“Orbats are for Beginners”

The title quote is one that Jim Wallman is fond of trotting out at appropriate moments. There is a kernel of truth hidden away there.

NQM started using 20mm figures and originally, 3 infantry bases, each with 1 strength point (s), formed a stand with an output of 1 combat unit (CU). When I changed to 15mm, a single stand gained (s3) and put out 1 CU.  This was useful for divisional battles, but became unweildy when corps took to the field, so it is time to go back to basics and restate some beginner orbats. I am starting to roll these out on the orbat pages. It is the most significant change that I have made to the written guidelines in 30 years as it reduces infantry strength relative to armour and artillery.



Each of the 2 stands in the photo above put out 1 unit of fire (CU). the command stand on the left has three strength points and the support stand on the right has two.

As before, a stand fights and fires as normal until each base has a pin in it. the first extra pin overloads the stand and removes it: this means all three bases in the case of the command stand, and both bases in the case of the support stand.

If the two stands reorganise, there is no longer a need for black pins. Any permanently damaged base is removed. Vehicle stands that use one vehicle to represent three strength points continue to use black pins as normal.




Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

4 responses to ““Orbats are for Beginners”

  1. Dave Carter

    So what used to be 2 or 3 infantry stands/bases with 1CU each are now being combined into one multi-base stand with only 1CU. And the basic unit becomes the battalion rather than the company.

    But AFVs roll the same CUs as before, leading to the reduced effectiveness of infantry. (But it looks like AFV units now have a command stand designated, where they didn’t before).

    I did notice that sometimes in the new orbats you use S# and sometimes Sp#. Are these meant to be different (support vs. specialist perhaps) or am I ‘seeing’ differences that aren’t really intended?


    • Hi Dave,

      That’s correct! I’m rolling the changes out through a lot of orbats at the moment. The key point is that there is still flexibility, and you can still use an infantry stand with three strength points on it. It’s just that there are 1/3 as many of them if you do that and they should probably be the size of one of the Flames of War infantry bases. I used to paint the strength of the stand on the back of vehicles, then stopped doing it when everything became (s3). I’m going to have to start doing it again, *sigh*.

      The reason for making this change is that infantry slugfests have just become too big, as seen in the Gazala game. This was never really a problem in the early war battles on the Eastern Front for us, but in ’43 forces are going to get larger as more Soviet formations reach the battlefield.

      ‘Sp’ was a temporary designation. I am using uppercase ‘S’ for support now to distinguish it from lowercase ‘s’ for strength. I have clarified it further in the guidelines section on page 02, which is probably about 20 years overdue.

      Kind regards, Chris.


  2. Pingback: Clarifying Mechanised Orbats | Not Quite Mechanised

  3. Pingback: More on Infantry Orbats | Not Quite Mechanised

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