Orders of Battle (Orbats)

These orders of battle all come with a health warning – they  are simplified for wargames with NQM (vehicle scale approx 1:30) and come from secondary and tertiary sources at best. Having said that, I am always delighted if folk point out something they consider to be a glaring error; I am even happier if it comes with a corroberating reference.

Eastern Front

The situation around KHARKOV is most serious Comrade Chestikov

The situation around KHARKOV is most serious Comrade Chestikov

  1. Soviet Forces

  2. Axis – German and Minor Allied Forces

The Far and Middle East

British Infantry Division Cavalry Regiment

  1. The United Kingdom & Commonwealth Forces 

  2. USA Forces

  3. Chinese Communist and Nationalist Forces

  4. Japanese Forces

Campaign Orders Of Battle

I recommend that you also visit Nierhorster on the sidebar.


  1. 8th Army (Pocket Orbat)
  2. Panzer Armee Afrika (Pocket Orbat)
  3. Italian Army Africa Front Scale Orbat)


  1. 8th Army
  2. Panzer Armee Afrika
  3. Italian Army Africa

Air Forces in North Africa

  1. Desert Air Force
  2. Luftflotte 2
  3. Regia Aeronautica Africa



  1. Soviet Forces
  2. Wehrmacht
  3. VVS
  4. Luftflotte 4

Organising the Toys

With all these Models floating about, you need some sort of strategy for keeping them organized and undamaged. Tim Gow puts me to shame, with neatly labelled boxes and figures with colour coded bases. I salute him.

The 20mm collection was stored in box files like these. See Tim Gow’s Megablitz and more blog to see inside his boxes.

My own strategy is somewhat more Russian in approach. I have plywood boxes made up to store my figures. They have a Nationality flag and a space to chalk information on the front. Then as units change through the campaign, I change the information on the front of the box. Stragglers who end up in the wrong box either miss battles, or fight in other units. This way I have been able to cope with the bewildering changes in Soviet TOEs. In more recent years , the  Really Useful Box Company has been of service providing eponymous product.

My “Billy Boxes” fit onto an Ikea “Billy” bookshelf (not without bowing the shelves). Note the chalked contents panel and the massive supergun waiting to be converted for AK47 some day.


Another strategy adopted by Graham Evans, is to store similar types of troops together. This works well when you have limited figures and are prepared to build units to order for each battle. Tim reckons though, that the reason he started operational level wargaming was to find a use for the huge quantities of toys that he owns. 

Do not be put off, or think that this game can only be played using masses of toys. It works well with smaller numbers of troops too, and lends itself well to using cheap toys or card mock-up models to fill in the gaps in your army’s inventory.

What if I’m short of Stuff?

Full Orbats were a luxury that few armies enjoyed for long. In wargames collections, shortages occur at the beginning of a collection, not the end. If you find yourself short of “stuff”, just remember that real armies concentrated surviving equipment. so, for example, if your 8 tank, two-battalion regimental orbat is short of models, then concentrate them into one large battalion. The Junior General website has free downloads of paper models. I use them to fill spaces in my Orbat boxes to remind me what I still need to buid in order to finish a unit.

NQM-007 Day 4

Remember that captured equipment was in widespread use. The Germans invaded Russia with a rag-bag of captured French, Czech and British equipment. US kit was widely used by the British and Soviets. I am happy for infantry of one nationality to “moonlight” in another army if the scenario needs it. For example, if you take the view that 15mm infantry are all LBJs, or “Little Brown Jobs”, then the following substitutions can cheerfully be made:

  • Italians  Japanese or Russians can be mixed any of 3 ways if you are not fussy – (I never have enough Soviet infantry)
  • Romanians-  Japanese, French or Italians, or better still, Dutch infantry are all useful.
  • French – I use Americans (They used US kit after the Torch landings and invasion of NW Europe)

I also use British infantry as Poles on the Eastern Front: Not particularly realistic, but it helps distinguish them in massed attacks, and Brits will double as early Americans in the Pacific too (if you ignore the occasional greatcoat).


Making do is a time-honoured wargames tradition. At one time, in 1985, I was short of BA32 armoured cars. My first quick fix was a Matchbox toy fire tender with a Grant 37mm turret on it. I then progressed to a Morris Armoured car hull casting with a T34 turret. Recently, I have acquired a 15mm model. It doesn’t fight as well on the table as the fire tender did, but my friends are happier!

From Seriously Suspicious, Decidedly Dodgy to “Oh, it’s a BA32” (L to R)

For the ultimate in happy-go-lucky toy soldiering, have a look at The Army Men Homepage to see how far down this route you can go. I am happy to be counted amongst those who realise that playing with toy soldiers is A) not a serious hobby, and B) a perfectly suitable way for grown-ups to spend their free time.


No-one who wargames in a period should be blind to the politics of the age. Peoples’ political views are, quite rightly, of importance to them. These views are often passionately held and overwhelmingly expressed. For that reason, they should not interfere with a hobby that brings people together socially.

For this reason you will see little mention of the Waffen SS on this blog. A disproportionate amount of text has been generated over the years on this subject and I do not propose to add to it. It is my opinion that obsessing about the SS obscures the bigger military picture of what happened on the Eastern Front.

3 responses to “Orders of Battle (Orbats)

  1. I’m in complete agreement with your assessment of the use of SS units,by
    one of the main advantages with the way I do it making mythical near matches to historical armies is you get to avoid the politics! The SS units become elite guard units without the sadism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to go the other way and use any odds and ends that I have as stand-ins Don. The last Ersatztruppen that I used were Hungarians, on the basis that they had camo capes.

    Regards, Chris


  3. The beauty of 15s…no ones eyes are that good lol

    Liked by 1 person

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