the Mid-war militia.

About Soviet Militia Battalions
After the disaster of the Soviet army being completely unprepared for the German invasion, the USSR found itself in a desperate situation. Important cities such as Stalingrad and Leningrad were under siege while the Germans began shelling the country's capital, Moscow.

Things were dim, especially in Leningrad where the Germans had completely surrounded the city, cutting it off from the rest of the Red Army. The siege of Leningrad lasted 900 days, and during that time the people inside suffered terribly. But, despite this, the citizens continued to help the war effort, manning anti-aircraft batteries, working in tank factories, and manning the defenses.

As the Germans kept up the pressure, a shortage of manpower began to plague the city defenses. As a result battalions were raised from factory workers to defend their factory from enemy aircraft and land-based attacks, freeing up regular troops to defend the front lines. The men served their country and fellow workers well, and helped keep the tanks rolling off the assembly lines.

It's these brave factory workers I want to represent on the wargame battlefields, along with the tanks they built and the anti-aircraft batteries they manned.

So, without further ado, I've mapped out the lists that I'll be working on as I move forward in each step. I've got a lot already painted up including: 18x SMG teams, 9x Rifle/MG teams, 4x 76mm obr 1927 guns, 2x HMGs, 1x Komisar team, 5x cmd teams.You can see some photos of these here. I'll likely have a few gallery shots posted up soon of the WIP force.





Step 1. Tankovy from Hammer & Sickle, Late war, Confident Trained
HQ: (1x T-34/85) - 70 pts
Tankovy Company (5x T-34/76, 5x T-34/85, 10x Tankodesantniki SMG teams) - 640 pts
Tankovy Company (5x T-34/76, 5x T-34/85, 10x Tankodesantniki SMG teams) - 640 pts
Decoy Tank Platoon (1x StuG G, 1x Panther A) 155 pts
Total: 1505 points





Notes: With this list I intend to bulk out my SMG teams. This will give me enough SMG teams to replace a platoon in two Opolcheniya companies.


Things to paint:
- 1x StuG G (will likely use German model)
- 1x Panther A (will likely use German model)


Step 2. Rota Razvedki
from Hammer & Sickle, Late war, Fearless Trained
HQ: (with 0.5"AA MG upgrades) - 55 pts
Razvedki Platoon (with 0.5"AA MG and SMG team upgrades) - 255 pts
Razvedki Platoon (with 0.5"AA MG and SMG team upgrades) - 255 pts
Razvedki Anti-tank Company (4x 76mm ZiS-3 guns, with M2 half-track and 0.5"AA MG upgrades) - 155 pts
Gvardeyskiy Tankovy Company (10x T-34/85) - 625 points
Decoy Tank Platoon (1x StuG G, 1x Panther A) 155 pts
Total: 1500 points

Notes: This list will help me paint four 76mm ZiS-3 guns, which will grow into an 8-gun battery in step 3 and a 12-gun battery in step 5. 

Things to paint:
- 4x 76mm ZiS-3 guns, 1x Cmd Rifle team, 4x M2 half-tracks (will likely use US vehicles) 
- 12x M3A1 (will likely use US vehicles)
- 4x Flamethrower teams (2x for step 2, plus two more for step 4)


Step 3. Motostrelkovy Batalon
from East Front, Mid war, Fearless Conscript
HQ - 25 pts
Motostrelkovy Coy (with 1x Komissar, 1x Rifle/MG platoon, 1x SMG platoon 1x HMG team) - 305 pts
Motostrelkovy Coy (with 1x Komissar, 1x Rifle/MG platoon, 1x SMG platoon 1x HMG team) - 305 pts
Motostrelkovy Anti-tank Rifle Company (1x cmd Rifle team, 6x PTRD AT Rifle teams) - 60 points
Motostrelkovy Artillery Battalion (with 8x 76mm ZiS-3 guns and 1x observer) - 255 points
Tank Killer Company (4x SU-85) - 305 pts
Assault Gun Company (4x SU-122) - 245 pts
Total: 1500 points

Notes: This step will contribute to my Rifle/MG teams. An Opolcheniya company uses only Rifle teams, but I've been basing the infantry with very few LMGs, so they can cover both types. It will also be an opportunity to finish my artillery battery and paint up one last vehicle for my SU-122 and SU-85 platoons to bring them to full strength (I currently only have three of each painted).

Things to paint:
- 1x Rifle Platoon (9x Rifle/MG teams)
- 4x 76mm ZiS-3 guns, 1x staff team, 1x observer
- 6x PTRD Anti-tank rifles, 1x cmd rifle
- 1x SU-122
- 1x SU-85
- 2x Komisar teams

Step 4. Strelkovy Batalon
from East Front, Mid war, Fearless Conscript
HQ (2x Cmd Rifle Teams, 1x Komisar, 1x AT Rifle Platoon, 1x Sapper Platoon with Supply Wagon) - 165 pts
Strelkovy Company (1x Komisar, 2x Rifle Platoons, 1x SMG Platoon, 1x HMG, 3x Lt Mortars) - 410 pts
Strelkovy Company (1x Komisar, 2x Rifle Platoons, 1x SMG Platoon, 1x HMG, 3x Lt Mortars) - 410 pts
Strelkovy Regimental Gun Company (4x 76mm obr 1927 guns, observer) - 75 pts
Strelkovy Scout Platoon (1 Scout Squad) - 100 points
Flame-thrower Sections (4x Flame-thrower teams) - 160 pts
Assault Gun Company (4x SU-76M) - 180 points
Total: 1500 points

Notes: This step will demand a lot of painting. But it will certainly help with what I'll need for the next and final step. I'll be able to fill out some platoons here and there, such as the remaining rifle and light mortar teams. 

Things to paint:
- 2x Rifle Platoons 
(18x Rifle/MG teams)
- 1x supply wagon
- 3x Lt. Mortars
- 3x Scout SMG teams

Step 5. Opolcheniya Batalon
from East Front, Mid war, Confident Conscript
HQ (2x Cmd Rifle Teams, 1x Komisar) - 25 pts
Opolcheniya Company (1x Komisar, 2x Rifle Platoons, 1x SMG Platoon, 4x Lt Mortars, 3x PTRD anti-tank rifles) - 330 pts
Opolcheniya Company (1x Komisar, 2x Rifle Platoons, 1x SMG Platoon, 4x Lt Mortars, 3x PTRD anti-tank rifles) - 330 pts
Opolcheniya Artillery Battalion (8x 76mm ZiS-3, 4x 76mm obr 1927 guns, observer) - 250 pts
Anti-aircraft Defense Company (1x Cmd Rifle team, 6x 37mm obr 1939 AA guns) - 120 pts
Medium Tankovy Company (5x T-34/76 with upgraded armor) - 445 pts
Total: 1500 points

Notes: This is the final step. I've added some uparmored T-34s and an AA platoon. This reflects the nature of the militia units formed from factory workers to defend their factory. I figure the T-34s were likely produced at the very factory my militia is protecting!

Things to paint:
- 5x Uparmored T-34/76
- 6x 37mm obr 1939 anti-aircraft guns, 1x Cmd Rifle team


There we have it! After all of that I should have a fair amount of Soviet stuff painted in the end. If I wanted to do the super infantry horde (something also in the cards), I'll only have one or two strelkovy-sized units to paint up thanks to this exercise.

Right, so time to get with it and pile into the project. This, along with my Romanians and Americans (Brittany) means I've pretty much got this year's FoW painting lined up!

7 comments:

  1. I feel exhausted just thinking about this. I just can't bring myself to paint the horde.

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  2. I stopped at the rota company when I was building My 8ya Otdyenaya Strafnoy. I should have built more but I love my rota company.
    Im telling you that the UC are ten times beter then the normal us 1/2 tracks, you get alot more MGS and you have less models in each half track, since you only will have one you will only lose one if you lose a UC. The armor differince means nothing really, IMHO.
    Im telling you UCs are the way to go. Im just saying if you are going to have a rota option you might as well have the good trasports. =) Also UCs just look cooler. =)

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  3. Steve, man. Yous gotta open your horizons! Soviets are pretty intense to play and they really play differently than you'd expect!

    ... Andrew, ever the used Universal Carrier salesman, eh? They way I figure, I don't have enough carriers. What I do have is a metric crapload of M3A1s kicking around from my US collection. So that sort of settles that! ...though it does give me an idea for the doubles mid-war NZGT.... (insert evil grin here)

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  4. Meh.... .50 cals rock, keep at least a few M3A1s IMHO, although Soviet UC are really cool.

    You are of course, completely mad. Well done! I looked at my Commando Army a while back and found I had painted about 310 figures...it doesn't seem nearly that many, but it is.

    IMHO many Soviet Infantry forces have similar numbers (OK, maybe not THIS Soviet force), they just appear larger than others when that is not always the case. For instance, when compared with US or British Rifles and their array of support, the numbers are not that far off.

    I think your way is definitely the right one to build up for a larger force.

    CdlT

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  5. I have that weird urge to play Russians. But I need to raise the forces like you did ... over time. Painting wise I am not worried ... I love to paint.

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  6. Its crazy, huh? I say if you got the urge to paint Russians you best get on that pronto, as it doesn't come around that often!

    Also, I'd like to see more east front action on WWPD,.... hint, hint, nudge, nudge :)

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  7. I shall crush them with my mighty Hungarians!

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