Shrinking Soviet Orders of Battle

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 :

Divisional HQ & Signals.

Comd car (C3), signal truck or cart (C3), single figure NKVD (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 Komsolets 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.

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.

  • The seven 120mm mortars in a division now usually appear at corps level in separate artillery battalions or divisions.
  • The twelve 122m howitzers in a division also appear at corps level in artillery divisions.
  • AA capability is shown at corps or army level too.
  • Units are more likely to be understrength than at full strength.
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6 Comments

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

6 responses to “Shrinking Soviet Orders of Battle

  1. Mike

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

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  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

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  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 😉

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    • 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.

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  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?

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    • 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

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