Clarifying Mechanised Orbats

When a motorised battalion of infantry with integral transport goes into battle, one of the bases (usually a Support (S) base)  can be an integral part of the transport base. In addition, the transport may carry other bases (usually  Fighting (F) bases) that ‘deploy’ when the stand attacks or defends.  The following scale should provide a rough guide but is not prescriptive :

No  extra bases per jeep or motorcycle combo

Up to 2 bases extra per light truck  or light halftrack (debusses up to 2 stands), e.g. Sd Kfz 250/251

Up to 3 bases extra per medium truck

Up to 4 bases extra per heavy truck

2 wheel trailers may carry 1 base

4 wheel trailers may carry up to 2 bases

If there are a mix of fighting and support bases in the stand, it can be given a hybrid designation, such as  FS, CF, CS, or even CFS.

This is different to the case of a marching infantry unit that happens to be transported in trucks that are not a normal part of their orbat. For marching infantry, the truck(s) can be accounted for separately as a Logistic (L) stand.

In retreat, all your troops will fit onto the trucks up to a maximum of double the usual extra stands, but no support weapons, so support stands become rifle stands.

Pz Gren Bn    1 Comd Sd Kfz w 37mm PAK + 81 or 50mm Mor (CS3)  which would normally travel with the Bn comd Sd Kfz, 2 x [Sd Kfz with MG + 2 Rifle bases @ (FS3)] (Rifle stands may have integral AT Rifle or Pz Faust  capability).


So a panzer grenadier battalion has 3 halftracks (each CS3 or FS3 light armour with an integral machine gun  or PaK 37). The 250 will always have an integral command base or may have an integral command/support base (MG or Pak), and probably also has a dismountable support base with it in the shape of a mortar. Each 251 has an integral support or gun base. Regimental gun support can be simulated by modelling the gun on the transport e.g. the Sd Kfz 250/10 or  Sd Kfz 251/10, or as a towed gun, as shown in the picture above.

In total up to 6  dismountable rifle or support bases could be carried by the 3 battalion transports with their integral non-dismountable bases. You could use as few as 3 or 4 dismountable bases to reflect the often-reduced fighting strength of these heavily used units. Of course, if you are asking yourself  “why bother with the dismounted bases at all?” then it is simple enough to just model a CS3 or FS3 vehicle with a few figures in the back. As long as everyone knows what is there, it doesn’t really matter.

Mot Rifle Bn  1 Comd Car + optional 81 or 50mm Mor (CS3)1-2 [Trucks or 1/2 tracks with integral mg support stand + optional 1-2 Rifle bases (FS2-3),  (Rifle stands may have integral AT Rifle or Pzfaust  capability). A total of 6-9 bases per battalion including the vehicle bases, in line with infantry battalions is about right, making a total of 3 stands, as shown below.


In total up to 6  dismountable rifle or support stands can be carried by the 3 battalion transports with their integral non-dismountable stands. Any regimental guns will be towed in this orbat. If a truck does not have an integral support or fighting base because you like to show all your infantry companies as dismountable, count it as (L1) and send it to the rear into a laager.

Please note that this does not in any way seek to replicate the actual carrying capacity of these vehicles; rather it simulates the functions of a battalion, whilst still allowing a modeller to produce signature equipment in his orbat. The orbat also gives flexibility without being too prescriptive. If you disagree, run your ideas past your opponent and reach an agreement for an enjoyable game.

Postcript, May 2017:

You can just stick a few infantry onto the same base as a truck (Tim Gow has been doing this for years in Megablitz), or you can make the bases small enough to fit into the back of the truck, as Command Decision does.



Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames

8 responses to “Clarifying Mechanised Orbats

  1. Dave Carter

    You talk of bases that ‘deploy’ and dismountable and non-dismountable bases. My understanding was that (usually) 3 bases were being combined into 1 stand, and I was visualizing the 3 bases being blu-tacked to cardstock or something.
    Are individual bases on a stand changing position relative to each other during a game (physically ‘deploying’), or does this term merely differentiate between mounted units (integral bases) that are treated as a light armor target and those (dismountable bases) that are treated as ‘infantry in open’?

    • Dear Dave,

      At the moment, I am referring to a “Stand” usually being strength 3. A “Base” is usually an infantry subdivision of a Stand, and is usually strength 1. “Deploying” refers to a Stand of mechanised or lorried infantry that has a couple of infantry bases carried on it and has an integral strength point for the vehicle base, making 3 in total. If players want to show that the unit is not travelling but has gone into the attack, the two infantry bases can be deployed. this is just to accomodate players that like their units to be shown ‘dismounted’. Personally, I think that moving them on a sabot stand is a good idea, as perfected by ancient players. I wouldn’t bother to move them relative to each other during the attack myself. I will try to get a post up on this topic.

      If this is too fiddly, just model a vehicle stand of strength 3 with some crew in it to show that it is a motorised infantry stand, not just a logistic truck. this revision has been made to bring infantry strengths more closely into line with Armoured and Artillery stands.

      It would be quite reasonable to count the deployed motorised infantry as ‘very light’ in lorries, as opposed to light, when deployed and attacking. It depends on whether you feel that the attacking infantry are most vulnerable when in trucks or spread out in the attack. Hope this helps.

      Regards, Chris.

  2. I was toying with using Tim Gow’s method of putting a few infantry figures in front of the truck/apc to show that this was a mechanized infantry unit, and having the actual dismounts off table until used.

    • That works too Don; it looks effective in Megablitz.

      The concept that I am pushing is that how you depict the stand is is solely a matter of personal preference . It can be shown as a single strength 3 stand, or three separate strength 1 bases, one of which might be a truck or halftrack.

      Newcomers, used to rule systems that are prescriptive about basing, often think “it has to be done this way”. I’m a lot more relaxed. I like Dave’s idea that a lorried infantry unit is more vulnerable in transit, so showing the unit ‘deployed’ is a strong visual clue that it is in a tactical formation.

      Regards, Chris

  3. I’m taking it a step further, all stands are strength 3 but the German
    have four figures on it the Russian have 3, this from my cold war training
    Russian units are smaller but they have more units. That and I don’t want to re-base my Germans….)

    • Visually, that sounds excellent, Don. If you want to make the Soviet units less robust (i.e. smaller), then making the stands (s2) achieves this. In the past, I’ve found that making them all s2 weakens the Soviets too much, so what I currently do is make the fighting stand in a battalion s3 and the Command/Support stand s2, giving a battalion 5 strength points to the German 6. You can vary this as much as you need to achieve your aim.

      Regards, Chris

  4. I have a German Infantry Division about ready, photos will soon be up on the Brazos Blog.

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

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