Tag Archives: orbats

More DBA, and an Updated Mountain Division Box Picture

Nanzhao Chinese vs Burmese

The Beyond the Yangtse DBA Campaign is in its 12th year now (the Year of the Pig), so to fill the yawning gap in NQM, here is an updated box picture of my Wehrmacht Mountain Division. The orbat is here.

Mountain Division Wehrmacht


Filed under Orbats, Wehrmacht

164 Light (Afrika) Division – Box 007

007 164 Lt Afrika

I originally built 164 Lt Afrika Division with German Trucks and attached 2cm Flak from 609 Abteilung

Coming across a snippet on one of the many WWII Forums (Fora?) that 164 Light (Afrika) Division arrived in theatre without any transport sent me back to my NQM division to re-evaluate it. The Division was shipped from Crete, where it had been building fortifications, less its 440 Infantry Regiment. It collected 125 Panzer Grenadier Regiment, which had been fighting in Africa since the start of the campaign. The division acquired transport by helping itself to captured British stocks.

As I had equipped the three regiments with Opel Blitz trucks, it made sense to just swap them with trucks from the British boxes, which now have some captured trucks of their own. I had to root about a bit to find enough open-backed trucks to do this, but here they are. I kept some Blitzs for 125 Regiment, reasoning that they were already in theatre, so probably already had German transport :

Box 025 164 Lt Afrika showing captured British trucks

The 125 Regiment was disbanded in January 1943. The other 2 regiments got the remaining men of 125. 382nd Panzergrenadier Regiment had just 2 battalions, the 433rd had the normal 3 battalions. Artillery Regiment 220, had just 2 Abteilungen and 1 (schw) battery.

Panzeraufklärungsabteilung 220 [Recce] (renamed 164 in spring 1943) had 5 companies:
1. Komp Panzerspäh (
2. Komp : Aufklärungs,Kradschützen and SPW platoons
3. Komp : Heavy company
4. Komp : Stug-battery
5. Komp : Stab und versorgungs Kompanie

Flakbatterie mot 220 consisted of 4 8.8cm Flak*

Panzerjägerabteilung 220 : 3 Pzjg Komp ( of which one was added 1-43, consisting of pak auf Skoda-chassis) and 1 Flak Komp auf SFL

Pionierbatallion 220 : 3 Pio Komp, 1 Schwere Werfer Zug (mot)”

EricV on https://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3677 accessed 17/11/22 (corrected for German grammar, spelling and unit designation consistency). Unfortunately, Eric does not cite his source, but cites two battalions each for 125 and 382 Regiments, and three for 433. The orbat suggests that 220 Pioneer Battalion had a heavy (Nebel)werfer platoon. I have found nothing to suggest that this equipment was taken to North Africa, much less that it was ever used operationally.

*Interestingly, Bender and Law (1973) give the following orbat, which may be where the 8.8cm Flak comes from in 609 Flak Battalion:

“Divisional Staff 125th (mot) Panzer Grenadier Regiment

382nd (mot) Panzer Grenadier Regiment

433rd (mot) Panzer Grenadier Regiment

707th Heaviest Infantry Gun Company (150mm IG guns)

708th Heaviest Infantry Gun Company (150mm IG guns)

220nd (mot) Artillery Regiment

609th (mot) Flak Battalion

220th (mot) Panzer Pioneer Battalion

220th (mot) Reconnaissance Battalion

220th (mot) Signals Company

220th (mot) Medical Company

220th (mot) Ambulance Platoon

220th (mot) Maintenance Company

220th (mot) Divisional Supply Detachment

220th (mot) Bakery Company

220th (mot) Butcher Company

220th (mot) Administration Bureau

220th (mot) Military Police Detachment

220th (mot) Field Post Office”

Bender, R.J., & Law, R.D., Uniforms, Organization and History of the Afrikakorps, R.J.Bender, Publisher, USA, 1973.

This .pdf commenting on Rommel’s command style, offers a clue to the nebulous and shifting German orbats at the time : https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/36736361.pdf It is a long, but interesting read if you have an hour to spare.

Nierhorster shows 609 Flakbatallion at Army level armed with 2cm Flak on 23 Oct 1942, 220 Artillery Regiment: 12 x 10.5cm howitzer, 8 7.5cm Mountain Gun, with no mention of 8.8cm Flak

He gives 220 Panzerjager Abteilung as being wheeled with 5cm towed guns and all three regiments being wheeled (125, 382 and 433).

http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/42-oob/42-10-23/div_afr_164.html accessed 17/11/22.

Nafziger (2000, pp. 176-177) gives the orbat for the invasion of Greece as 5cm Pak.

609 Flak Abteilung was attached to 164 Light (Afrika) Division in August 1942, and later in 1943 to 21st Panzer Division in Tunisia, (uncredited post on Feldgrau)

Feldgrau gives this helpful summary of designations (corrected for German grammar, spelling and unit designation consistency. Note that Batallion is correct for German spelling):

> le. (or leichte) Flak-Abt.
> gem. (or gemischte) Flak-Abt.
> s. (or schwere) Flak-Abt.


H (or Heeres) Flak (or Flakartillerie)-Abt.
Fla-Bataillon (or Btn.)

Krupp Kfz 70 with 2cm FlaK 30 and 3 crew BPM, PSC "Protze"

Elsewhere in Feldgrau, one post gives the 600 series battalions as Army (Heer) units. I have elected to show all 8.8cm Flak as present only at Army level for NQM CSO (Corps-scale) orbats. There were only a few of them, and Wehrmacht lower-level Flak aimed to be self-propelled. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that they always achieved their aim.


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

51st Highland Division on Parade


51st Highland Division

Sometimes, the only way to check that everyone is in Barracks is to put them on Parade. 51st Highland Division looks as if it is ready for a fight … “see Youse Jimmy“*. 40th Light Anti-aircraft Regiment is further back down the line of communications in the photo above.

51st HD infantry Battalions

In Real Life®, my portfolio is in and marked – a pass! My Viva Voce and Ethical paper have both been taken and the final paper is tomorrow. Too soon to celebrate, but I need some playtime!

*A bored colleague of mine, who worked at the Ministry of Defence, used to pick up the phone on  a Friday and announce “War Office … want a fight?


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, infantry, Orbats, Western Desert, WWII

4th Indian Infantry Division

The 4th Indian Infantry Division were old desert hands by the time of the battles at EL ALAMEIN. Here they are, having fought through solidly since GAZALA:


4th Indian Infantry Division

Major-General Francis Tuker (known widely as “Gertie”)

Commander in India Pattern Carrier or Jeep (C3)


  • 1st Field Regiment Royal Artillery Quad FAT + 25pdr (S3)

  • 11th Field Regiment Royal Artillery Quad FAT + 25pdr (S3)

  • 32nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery Quad FAT + 25pdr (S3)

  • India Pattern or Universal Carrier + 6pdr (S3)
  • 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery

    • Morris Limber + 40mm Bofors AA (S3) (or portee)
  • 2nd Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer + 2 Sappers (E3)
  • 4th Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck + optional trailer + 2 Sappers (E3)
  • 12th Field Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Truck + optional trailer + 2 Sappers (E3)
  • 11th Field Park Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Low Loader + D7 bulldozer (E3)
  • 4th Indian Division Signals Morris or Bedford Signals truck (C3)

5th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Dudley Russell Commander + Mortar (C3)

British Indian army Inf Bn

7th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Arthur Holworthy  Commander + Mortar (C3)

61st Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Francis E.C. Hughes Commander + Mortar (C3)


  • 1st Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment Rifles (F3)

    By now, it will be obvious to even the most casual reader of this blog that I mix and match British desert infantry. A few turbans, Glengarries, Tam-o-Shanters and slouch hats mixed in with a lot of steel battle bowlers and berets make up the necessary numbers. I must get some of those splendid Kiwi scout hats to add to the mix.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, infantry, Western Desert, WWII

Soviet Air Armies 1942-43

As Barbarossa commenced, the Soviet Airforce was organised with an air division per RKKA ground army, which proved too inflexible for the effective deployment of air support. The reorganisation that took place in May to November 1942* after the catastrophic losses of the initial inavasion was to give an air army to each front, with a more or less equal number of aircraft grouped into reserve air armies (PVO Strany).

The excellent “The Soviet Air Force Since 1918” by Alexander Boyd (1977), is one of the few books that I have come across that makes any attempt to mesh the ground and air war on the Soviet side in any meaningful way. He gives , on p.153 a useful diagram for October 1943; it shows the dispositions of the 13 air armies supporting the fronts as follow:

Karelian Front ⇒ 7th Air Army (Formed Aug 42)

Leningrad Front ⇒ 13th Air Army (Nov 42)

  • 275th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 276th Bomber Aviation Division
  • 277th Assault Aviation Division

Volkov Front ⇒ 14th Air Army (Jun 42)

2nd Baltic Front ⇒ 15th Air Army ()

1st Baltic Front ⇒ 3rd Air Army (May 42 Kalinin Front)

  • 209th, 210th Fighter Aviation Divisions
  • 211th, 212nd Mixed Aviation Divisions
  • 684th, 695th Light Bomber Aviation Regiments
  • 195th, 708th, 881st, 882nd, 883rd, 884th, 885th, and 887th Mixed Aviation Regiments
  • 3rd Reconnaissance Aviation Squadron

Western Front ⇒ 1st Air Army (May 42)

  • 201st Fighter Aviation Division
  • 202nd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 203rd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 234th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 235th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 204th Bomber Aviation Division
  • 213th Night Bomber Aviation Division
  • 215th Mixed Aviation Division
  • 214th Assault Aviation Division
  • 224th Assault Aviation Division
  • 231st Assault Aviation Division
  • 232nd Assault Aviation Division
  • 233rd Assault Aviation Division
  • (Mar 43) Régiment de Chasse Normandie-NiemenYak-3

Yak-3 Normandie-Niemen2

Bryansk Front ⇒ 6th Air Army (Jun 42 NW Front)

Belorussian Front ⇒ 16th Air Army (Aug 42 Stalingrad Front)

  • 220th Fighter Division
  • 228 Attack Aircraft Division
  • 228th and 291st Assault Aviation Divisions
  • 2 independent aviation regiments

1st Ukranian Front ⇒ 2nd Air Army (May 42 Bryansk Front)

  • 205th, 206th,[4] 207th Fighter Air Divisions
  • 208th Night Bomber Air Division
  • 223rd Air Division
  • 225th, 226th, 227th Air Assault Division
  • Two independent air regiments.[1]

2nd Ukranian Front ⇒ 5th Air Army (Jun 42 N.Caucasus Front ) Fought at Kursk

  • 7th Combined Aviation Corps
  • 8th Combined Aviation Corps
  • 3rd Fighter Aviation Corps
  • 7th Fighter Aviation Corps

3rd Ukranian Front ⇒ 17th Air Army (Oct 42 SW Front)

  • 3 Mixed Air Corps (207, 290 Divisions?)
  • 7?, 9? fighter divisions (202?,235? Divs and 305?, 303?, 295? Divs)
  • Ground-attack division
  • Bomber division
  • Night bomber division -Po-2?

4th Ukranian Front ⇒ 8th Air Army (Jun 42 SW Front)

Independent Maritime Army ⇒ 4th Air Army (May 42 Southern Front) included 2 regiments of Spitfires in 1943

  • 216th Fighter Division or 216th Mixed Aviation Division
  • 217th Fighter Division
  • 229th Fighter Division
  • 230th Storm Division
  • 219th Bomber Division
  • 218th Night Bomber Division
  • 588th Light Night Bomber (Night Witches) Regiment (From June 42) – the first all-women air unit – Po-2


I have shown formation dates and original fronts in (brackets) with further information from the Wikki sub pages, where available.


* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_army_%28Soviet_Union%29

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

8th Army Tanks at Alamein

Pay attention meglomaniacs! I wondered how many 8th Army tanks I would need to fight the whole of 2nd ALAMEIN in NQM 1:30 scale if they were all on the table at once. Not as many as I thought as it turns out; as the oddly formatted table below (thanks WordPress) shows, about 36.

I know a nice man with a big table, and who doesn’t have  this many tanks when he pools them with his chums,  so this seems do-able? There are a few gaps in the table below, but it seems about right. (Updated August 2018)

Trebian at GAZALAGeneralissimo Trebian lines up his brave troops to give BIR HAKIEM a good kicking

Sherman Crusader Lee/Grant Stuart M3 Matilda II Valentine Scorpion
  8 8 6 3 1 8
8th Army  
1 Army Tk Bde 4 (2)
XXX Corps   6
9 Armd Bde 1 2 1
XIII Corps   1 2
7 Armd Div
4 Lt Armd Bde 1 3
22 Armd Bde 2 2
X Corps  
1 Armd Div
2 Armd Bde 3 2
10 Armd Div
8 Armd Bde 1 1 2
24 Armd Bde 3 1

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Orbats, Western Desert, WWII

NQM Soviet Air Army Order of Battle circa 1943

It seems reasonable that the air army and army headquarters would probably be co-located or close by each other (I have no evidence for this yet).

Soviet VVS Air Corps (Box 007 May 2015)

Air Army HQ

Night bomber division: 5 regiments = 5 Po-2

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-7B

Stormovik division: 3 regiments = 3 IL-2

Stormovik division (from GKO Reserve) : 2 regiments = 2 IL-2

Fighter Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-9

Fighter division: 2 regiments = 2 LaGG-5

Bomber Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Bomber division: 3 regiments = 3 Pe-2

Bomber division: 2 regiments = 2 Pe-2

Air Elements at Sub-divisional Level

Transport regiment = Li-2?

Recce regiment = R-10? (I am using a lend-lease Kittyhawk)

Artillery spotting regiment = Po-2?

HQ elements including communication, training and ambulance

 Quoted from table on p. 185 with author’s guesses marked by “?”

Boyd, A., (1977), The Soviet Airforce Since 1918. Macdonald and James, London.


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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Soviet Airforce

NQM 21st Panzer Division Orbat

I haven’t been entirely idle since the last post*. Here is the new sleek orbat for 21st Panzer division. Bright Blue items do not appear in the Corps Scale Orbat:


21st Panzer Division (Generalmajor Johann von Ravenstein until 29 November (prisoner of war), then Generalmajor Karl Böttcher) Comd car (C3), Signals Sdkfz 222 [or captured Dorchester or SdKfz 263](C3), 20mm Flak Truck (S3), Engineer truck (L3), 2 Engineer stands (F2), Ammo Truck (L3), POL Truck (L3),  Ambulance Sdkfz 251 (L3).


5th Panzer Regiment Comd PzII or PzIII (F3), 3 PzIII** (F3), 1 PzIV (F3)


  • 104th Infantry Regiment  Comd SdKfz 250, 251 or 263 (C3), 2 Comd car (1 may be an Sdkfz 250 or 251) (C3),  + 3.7cm Pak (S3) + Limber (L3), 2/1 Sdkfz 251 mounted Grenadiers (F3), 2/1 Truck mounted Grenadiers(F3).


  • 155th Artillery Regiment Comd car (C3), FOO (C1), SdKfz 11 Limber (L3), 10.5cm Gun [or sIG 33 or Lorraine Schlepper  15cm] (S3), Sdkfz 10 Limber (L3), 5cm Pak 38 (S3)

Essentially, all that I have done is remove the infantry stands from the panzer grenadier companies, and made the SdKfz an (F3) stand in the same way that a tank model is. The orphaned infantry have all gone to swell the ranks of the infantry divisions. CSO Orbats lose some command stands, and battalion stands become one s3 instead of two s3

See Also 15th Panzer Division

*For those wondering what I fritter my spare time away with at work, “Advanced Podiatry” is not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It mostly involves learning which bits of the foot to poke, to find out where it hurts. A Surgeon will then chop bits out and fix the rest with screws until it doesn’t.

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Filed under Artillery, DAK, infantry, Modelling, Orbats, Tanks, Trucks, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

More on Infantry Orbats

Since bringing the infantry orbats in line with armour and artillery, I have received a few questions about how they should appear, and the difference between bases and stands. Bases are the individual components of a stand. There are usually 3 bases to a stand, but there can be more, or fewer.

Inf1inf2For an all- infantry battalion it is fairly straightforward. Here is 4th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles , comprising a command and support stand (CS3), and a fighting stand (F3). They are tooled up for a fight , with 6 combat units (CUs) represented by the little airgun pellets on the spanking brand-new tinplate movement tray next to them, and the two stands can put out 2CUs per turn between them, for 3 turns, by which time they will have run out of ammunition.

Brit Mot Rfl Bn Truck

Next, comes a motor battalion, 1st Battalion the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. They can be organised as previously shown, with a vehicle base and 2 infantry bases making one stand, and three stands in the battalion, or you could dispense with the infantry, and just have 3 vehicles with infantry glued into them to show that it is not just a logistic vehicle. Either way, it does not matter how you model the stands as long as both you and your opponent know what is happening.



Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

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