Wednesday, 13 January 2016

War on the Eastern Front

I've started the mammoth task of redoing my WW2 Russians to provide troops for both winter and non-winter battles (in 6mm of course)!. 

The first phase is done - with a division of German troops in winter camo already painted up and in the same numbers as the Russians below (4 men for standard infantry, 6 for SMG etc.)

Next phase I'm in at the moment - rebasing my 'summer' Russians.  I've acquired these over a number of years from Ebay etc. and they are all on slightly different base sizes with different uniform colours, non-standard units per base (some with 8, 6, 3, 4 per stand plus vehicles etc.) and with different base depths (card, MDF) and flock - so basically they just looked a mess on the table.

So the big initial job has been taking them off their bases (never easy and a few casualties that had been excessively glued were incurred).  This allows me to mix units up a bit more to make them look more interesting (so rather than just 4 infantry with the same pose I can mix it up with a grenade thrower, LMG, SMG, kneeling shooter etc.).

They will all be painted the same colour though and all base materials (talus, flock and paint colours) will be the same to give a much better overall look.

These will be based for Spearhead (3cm square bases) with 4 men per base for basic infantry, 6 for SMG, each heavy weapon will have its own base (81mm mortar, HMG etc.), engineers will be 4 to a base in a square formation (to differentiate from basic infantry) and all HQ units will have a small vehicle (scout car) plus 3 units.  This will make units easier to identify.  In addition, the rear edge of the base will have a different colour painted on it to provide easier identification of regiments.

This phase is well underway.  I bought some more Russian infantry to ensure I had enough to fill the infantry requirements for any scenario and found I have many more SMG figures than I need so I will use one per base on standard infantry bases to meet the quotas.  Some may find themselves fighting in Winter as a result (see below).

Phase 3 will then be vehicles - most of my tanks, AFV's etc. are well painted but as above come on many different bases.  So this will be a simple case of just rebasing the vehicles themselves.  However, with Winter war in mind, I must allocate essentially half of everything to have winter bases and winter camo. 

Then Phase 4 is painting the Winter Russians.  I've ordered a batch of basic infantry, SMG and heavy weapons from Heroics and Ros to meet the numbers required.  These are fairly easy to paint up but winter basing is trickier so that's the bit which will take longest.  Like their new Winter Germans, these are slightly chunkier but with better detail and more poses.

Final stage is then painting Winter German tanks and AFV's.  I have a large number of vehicles acquired from Ebay over the years.  Paint jobs on them are pretty poor and done for 'summer' campaigns.  I need to basically strip the paint and start from scratch - and then base as per the winter infantry.  I don't have summer Germans as Mark has everything we need.

In between times I have to put some thought to special rules for fighting in winter.  Generally in Spearhead the Germans are basically much better than the opposition.  Their infantry are better (+1) to account for their greater tactical nous and use of automatic weapons.  They can change orders on anything but a 1 while Russians need a 6 to change orders for example - so the German commander can be much more flexible and change plans on a whim.  Their vehicles also are better in terms of defence and attack.

However, in the Russian winter things were not as straightforward.  Russian AFV's were better suited to the conditions (wider tracks on the tanks, better starters in the cold etc.).  Russian troops were more comfortable in the cold and their hand held weapons were better (their lubricating oils meant that Russian guns rarely jammed in the cold - German guns often did).  German troops were also disinclined to go on the offensive in the winter months.

This would probably be translated as ideas along the lines of...

a) German vehicles do not automatically start - they may need d4 or d6 turns to get started.
b) Once on the move, German vehicles roll a d6 each time they move and a 1 means they are stuck for that turn.  If a 1 is rolled for the following turn it is stuck for the duration of the battle - it can still fire (if an AFV) or disembark troops (if and APC or truck).
c) Germans troops do not get their usual fighting bonus (the volume of firepower is offset by jammed weapons and cold fingers).
d) Before the battle starts the German player rolls against all troops and vehicles as if being hit by mortar or small-arms fire and suffers Supressions on a 'hit' - this represents poor unit cohesion, loss of troops through frostbite or cold-related conditions.  Supressions are removed in the usual way.  This may be optional after 1944 when better cold-weather uniforms were issued.
e) The referee can designate parts of the battlefield as 'deep snow' - areas in each sides zone of control are known by that player but not the opponent.  Moving into these areas would slow or halt movement while inside them. 

Some more ideas will come but that will do for now...

1 comment:

  1. Nice one. Look forward to seeing the finished bases and I have a few winter scenarios for the eastern front that I can't wait to try. The rules amendments are worth a think; I would have thought that these would only apply after 41/42 or at Stalingrad 42/43. One further idea is making the Germans change order on a 3 or higher; still good but makes the German player think again in winter conditions and forces them to put together a better plan because of the conditions.