Shrinking Soviet Orders of Battle

Soviet Infantry Corps

Updated Feb 2021

As the war progressed, the Soviets were no more immune than the Axis powers to shrinking manpower and equipment. Taking the new infantry order of battle for July 1942, standardised finally in December 1942, given in Zaloga and Ness’ (1998) Red Army Handbook, we have the following NQM mid-war orbat  for the Divisional Scale Orbat (DSO) at the bottom of the page and Corps Scale Orbat (CSO) at the top of the page:

The NQM CSO Orbat Summary is:

Divisional HQ & Signals.

Comd car (C3), signal truck or cart (C3), single figure NKVD (C1)¹, 3 single fig recce (R1)

Infantry Regiment HQ x 2-3.

Comd + 82mm mortar or 75mm Regt Gun or anti-tank rifle (C2-3)²

Soviet troops PSC- 2 new PP - old PPFlags are optional, but look  splendid

Infantry Battalions x 6-9.

 Rifle (F3)

PP old Russian Infantry in Greatcoats

Field Artillery Regiment.

76mm div gun + two-horse limber (S3)

34 GD Corps Arty

Medium Machine Gun Battalion.

MMG (S3)

Anti-tank Battalion.

 45mm anti-tank gun + truck or Komsomolets limber (S3)

P&GM T-20 Komsololets with PP 45mm Anti Tank gunPioneer Battalion.

2 Pioneer (E1) or  Truck (E2-3)

Divisional Services.

Medical cart (L3), Ammo Cart (L3), Artillery cart (L3), Truck (L3)

These are often extracted to Corps level in our campaign.

The NQM DSO Orbat Summary is:

Divisional HQ & Signals.

Comd car (C3), signal truck or cart (C3), single figure NKVD¹ (C1), 3 single fig recce (R1). There are now twice as many political officers and NCOs in a divisional HQ as regular officers and NCOs!

Infantry Regiment HQ x 3.

Comd + 82mm mortar + MMG if not at Bn level, anti-tank rifle (CS2-4). The 76mm regimental gun has shrunk to 4 per division  so is no longer a key equipment to model. I am currently (spring 2012) only modelling 2 regiments for regular battalions and 3 for guards divisions.

Infantry Battalions x 6-9.

Comd + optional MMG (C1 or 2), 3 rifle (F3) . MMGs no longer always appear at this level and I have reduced Soviet battalions to 6 in a division unless it is a Guards Division. The blue trousers of the chaps below show that they have come from my cavalry division.

Field Artillery Regiment.

FOO (O1), 76mm div gun (S3) + two-horse limber (L3). Command staff are represented at divisional level.

Medium Machine Gun Battalion.

3 MMG (S3). If they do not appear at Bn level.

Anti-tank Battalion.

Anti-tank rifle (S3), 45mm anti-tank gun (S3) + truck or Komsomolets limber (L3).
Regimental anti-tank weapons appear at this level. Command staff are represented at divisional level. the Soviets recognised, as did the Wehrmacht, that anti-tank weapons needed to be as mobile as possible. this is not to say that these guns were never horse-drawn.

P&GM T-20 Komsololets with PP 45mm Anti Tank gun

Pioneer Bn.

2 Pioneer (E2). The lack of transport implies an assault pioneer role for these troops. Command staff are represented at divisional level.

Divisional services.

Medical cart (L3), Ammo Cart (L3), Artillery cart (L3), Truck (L3). These are often extracted to Corps level in our campaign.


In the picture above, it is clear that there is space to spare now in my standard-sized divisional box for the DSO.

  • The seven 120mm mortars in a division now usually appear at corps level in separate artillery battalions or divisions.

120mm mortars with integral tows

P&GM STZ-5 and 122mm Gun (1)

  • AA capability is shown at corps or army level too.

Soviet 85mm AA

  • Units are more likely to be understrength than at full strength.



  1. NKVD or Commissars are played on a regimental HQ to bolster failed morale. The unit can ignore a rout result that round, but takes 1 light die’s-worth of pips (as permanent strength loss) from the Commissar  pour encouragé les autres. In an attack, the Commisar can add one light die to the attacker’s score. If it is a 1, the Commissar dies heroically!
  2. I show the Morale Strength of an HQ by a d6 on the base Elite = 5, Veteran = 4, Regular = 3, Conscript or Militia = 2, Green troops =1. The Strength drops by 1 morale point after each reorganisation. At 0 the unit is no longer combat effective.


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Orbats, Soviet Army, Wargames, WWII

7 responses to “Shrinking Soviet Orders of Battle

  1. Mike

    Who are the guys with the blue helmets representing? A particular unit?


  2. They are my naval infantry regiment, Mike. I went with mostly normal Soviet infantry with just a few naval infantry mixed in at command level as most of my sources state that they wore regular uniforms. I’ve kept the trousers black as a point of differentiation, but you can’t see that from the top.

    Regards, Chris


  3. Dave Carter

    Now I’m feeling smart. I deduced that from the anchor on the command stand. Gotta love that US satellite intel 🙂
    (no idea what the symbol is on the other regiment, though)

    And I suppose those are hastily drafted conscript units (ATR?) in the back 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dave,

      Full marks for SatCam and your photo analysts 🙂 The symbols are completely arbitrary and keep changing as I move stands around units. And yes, the two Japanese stand-ins are just there until I paint up another couple of anti-tank rifles, or they may end up there permanently if they fight well. This happens a lot in NQM-land.


  4. Dave Carter

    It looks like 2 Bn of the naval infantry (and some of the regular infantry) are only 2-figure stands. Does that make them Str2 or is that purely cosmetic (as they await the painting of the rest of their company)? Does the same apply to Bn HQ?


    • I have been round in a full circle with the numbers of figures on bases over the years. Originally, each figure represented 1 strength point (s1) (or 10 infantry) and I showed the strength of a unit by the numbers of figures on the stand. Then it started to become complicated with artillery, where the heavier guns such as 203mm only had 20 tubes but much bigger crews, so in the end there was no link between strength and figures. Now I mostly use 2 figures per infantry base to make the figures go further and put as many artillery crew on a base as looks right.

      Kind regards, Chris


  5. Update 2021: I now use a 4 figure Flames of War-sized stand to show an S3 battalion in Corps Scale Orbat.


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