13 March 2016

Soviet Motor Rifle Squads - Updated with more content!!!

Ok - let's try this again...

I thought I should start out with some examples of what I want to do in the TO&E sections - by showing the basic Soviet Motor Rifle Squads.  I'll start with the BTR Squad.

Here is the TO&E according to FM 100-2-3.  My wargaming squad looks like this:


All the figures here are from RH Models or Liberation Miniatures.  From left to right:  Squad Leader w/AK-74, RPK Gunner, RPG Gunner and 5 soldiers w/AK-74.

The BMP-1 Squad (which I showed the TO&E for in the last thread) is exactly the same:

Again all the figures here are from RH Models or Liberation Miniatures. From left to right: Squad Leader w/AK-74, RPK Gunner, RPG Gunner and 5 soldiers w/AK-74.

The BMP-2 Squad is slightly different:

The only change is one less AK-74 armed soldier in the squad.

Possible squad upgrades include - replacing 1 AK-74 with an AK-74/BG-15, replacing the RPK with a PKM, and adding an RPG-18.  I wasn't sure if it was worth photographing the squad kitted out with all the upgrade options or not...

Up on the Northern Flank, Motor Rifle Plattons are equipped with the MTLB-V.  Here's how I've arranged their squads:

Basically exactly the same as the BTR and BMP-1 squad - as I can't find any evidence about this at all I just went with keeping it the same.  Seemed like the right Soviet bureaucratic appraoch to take!

So that's TO&E 1 - let me know what you think and if it's useful I will put up more.



08 March 2016

Table of Organisation and Equipment (TO&E)

So, a word on Tables of Organisation and Equipment...

Starting this week I'm going to begin to a new series of posts on the TO&Es I've been finding/preparing and using in my Cold War games and army lists.  I thought it might be somewhat useful, others might find it interesting and it may allow some feedback which will update my work.

After a year or two of searching the net and books to develop army lists for my Cold War games I've gained a bit of experience into the vagaries of Cold War TO&Es.  You would think it would be a fairly easy task - I mean if you want to find a TO&E for almost any force in WW2, it's a relatively straight forward task.  Forty odd years on and it's not always so easy.

I guess some things are still shrouded with "security" and secrecy and most of the easy to access detail we have of particularly Soviet/WARPAC TO&Es come from de-classified NATO documents which may or may not have been particularly accurate.

Some bits of information on the net can also be slightly misleading.  Take this for example:

This pic is from the very useful Global Security website.  It shows the maximum capacity seating arrangements for the BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs.  Green are your dismounts and Blue are your crew.  This picture implies that a BMP-1 has 8 dismounts, while a BMP-2 has 7 dismounts.

Then you look at this from FM 100-2-3  The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization, and Equipment:

Reading this makes it pretty clear that the BMP-1 should have 7 dismounts, with 2 crew remaining in the vehicle.  So it should look like this:

while the BMP-2, with one less dismount, should look like this:

The BMP-1 has 2 empty seats and the BMP-2 has 1 empty seat.  Most of these will be filled up later - more on that in posts to come.

Another issue is the whole reality versus TO&E.  I once read (and I have no idea where so can't find it of course right now) that in the BAOR (and I assume many NATO armies) units that were at full establishment were actually chronically undermanned.  This was due to men being away through illness, leave, training courses etc etc.  I assume that this would change in the lead up to war and that at least for the first few days, many frontline or reserve units would be essentially fully manned.  This may be massive overreach on my part - and I'd be keen to see what you think.

Again re NATO, TO&Es changed quite considerably in the 1980s.  The Brits went from a squad armed primarily with the FN SLR to the SA-80, from the FN MAG and Carl Gustav as squad support weapons to the LSW and LAW80.  In the same period the US Army added the M249 SAW to their squad TO&E and dropped the M-60 GPMG from the squad to platoon level.  So dependent on the year, the TO&E could change dramatically.

These are a few simple examples of how confusing things can be for a wargamer.  I think I've changed my Soviet list 3 or 4 times over the years to try and deal with things I've stumbled across on the internet.  I'm pretty sure my latest version of the list is probably back to the first one!

So - as the TO&E posts come out - bear in mind a couple of things:
  • I don't claim to be 100% correct and will appreciate any feedback which is more accurate.
  • All TO&Es are one-to-one - so 1 man equals 1 man.
  • My Soviet TO&Es are primarily/heavily based on FM 100-2-3
  • My "game year" is a hypothetical 1986 (so some equipment only available in '87 & '88 may be available in '86)
  • Game mechanics can influence game TO&Es
So that's the theory behind what I'm doing.  I hope this helps makes sense of what you seen in my TO&E posts to come - rather than it being just me waffling on!

Have fun


05 March 2016

A Memorial Post for my Big Brother - For Mark

Well it's almost a month to the day of my last post - and the reason I've been silent for the month is that my family lost our brother/son - Mark.  He was only 55 and passed very quickly from a heart attack at home.  While his death was sudden, he was not the most healthy of chaps and I guess deep down we we all expecting it sooner or later.  What bites the most is that we never really got the chance to say good-bye until it was too late.

Anyway - Mark was a big model maker - and an even bigger model buyer - we found 150 kits still in their boxes in his apartment!  He built almost anything - from planes to armour to ships to cars.  As a kid he inspired me to get into model kits and toy soldiers and I really wouldn't be a wargamer today if it wasn't for him - not that he ever wargamed, but wanting to be like him as a kid meant I got into tanks and planes to begin with.

So it seemed appropriate that I bring home a few samples of his built kits, and take some photos of them to share with the wider community in a memorial to him.  Only then do I feel I can get back to "normal" mundane blogging.

Unfortunately some of Mark's kits had gotten very dusty - which I learnt to my horror (whilst comprehensively wrecking an 1/48th scale A-10 which I was trying to clean) is incredibly hard to get off.  Please bear that in mind.

So in keeping with this blog I thought I should start with a couple of his Cold War era Soviet vehicles:

Here's a BM-21

And a SA-6 SAM TEL

Now a few WW2 kits:

An SAS Desert Jeep

One of my favs - a lovely FlaK36 88mm AA gun

This SdKfz 7...

...and this towed "88" are in my opinion a couple of Mark's best kits, beautifully weathered with a white wash.

Finally Mark gave this Pzr IV to me a few years back and not only will it always be treasured, but it will always have a place in my miniatures display cabinet.

So thanks for indulging me - however briefly.  Here's to my brother.

Love you mate.