Flames of War for the Cash-Strapped Part II: the Red Army


"The Pope?  How many divisions has he got?" Joseph Stalin

Putting together a Red Army force on a budget is difficult because the lists typically require a high model count.  However, the task has become less expensive since Gamers World began stocking both Plastic Soldier Company and Zvevda models in addition to the high quality, but pricier, Battlefront models.  The lists below use a combination of these.  As before, certain caveats apply:

1.  Our concerns in constructing the lists were pecuniary not competitive.  Some of the lists below can be easily countered but can also make an opponent cry depending on the match up.
2.  From a modeling perspective our concern was WYSIWYG rather than verisimilitude.  However, when using PSC infantry even this can be tricky.  The basing of infantry teams (either SMG, Rifle/MG, or Rifle) requires 4 to 5 models per base.  The PSC box comes with a mix of SMG and Rifle models with additional MG guys.  Try to follow the individual army list as best as you can.
3.  All of the lists below were created using the recently released book Red Bear: Allied Forces on the Eastern Front, January 1944-February 1945.  The lists are not exhaustive,  nor do we claim that they are even the best value for money that may be possible.  Nevertheless, we are impressed with the lists we were able to generate drinking Guinness in T.P. Smiths using the back of an envelope and a stubby pencil.
4.  All of the lists are in the 1500 point range.
5.  People familiar with 40k will understand the list structure.  Lists include a mandatory HQ and two combat platoons.  These are supplemented by a multitude of support platoons.
6.  Prices below are gleaned from the internet.
7.  The rules for rockets (Katyushas in this case) are interesting.  Most artillery suffers a minus to-hit if it does not "range-in" on the first try.  Rockets get three attempts to "range-in" and suffer no penalty to hit.  The downside is they leave a smoke trail which makes counter-battery fire easier. 

Here are the six lists:

Tankovy Batalon (p.20 Red Bear)



The T-34 is iconic.  In my opinion it was the best all around tank of the war, and I have more degrees than a thermometer.  The production figures alone are staggering.  Over 34,000 T-34/76s and 22,000 T-34/85s make the T-34 the most numerous medium tank of the war.

This list is the classic T-34/76 horde.  Make no mistake, this is potentially a horrific list to face.  Twenty one T-34s with tank riders are knife fighters.  Add the threat of Il-2 sturmoviks and Panthers and Tigers are reduced to shy kittens that stick close to forests and buildings.  Finally, you've got a mortar platoon to harass enemy guns and infantry.  If you want 4 platoons on the table swap out the air support for 3 SU-85s for an equal point cost.

HQ
T-34 obr 1942 with cupola and tank riders 70

Combat Companies
1  Tankkovy Company: 10 T-34 obr 1942 with tank riders and cupolas  560
1  Tankkovy Company:  10 T-34 obr 1942 with tank riders and cupolas  560

Weapons companies
Motorised Mortar Company with observer rifle team   110

Corps supports
Il-2 limited air support  200

Total points: 1500

What you buy:
1 PSC T-34 reinforcement sprue: €5
4 PSC T-34 boxes:  €80
1 Zvezda Il-2: €3.25 (or 3 Battlfront blisters [SU102] SU-85s for €27)
1 Battle Front blister [SU735] Mortar Company: €14

Total cost:  €102.25

Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk (Guards Heavy Tank Regiments, p. 44 Red Bear)


If a tank swarm is not your brand of coffee then try the mighty IS-2.  The Soviets designed this tank as a counter to the Tiger and it certainly fulfills that role.  This is an elite army, to be sure, and it will not be forgiving of tactical errors.

HQ
IS-2 obr 1943, AA MG,  140

Combat companies
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy company: 4 IS-2, tank riders,580
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy company: 4 IS-2, tank riders, 580

Corps support
Il-2 limited air support 200

Total points: 1500

What you buy:
2 Battlefront boxes [SBX08] Guards Heavy Tank Company:  €108
1 Zvezda Il-2 €3.25

Total cost: €111.25

Peredovoye Otryad (Forward Detachment Tank Company, p. 76 Red Bear)



During the final year of the war the Soviets formed Forward Detachments to seek out and exploit gaps or weaknesses in Axis lines.  This is one of a few lists in Red Bear that combine heavy and medium armor.

HQ
T-34/85 with cupola,  110

Combat companies
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy company: 10 T-34/85,  715
Tank rider company: 1 platoon,   135

Corps support
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy company: 4 IS-2 , 540

Total points:  1500

What you buy:
2 PSC T-34 boxes, €40
1 Battlefront box [SBX08] Guards Heavy Tank Company:  €54
1 PSC T-34 reinforcement sprue: €5
1 Battlefront blister [SU703] Submachine-gun platoon €17


Total cost: €116


Strelkovy Batalon (Rifle battalion, p. 24 Red Bear)


We have already considered massed T-34s, but no catalogue of Soviet lists would be complete without the massed infantry of the Red Army.  This list can be either Red Army or Guards.  The one posted here is Red Army.

HQ
Battalion HQ with Sapper Platoon, 115

Combat companies
Strelkovy company with Komissar, two rifle/MG platoons, one SMG platoon,  365
Strelkovy company with Komissar, two rifle/MG platoons, one SMG platoon,  365

Weapons companies
Strelkovy scout platoon, 1 scout squad, 100

Corps support
Il-2 priority air support, 270
8 BM-13-16 Katyusha, 2 with extra crew, AA platoon, 285

Total points: 1500

What you buy:
3 boxes of PSC late war Russian infantry in summer uniform: €60
1 Zvezda Il-2 €3.25
2 Zvezda Katyusha platoon boxes: €30
2 Battlefront blisters [SU162] DShK AA truck: €18
2 Battlefront blister [XX103] medium bases: €18
1 Battlefront blister [XX104] small bases: €9
You'll also need to purchase or make a 12" square template for the Katyushas' devastating bombardments.

Total cost: €138.25 
(Sadly, this list is well outside of our targeted budget.  However, if you use the Katyushas as the BM-31-12 model with extra crew you have a 720 point unit.  If you run the list as a Guards army rather than regular Red Army you will also dramatically increase the point cost.  Three PSC infantry boxes also gives you almost 400 infantry figures!)



Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon (Lend-lease tank battalion, p. 124 Red Bear).





The United States sent over 4,000 Sherman tanks to the Soviets as part of the Lend-Lease program.  They were quite popular among Soviet tankers.  We like them too.

HQ
M4 (76mm M4A2), 95

Combat companies
6 M4 (76mm M4A2), 480
6 M4 (76mm M4A2), 480

Weapons companies
Tank-rider company, 2 platoons, komissar, 265

Corps support
Decoy tank company, 3 StuG G, 165

Total points: 1485

What you buy:
3 boxes PSC Shermans, €60
1 box of PSC StuGs, €20
1 box of PSC late war Russian infantry in summer uniform, €20
1 Battlefront blister [XX103] medium bases: €9 (hack down two bases to the small size to use for the command and komissar tank-rider teams).

Total cost: €109

Rota Razvedi (Reconaissance company, p. 78 Red Bear)


In the last two years of the war the Soviet high command, Stavka, pushed for the establishment of light, mobile exploitation forces.  These reconassaince forces were fast and deadly.  They identified then flanked enemy forces while the heavy support could move in for the kill.  The list allows for the use of captured Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks which makes running such a heavily mechanized list relatively affordable.

HQ
Rota Razvedki HQ in Sd Kfz 251s, 35

Combat platoon
Razvedki platoon in Sd Kfz 251s, 2 rifle squads, 115
Razvedki platoon in Sd Kfz 251s, 2 rifle squads, 115

Weapons companies
Motostrelkovy company, 1 motor rifle platoon, komissar, 170
Gvardeyskiy tankovy company, 5 T-34/85 with SMG tank escorts, cupolas, 500

Corps support
Spetsnaz platoon, 1 squad, 100
Guards rocket mortar battalion, 4 BM-13-16 katyusha with extra crew, 160
Il-2 priority air support, 270

Total points: 1465

What you buy:
2 PSC half-tracks: €40
1 box PSC T-34s: €20
1 Zvezda katyusha box: €15
1 Zvezda Il-2: €3.25
1 box PSC infantry: €20
1 Battlefront blister [XX103] medium bases: €9 (hack down two bases to the small size to use for the command and 2iC teams).

Total cost:  €107.25

 In conclusion, PSC has announced that it will soon be offering German and Soviet heavy weapons.  These will present some inexpensive opportunities to construct massive artillery lists.  When available, artillery could be added to any of the above lists to hit the 1750 mark.






Labels: , , , , , , ,