You can’t have a WW2 Soviet force without one of their dinky 45mm AT guns, so I got the Warlord one and took a crack at it:

The 45mm Anti-tank gun

A 45mm AT gun in Rostov 1943

The Soviets seemed to never really chuck anything away, even when it was well-past its use-by date. The 45mm AT gun was already in service when Operation Barabarossa kicked off, and it was still on the front line on VE day. Used in huge numbers (over 48,000!), it was upgraded during the war and saw action everywhere.

Light and handy, the gun could be manhandled fairly easily by the crew, and must have been difficult to spot at range. Obviously the small 45mm calibre meant that German tanks and assault guns quickly became pretty much invulnerable to it, but there were still plenty of things it could hurt (Marders, half tracks, trucks, people who stand still too long) and the infantry are never unhappy to have a heavy weapon available.

These guns were a battalion asset in the infantry, each battalion having a pair of them. In a Machine Gun Artillery battalion despite having far fewer men they had four times as many guns; each company had two (so eight in the battalion). This fits with their overall mission of holding the same ground as a much larger unit.

The Warlord kit

The 45mm is a small gun, and to be honest this kit from Warlord is a bit of a fiddly build. Casting quality was excellent, with minimal clean up required, but it’s a fairly flimsy little thing, and the mating of the parts is a little loose. I had to assemble it in stages, leaving a good bit of curing time for the glue in between. I left the gun shield loose until after I’d painted it a bit, as the sharp rake back makes it tricky to get in behind it.

This is the big plastic base that comes with the gun. I ended up using a smaller one so that it fits snugly behind by AT gun positions.

You get three metal crew with the kit, they’re all quite slight sculpts. The majority of Warlord’s Soviet range is plastic, and are a lot, lot bulkier. To get the crew up to the numbers required for Chain of Command I had to build three extra crew from the plastic sprues I had lying around. As the metal crew were in a mix of summer uniform and the padded telegroika jackets I did the same for the plastics. The size mismatch between the plastic and metal is noticeable, but not something I lose sleep over. The plastic sprues only contain a limited number of arms that are suitable for anything except holding a weapon, but I added some ammo boxes to make them look a bit more like gun crew instead of infantry.

While building the gun I matched it up to my AT gun emplacements, and ended up switching to a smaller MDF base instead of the plastic one provided as this was a better fit.

I made enough extra crew so that they can man other guns like a Zis-3, which is a much more respectable tank stopper, but the little 45mm still has a role to play and will do the job for either my Fortified Region boys or (much more likely) the Partisans.┬áThese guns did sometimes got smuggled behind German lines to partisan units. Nobody really makes a partisan gun crew for them in 28mm though, and to be honest this is the kind of specialist kit that I’m assuming would have had regular troops sent to man it anyway, so I’m happy to use this model for a partisan unit as is.