I’ve been on a push to get my WW2 Soviets sorted lately, and this is a mixed bag of support options. Most of it will work equally well for my regular Fortified Region troops, or representing regular army attachments to a partisan unit.

Command Bunker

I built this one when I made the bunkers for the Maxims, and use a similar process. It’s basically a couple of layers of foamcore chopped into roughly the right shape, then covered with artists textured gel. The sandbags are just made from strips of milliput rolled out and squished a bit.

To differentiate it from the MG bunkers I added a roof propped up on matchsticks. It’s also got a rear entrance that makes more sense than the MG bunkers. I realised after doing them that I’d put the entrance pointing straight into the bunker. In reality you’d always have a 90 degree bend so that someone outside can’t just shoot in through the doorway! Oops, at least that’s fixed on this command post.

The cam net is cheap medical gauze dyed green, and the radio antenna is a plastic bristle from a broom.

Why a command bunker you ask? Well, it’s a support option I added to the Machine Gun platoon list which allows the Soviets to use the “command by radio” rules. Since it’s a prepared position they’re assumed to have landlines laid to their various pits back to the CP. This allows the sparse Soviet unit to spread out beyond the SL’s normal 9″ radius and occupy a much more dispersed position. Of course, it’ll also work perfectly well as terrain or an objective for other games.

Sniper and Medic

I got these two from Bad Squiddo Games interesting range of female Soviets. It’s no secret that plenty of Soviet women served in WW2, many of them in combat roles. Part of this was ideological (the Communists were at least in theory all about everybody sharing equally in the fate of the state, regardless of class, gender or race) but a lot of it was probably simple pragmatism. After all, it hard to argue against arming your womenfolk when you desperately need millions of troops. Many were conscripts, but there were also a lot of volunteers.

One female sniper watches through her scope while her spotter holds up a helmet on a stick

A female sniper pair rocking one the oldest tricks in the book

As I understand it while there were all-female infantry units they didn’t see combat, but individual Soviet women certainly did. Over 2000 served as snipers, and some as tank drivers and machine gunners, with the balance of the 800,000 women in uniform in medical, anti-aircraft, signals and other rear-echelon roles. While obviously a bit of a novelty I’m confident this sniper pair and medic don’t look like some kind of anachronism alongside their male comrades. It’s definitely a unique and defining feature of a Soviet force.

The actual miniatures are decent, but not brilliant and aren’t really worth the premium price tag on them. The sniper pair is £6, which about double the going rate. The miniatures aren’t actually bad, just a bit meh. The detail on them is soft, the weapons in particularly are especially lacking. A better paint job than mine might be able to bring them to life a bit, but I found them somewhat bland.

I still think  they’re perfectly serviceable for filling in the odd figure here and there and adding something a bit different to your Soviets, but I think they’re overpriced for what they are.

Flame thrower

Keep smiling Ivan, you’re only carrying a big tank of fuel and a naked flame. What could go wrong?

Another bit of must-have kit, the eastern front saw widespread use of flamethrowers in both attack and defence. The Soviet ROKS flamethrowers were interesting weapons, with the flame projector being designed to look like a rifle in an attempt to give the operator a bit of extra survivability.

The miniature of the actual flamethrower is Warlord and comes in a blister with the 50mm mortar and a random guy with an SMG. He needs a couple of friends to make up a 3-man flamethrower team in Chain of Command, so I made up an extra plastic figure and slapped some paint on them. To be honest the flamethrower miniature has some issues. It’s all cast as one piece, which means there’s some chunky flash between the hose for the flamethrower and the body. I found it was going to be too difficult to cut away, so the best you can do is paint it in a way that it won’t be too obvious. I do wonder if this should really be cast as a multi-piece figure. They do seperate heads after all, and some seperate flamethrower arms with the hose attached would work better.

The paint job on these guys was a bit of a rush-job if I’m honest, but they won’t be spending a lot of time on the table so it’ll do!

82mm Mortar

Hailing from Black Tree Design, this mortar is a strange-looking beastie. Apparently it’s an 82-BM-43, which was an updated version of the 82-BM-41 (aka PM-41). That’s an 82mm weapon, and the funny wheels could either be detached or left on while firing as shown here.

You only get two miniatures with it, so you’re likely to need to scrounge up some more bodies for the crew. Pretty standard stuff there, nobody ever sells heavy weapons with realistic crew sizes. You get one bloke kneeling by the gun with an opened ammo box, and one guy sitting on another ammo box seemingly taking it easy. The actual crew should be four men and an NCO (although this guy looks more like an officer and I’ve painted him as such).

Like all the stuff from the BTD Soviet range these sculpts are very nice. They’ve got good detail and character without being outlandish, and are a size that mixes well with other ranges. Flash was non-existent, as were mould lines. The only advice I’d give is to watch Black Tree’s website and never pay full price. They discount things every week, you should have no trouble getting these at 40% off or more. It’s so easy to get them in a sale that I consider the discounted one to be the real price!

Why do I even need an 82mm mortar when I mostly play skirmish games? Well, because one of the little quirks of the Soviet Machine Gun Artillery battalions was that they had 82mm mortars but no observers and sod all radios. So the 82mm tubes were largely used as direct fire weapons.

I kept it on a small base, and I’ve actually already got a suitable mortar pit from my EWM field defences.

 

50mm Mortar

As mentioned above, this comes in a blister with the Warlord flamethrower, so if you want a flamer then you’ll be getting one of these too. The Soviets never really stopped using anything simply because it was rubbish, so these dinky little mortars soldiered on right to the end of the war.

 

It’s a nicely posed little two-man team, so I’ve based them as such. No idea how much I’ll use it, the 82mm above has a lot more bang for your buck, and both would be available to a platoon position in a Fortified Region MG Artillery Battalion.