Tag Archives: STALINGRAD

MostaLeninograd Makeover

Moscow looking south east

MOSCOW looking south east

My MOSCOW model doubled as LENINGRAD with no alteration, but I am unlikely to need to model either city again in this campaign.


LENINGRAD looking north

Time for a makeover. I chopped the base up into smaller pieces, so that it can be used for smaller built-up areas, or even STALINGRAD, if I do it again as a set piece. For terrain pieces, I have nominally used 75mm and 150mm as sizes (3″ and 6″). This should make life simple when playing NQM Squared.

MoStaLeninograd in Stalingrad Mode


MostaLeninograd in Stalingrad Mode

Predictably, the buildings didn’t quite fit this grid. Late last night I was wandering around the back streets of modern VOLGOGRAD, and was struck by how little had changed. The factories are in largely the same places, and residents’ houses are crowded into rectilinear grids in much the same style as 7o years ago. I was also struck by how much open space there is around the city, and relatively speaking, how low-rise the city appears because of the wide boulevards between buildings. How much of this is post war remodelling, I don’t know.




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Racing the Rasputitsa

In the dying days of Summer 1942. German armoured forces fanned southeast to STALINGRAD towards the banks of the river VOLGA. Spearheading the 2 Panzer Armee advance against minimal opposition were 10 Panzer and  2nd SS Panzer divisions from 46 Mot Korps less Gross Deutchland, which had been engaged at TAMBOV junction.

48 MotKorps, comprising 17 and 18 Panzer divisions with 29 Motorised and 167 Infantry divisions, were echeloned northwards behind them. These formations were all well understrength and although coming to the end of their logistical chains, were benefitting from the opening of TAMBOV junction to rail traffic.

Opposing them was Southern Front comprising 2 Armies :

57 Army comprising 99, 150, 317 and 351 Rifle and 14 Guard Rifle Division

9 Army comprising 51, 106, 333, 335, 341 and  349 Rifle  divisions

and Southern Front troops comprising 3 Guard Cavalry Division and 24 Tank Division. Unusually for this stage of the campaign, the operation had the characteristic of a meeting engagement.


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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Land Battles, Wargames, WWII

How big were Divisions really on the Eastern Front?

This question has, and continues to, bedevil me in the ongoing NQM Barbarossa campaign. As German Divisions bled manpower from their original orbats of 17,200 troops with 3 regiments of 3 battalions each, they would have begun to resemble the 1944 orbat which was formalised at 12,400 men with 2 regiments of 3 battalions, or more commonly 3 regiments of 2 battalions each[1,2]

Gratuitous shot of an army group level (Heeresgruppe) ‘Karl-Gerät‘ self-propelled siege mortar. It gets an occasional outing when it catches up with the front line at a major city and has been seen no more frequently at the front than its historical counterpart.

Of these 12,400 men, 6,800 or 55% were combat troops [1] although Kershaw gives as high as 84.5% [6]. Reducing the neu art ’43 or’44 orbat on the NQM 30:1 scale, a division contained the following [3] :

(1) Anti-tank gun (37mm/50mm/75mm/76.2mm) (S3) + limber (S3)

(0-1) 120 mm Mortar (at RHQ in 1st infantry regiment) (S3)*

(1-2) 81mm Mortar (at RHQ in 1st-3rd infantry regiment) (S3)*

(0-1) Infantry howitzer (75mm/150mm 3rd infantry regiment) (S3)*

(1) 105mm howitzer (in artillery regiment) (S3) + limber (S3)

(1) Flamethrower (in pioneer battalion) (F3)

(1) 20mm anti-aircraft gun (in artillery regiment) (S3)*

*these may be shown with horse-drawn limbers or not as they were sometimes man-handled tactically.

The orbat for a Regiment at the start of Barbarossa was : RHQ (CF3), Support ( regimental gun) (S3), 3 battalions each of Command + MMG + Mortar  (CS3), 3 rifles (F3) : a total of 20 bases equalling 8 stands.

At NQM CSO Orbat, this becomes: RHQ + Regt gun (C3),  3 Rifles  (F3) : a total of  4 stands.

The neu art orbat  was : RHQ (CF3), Support (regimental gun/81mm/120mm mortar) (S3), 2 battalions each of Command + MMG (CS2), 3 Rifles (F3) : a total of 12 bases equalling 6 stands.

At NQM CSO Orbat, this becomes: RHQ + Regt gun (C3),  2 Rifles  (F3) : a total of  3 stands.

Each infantry battalion lost 1 rifle company per battalion, leaving it with 3 rifle companies and a machine gun company.

Mention is made in non-mobile infantry units of the reconnaissance (recce) battalion being replaced by a fusilier battalion of equal strength to an infantry battalion, with horses and cycles provided for mobility of at least one company. For simplicity, I would mount both stands on horses/cycles.

The engineer battalion lost its bridging train to (presumably) army level and concentrated on its role of laying mines and being assault pioneers.

Artillery became increasingly self-propelled (SP), although SP units were concentrated in panzer and panzer grenadier divisions [4]. Non-mobile infantry continued to make do with horses as motive power [3].

However looking at, for example, the manpower strengths at STALINGRAD, von Paulus had 19 Divisions with “nearly a third of a million men”[5]. This figure is more than adequate to accommodate 12,400 per division, but army troops would have taken a fair slice out of this figure. It is fair to say that if 30% to 50% reductions took place as Barbarossa progressed then it is reasonable to assume that at times German divisions contained no more strength than 3-4 battalions in a division. Another way of putting it, is that regiments looked more like battalions with integral regimental support and a division looked more like a British brigade.

The NQM Corps Scale Orbat manages this by not distinguishing the models on a battalion Stand: they can be Rifles, MGs, Mortars or whatever you have to hand.

[1] http://www.bayonetstrength.150m.com/German/Various/german_motorized_infantry_battalion%201942%20to%201943.htm

[2] http://niehorster.orbat.com/011_germany/__ge_index.htm

[3] Zetterling, N. and Frankson, A. (2000) Kursk 1943 – a statistical analysis. Frank Cass, Oxford

[4] Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 7, Sept. 10, 1942.

[5] Beevor, A. (1998) Stalingrad. Viking, Harmondsworth

[6] Kershaw, R.J. (1987) Lessons to be Derived from the Wehrmacht’s Experience in the East 1943-45. RUSI 132(3), London


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Orbats, Wehrmacht