Thursday, September 22, 2016

Austrian army 1980's

Slow continued painting and basing of my Austrians has lead to sorting out some sort of army list for them.
Que 'opening can of worms' sound.

Now I had been using the good old Ultramodern army lists from 1986 to base my army on, and for the most part I've found them to be reasonably accurate. This doesn't extend to the Warsaw Pact with some of the equipment being rather inaccurate. Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand.

As part of its re-establishment as a nation in 1955, Austria was limited in what its armed forces could use. No missiles or submarines, or long range artillery. Surrounded by Warsaw pact countries, Austria's army was set up to delay invaders moving through to other countries (though I can't see Austria , especially the western end, being a convenient highway to anywhere). As such it was largely based round local troops and blocking units backed by more mobile regular infantry units and 3 Panzergrenadier brigades. The regular units throw up a few problems of their own equipment wise, but I'll get to that in a later post.

The local troops are quite interesting from an 'odd equipment' point of view. The blocking companys manned fixed fortifications which had Europes largest collection of fixed tank turrets. These were mostly 105mm Centurion turrets, but also included M47, M36, M24 and even someold T34/85's. To cap it all there were also Charioteer turrets. River blocking units were armed with 40mm AA cannons to shoot up likely crossing points
I've been pondering how to model these on the table. Obviously the attack factors take care of themselves but the defensive factors are far more difficult. Some options I have pondered would be
-counting as infantry so a 7 to destroy with AI factors.
-spotted as infantry (except when firing).
The points cost would also have to be sorted out.
I don't think that they should be allowed to ambush as I suspect that Warsaw Pact operatives would have plotted out the general locations of all the emplacements.
deploying on the table I would suggest that one tank turret stand and 1 infantry stand be deployed touching each other and also touching a terrain feature thats not a hill.
Anyone else have any thoughts ?

Bruce Rea-taylors Ultramodern army lists 1986

Monday, August 29, 2016


Not a lot of modeling or gaming done at the moment. House stuff is somewhat getting in the way. New hot water system and associated crawling round under the house, which in places is a couple of inches thinner than me.
However I have been reading some books, which is somewhat of a novelty for me.
Late last year Robin Sutton reviewed a book on the eastern front in 1915 by Prit Buttar. It was one of thsoethings were I thought "that's a topic I really know nothing about (apart from Tanneburg was a win for the Germans) . I promptly ordered "Collision of empires" which covers 1914, and "Germany ascendent" which covers 1915.  These are both good reads an to my mind the only negative comment I have is that the maps could be much better. They are a bit too small and unclear as it stands. This aside they are well written and a good window into the horror's of the eastern front, which makes the western front seem somewhat sane and tame in places.  Based on this I have pre-ordered The final book of the series which covers the eastern front in 1916 and 1917 leading to the Russian surrender.

While purchasing these last book I happened to glance at the sidebar and notied another couple of books, "Battleground Prussia" by the same author and 'The fall of the Ottoman empire" which is another area I know nothing about beyond Galipoli and Lawrence of Arabia. "Battleground Prussia" covers the Russian invasion of Prusia in 1945 right through to the end of the war where the fighting lasted several days after the official surrender as troops tried to fight their way to the Baltic and a dangerous boat trip to the west. "Berlin" by Antony Beevor touches on these battles but they are secondary to the main topic.again the maps are a bit dodgy but the writing more than makes up for this. Given his prolific writing I don't know how he holds down his day job as a GP.

So, I'm now far better informed than I was but it has left me divided about getting into Great War Spearhead. There is plenty of scope for games in there but I'm somewhat taken aback by the prolific waste of troops on all sides. People who know me will probably be surprised to see me write that last sentence. Maybe it will suit my style of play....

Friday, July 1, 2016

Possible 1944 Cavalry Corps list

So, a bit later than promised.
I'll also state that these are rather incomplete.

Corps Hq    1 Cavalry stand.
It just doesn't really seem to be much. I think a divisional command stand base should be bigger, maybe 2" square?

There is also a collection of Battalions and regiments similar to those found in the Mech and Tank corps.

Recon battalion
BHQ 1 smg stand in truck.
1 motorcycle coy 3smg stands
1 H/t coy 3 smg stands in M3 H/t

This has been cribbed from the Lists in the spearhead book. the Nafziger lists give numbers of armoured vehicles (14 plus 8 trucks),smg's rifes etc. no motorcycles or horses mentioned. On second thoughts I would expect horses rather than motorcycles.

SP artillery regiment; 4 Su-85.
Given that the cavalry units tended oto operate in rough terrain 4 Su-76's may also be a possibility.

Engineering battalion. Based on the lsts given I would suggest.
BHQ cavalry stand
1 coy 3 engineer stands /rifles in trucks
1 coy 3 engineer stands /rifles incarts.
sounds odd but there's no lower detail so I'm just guessing really.

Motorised tank destroyer regiment.
5 76/41 guns/ tractors. There are also a stack of AT rifles which I'm reluctant to have as separate stands.

Mortar regiment.
4 120mm Mortars/ horse drawn (possibly 2 battalions of 2 stands)
The spearhead lists for both the Mech corps and Tank corps have 2 battalions each with 3 stands. In this case there TOE is only 20 mortars which I can't stretch to 6 stands (and 5 makes no sense)

Anti-aircraft regiment.
4 37mm AA guns/ truck.
1 AA HMG stand / truck.

Rocket battalion
2 BM-13 Katyusha

At Battalion
3 45mm guns/ trucks.
(I still have no idea why you would bother with these as they have no use. May as well give then a bag of rocks.)

That's it for the fighting troops.

The Nafziger list also has 2 tank regiments with T-34/85 but the alternative source states that these did not exist.

So, a few other toys worth having to make up for not having the 4th cavalry regiment in the division. At least theres now enough points to make it to 650.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Russian Cavalry Division 1944 updated.

After My concience asked the question in the last post, I had a quick look on line to see what was avaliable information wise. NowI'll state now that one should take any published TOE (including this one) with a grain of salt.
I've always been of the opnion that if you don't want to know/hear the answer to a question  you shouldn'e ask it in the first place, but I digress.

The sources are from the Nafzinger collection, and from a Russian contributor on the Axis History forum. Mostly they agree. I'll list the Nafzinger list and note differences from the Axisforum list in brackets in red.

1944 Cavalry division.
Divisional HQ 1 cavalry stand.
There are also a selection of vets, bakers etc, which you could model by having another couple of Cavalry SMG stands if you wanted.

3 Cavalry regiments.
In my reading I have not come across a 'Guards unit' with 4 regiments. Any units aquiring Guards status just seemed to be renamed.
RHQ cavalry SMG stand
4 squadrons 3 cavalry SMG platoons. This is an assumption on my part as no breakdown is given.
( 4 cavalry SMG platoons, 1 HMG/cart).
AT platoons are listed but they would be part of the cavalry stands AT factors.
1 squadron 3 HMG/Cart
(already accounted for)
1 AT battery 45mm.
(same). No calibre mentioned in either list
1 battery 76.2mm with no further details.
(Named as a regimental gun, which could be a reference to the 76/16 Infantry gun).
2 82mm Mortar /Cart
(same). Nafzinger doesn't list these on the list but they are present in the weapons breakdown.
1 Engineer cavalry platoon SMG
Nafzinger lists 2 other platoons but no information on what they might be (the regimental dancing Cossack platoons?)

Armoured battalion HQ T34.
4 coy 2 T34.
The list just states 41 tanks with no further details. This does match with the Tank regiments avaliable to the Mech Corps Mechanised brigades.
Armoured Regiment HQ T34
4 T34, 3 T70.

Artillery Battalion
3 76.2mm/horse drawn. No further information.
2 120mm Mortars/horse drawn.
Artillery Battalion
2 76.2mm ZIS-3 /horse drawn.
3 120mm Mortars/horse drawn.
Intersting choice here. I might lean towards the mortars as they are easier to haul round. I've seen pictures in a manual with a 120mm mortar broken down on pack horses.

AA Battery 1 37mm/Truck
(AA Battalion 1 37mm or 25mm AA Horse drawn
5 AA HMG/ horse)

So, there we go. mostly the same but the devil in the details.
There are a stack of other platoons (gas defence, Medical, Vets etc) which I have not included here. I would imagine in combat they would be subsumed in the fighting stands.

Next time I'll cover the higher level Corps setup.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Russian cavalry list

Dr U-S has asked for a list for my Russian cavalry collection.

Its fairly simple, but I'll go through it anyway.

First up, when I write a list for an army that has a points modifier, I tend to multiply the base (in this case 650) by the modifier (0.9 for regular Russians) to give a total of 722.

As always we start with the DHQ (ie RHQ) stand mainly cos its compulsory (or should be) so thats 5 points plus the 2 SMG cavalry escorts @ 10 which adds to 15 pts.

Next up a cavalry regiment (battalion)
RHQ cavalry stand                                              5 pts
1 x recon SMG cavalry                                       5 pts
12 SMG cavalry stands @ 5                              60 pts
3 HMG (horse drawn) @ 6                                18 pts
2 x 81mm Mortar (horse drawn) @ 4                 8 pts
1 x 45/66 ATG (horse drawn) @ 8                     8 pts
1 x 76/16 IG (horse drawn) @ 6                        6 pts
                                                                          110 pts

Thats sod all so lets take 4 (a Guards division) which gives us 440 pts.
Running total is 455.

Next up the tanks.
RHQ T34C @ 20                                                20 pts
6 T34C @ 20                                                    120 pts
                                                                          140 pts
For variety you can use Lease-lend M4's as they cost the same. I would use this as a separate unit rather than splitting it up with the cavalry regiments, though others might have differing thoughts (combined arms and all that clap-trap).
Running total is 580 pts.

1 Horse artillery battalion
3 x 76/16 IG (horse drawn) @ 12                       36 pts
2 x 120mm Mortar (horse drawn) @ 6               12 pts
                                                                            48 pts
Running total 628 pts

Anti tank battalion (for all the good it will do).
3 x 45/66 ATG (horse drawn) @ 8                     24 pts

Running total 672 pts.

Divisional Recon company.
3 x recon SMG cavalry                                       15 pts

Running total 687 pts.

Engineering battalion.
3 Engineer cavalry stands @ 6                           18 pts

(The list has 3 engineer cavalry stands listed under divisional companys on the list, but I think that this is confused with the divisional battaion as its about the same size, and it makes no sense to have a company and a battalion of the same size in the division).
Running total 705 pt.

Last up a 37mm AA gun (the Russian version of the 40mm Bofors slightly modified) and truck (someone does get to travel in comfort) @ 6 pts.

So, with everything on the list taken, we get to 711 points, 11 points short. Add in a lone Katyusha (nothing ruins your day like being on the wrong end of an MRL strike) off table @ 7 and its 718 pts.

So, there we go, 109 stands (I was mistaken).
Take an option A with 2 Sturmovics with bombs, rockets or AT cannons (your choice) and another Katyusha off tabel and thats less than 50 points.

No idea about a defend list, I have not thought that far, but SMG's in defence can be nasty if they are in terrain or dug in.

There we go, No special bells and Whistles for this, just large units of cavalry moving at 9" through terrain and dismounting as SMG's. Whats not to love.....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

No surprises...

.......For anyone that knows me.

After the previous post on buying a T55 tank regiment, I was looking in 'Der Room' for something else when I spied this in the stack.

 Hmm, what could be inside the 2nd one down.....

 Well, it appears that I already own a T55 tank regimen (with BTR 50's no less). Admittedly they are the older model, but still....
The interesting thing is that it says 1 on the box, so obviously there is a second box somewhere.
Is it in this stack?

 Or in this stack?

Obviously I need to do a bit more research into local WARPAC requirements before I charge off and shop...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

T55 tank regiment thoughts.

I've been pondering buying some more lead in the last couple of weeks. Fortunately I have not yet had to spend money as Heroics and Ros are 'on sabatical' while Andy recovers from surgery (which went well and he's doing nicely).

To continue on from my Austrian project, I have been thinking about adding to their opponents. I already have a collection of Czech models which are sufficient without being complete to Lukes army lists and so I was leaning towards Hungarians. While not having a complete list a general collection could be purchased to do the job while waiting for other information to come to light.
I have had a look at the Fire and Fury collection and;
A) Can't quite decipher them in terms of the number of models required as the numbers don't translate to reality sensibly.
B) I'm "quite" skeptical about some of the details. The East Germans did not have T62's in service to start with, and if there are obvious mistakes like that, then who knows whats lurking in the depths.
C) It has to be the most bizarre/arcane/unreadable/confusing way of constructing an army list. it takes 5 minutes just to locate what you are after.

Anyhoo, with all that out of the way, I thought I would start with a T55 tank regiment.

 3 battalions 7 T55.

recce coy
1 PT76
2 Fug

AA coy
1 ZSU 23/4
1 SA 9

Artillery battalion
AOP in fug
4 M1938 + tows

So far pretty straightforward. The artillery battalion is rather a moot point as depending on the sources it either didn't exist, or was just a battery etc. . For arguments sake lets just let it ride for the moment.
The other option would be to have 2 ZSU 57-2 in the AA company.
For infantry support there are some interesting possibilities. Hungary brought 350 BMP-1 in the 1970's which gives enough for about 9-10 battalions plus odds and ends. so 3 regiments in the front line units (5th TD, and the 4th and 8th MRD ). This doesn't leave enough for any sort of infantry support for any of the tank regiments, so possibly add a company (battalion?) of PSZH-IV.

Interestingly if you then purchase a company of BMP-1, A company of BTR-50 (which will have to do until H&R makes a proper OT62) and some D-30 122mm artillery, and you can use the unit for East Germans, Polish and Czechs, as well as 1960's Russians.