The first Soviets began to form up, the ground trembled and acrid diesel fumes permeated the air as tanks rumbled onto the fifth parade square: Infantry, naval infantry and cavalry regiments formed up with massed ranks of armour behind them. Guards Motor Rifle and mortar regiments followed, with anti-aircraft and machine gun battalions at the rear. Generals Zukov and Chestikov fronted the parade with their command staffs.
As the sixth square began to fill, the skies darkened. In pride of place at front right were the Soviet heavies and a pressganged French Char 2C. The two dodgy early KV-1 conversions still claim seniority at parades.
Things were not looking good weather-wise, but the Germans were happy in their usual Götterdämmerung fashion. A mixture of veteran Panzers and the odd factory-fresh addition, still in its coat of grey fronted the seventh square. Panzer Grenadiers, motorcycle battalions and veteran Landser forming up behind with more fresh German and captured French trucks. A Mountain division with massed artillery brought up the rear.
As the last old RoCo Pz IVs and my solitary Panther wheezed onto the eighth square, my prize-winning AK47 army (and their not-so-well-painted comrades) formed up. Notable in the second rank was my collection of Munchkin tanks. Some day, all my troops will look this good; I am talking well into retirement here.
The flypast began with the VVS. Plane spotters are allowed to whip their notebooks out now. A short break ensued for tea, a bun and to clear the decks indoors in case I suddenly had to move a lot of deployed troops somewhere dry. This was what the parade looked like so far:
Third and final installment to follow….