Soviet Front HQs and Troops
Soviet divisions were grouped into corps of two or more divisions. Corps were grouped into armies or one or more corps, and armies were organised into fronts.
At corps, army and front level, progressively heavier levels of equipment were found. Remember that a front did not spread its heavy support equipment around, but concentrated it at a point of attack.
Units such as 203mm heavy artillery battalions, bridging battalions and maskirovka units all appear at army or front level in NQM.
A Sample NQM Front HQ should contain models to represent :
Front Commander (C3) – eg West Front Gen Zhukov
Front Command HQ :
Signals Bn (C3), Air Army HQ (C3), Front Artillery HQ (C3), Front Pioneer HQ (C1).
Front Administrative HQ :
Railhead and Front Supply Depot (L3), Repair workshop Bn Truck (L3), Traffic Control Bn 3 bases (@C1), Front Field Hospital (L3), Propaganda Truck/Commisars (C3).
Front Level Troops :
AA, artillery, Spetznatz, engineer, transport, field dressing stations, penal battalions.
Similarly army and corps headquarters should be represented in scaled down form. Even producing fairly minimal markers for these headquarter starts to fill the real estate up in the rear areas in a most satisfactory manner.
Where it becomes difficult to try to understand the size of Soviet units, is that for some periods of the war, units were very much under strength, just as the Germans were towards the end of the war. So a unit might be called a Tank Brigade, Division , or Corps, and yet be only as strong as a western Tank Battalion. To gain a deeper understanding of the way that unit strengths fluctuated, it is well worth reading SJ Zaloga.
In our campaign, we usually assume that a Tank Brigade is 6 tanks strong at full strength, and 3 at half strength. We give a division 2 Tank Brigades, and usually assume that a Tank Corps is about the same strength as a Division. The more units we fight with on the table, the weaker we make them. It is crude, but it seems to work. At one stage in the campaign, we were fighting with a scale of one stand equalling one Battalion, and that seemed to work too, although some players complained of the battles feeling “bland”.
The most effective scale reduction seems to be a division of three to four battalions, with one or two regimental headquarters and divisional support of at least one mortar or divisional gun unit.