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Bolt Action Project VLOG – Building WWII Armies

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Hey there folks! We're going to be kicking off the progress on a number of Bolt Action armies and of course we're going to be sharing it with you all in another Project VLOG.

Bolt Action Project VLOG - Building WWII Armies

Our focus is going to be on a Soviet force and talking with you folks in the community about work on a Fallschirmjager force for the Germans too.

If you want to get involved keep an eye out for the various galleries and videos we'll be putting up.

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bucketknight
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1187xp

Funniest thing about the introductory video is John’s face as Warren talks about his “staying power”. 😀

oriskany
Member
33872xp

Great topic, and a great PLOG! 😀

8th Guards (technically, Guards, not Guard) Army is indeed a great choice for an infantry-heavy Soviet army. As Warren says, these used to be the 62nd Army, which was the primary defensive army that held the streets, ruins, and sewers of Stalingrad. Absolutely brutal guys, life expectancy less than 24 hours, fighting chest-deep in human sewage with flamethrowers, that kind of thing. They were also at the worst part of Kursk, spearheaded the drive back across Russia and the Ukraine, took part in Bagration in 1944, and as Warren says, were definitely mixed up in Berlin. As John says, this is a huge force, 150,000 men or so. The winter battles of 1943-44 and 44-45 would be great battles for these guys. 

WHAT A “GUARDS” UNIT IS
When Stalingrad was won (Sept-Feb 1943), the 62nd Army was rewarded with an upgrade to “Guards” status. So technically, they weren’t “Guards” yet IN Stalingrad. This wasn’t just an honorary title bestowed on units that had done well. Guards units (first brigades in 1941, then divisions and corps in 42, and finally armies in early 1943) were given better equipment, better training, and even higher pay. Yes, even in a “Soviet” system. They also had beefed-up orders of battle and tables of organization and equipment. There were actually more guys and support units in a given guards units than its “regular” equivalent.

TANK “CORPS”
Now as far as subunits go, things with the Soviets get a little tricky. After September 1941 (when things were reeeeally going bad for them), the Soviets basically tossed the idea of a “tank division,” it just wasn’t working for them for a host of reasons I won’t go into here. So instead they went with a smaller, easier to handle tank BRIGADE, which were combined by three and fours into a tank CORPS which, unlike most corps, was NOT made up of divisions. Soviet infantry corps were (actually called rifle corps ) made up of divisions, but not their tanks. Weird, I know.

The Soviets are tough in this regard, they use a non-standard template for building their armoured forces and to make it worse, keep changing during the war. The basic idea is that there’s really no such thing as a Soviet “tank division,” in 1942-45, but they have the “tank corps” that basically the same thing. This is why in “World War 2.5”  the Soviet tank corps have similar values to Western armoured divisions.

11TH TANK CORPS
The 11th Tank Corps is another great choice. Some people might get them confused with the 11th GUARDS Tank Corps, which wasn’t part of the 8th Guards Army. I only know this because the 11th GUARDS Tank Corps was part of my personal favorite, Katukov’s 1st Guards Tank Army. So te-e-e-echnically, I don’t know if the 11th Tank Corps is an official guards unit, even though they belong to the 8th Guards Army.

Typical Soviet Army OOB 1942-45 (150,000+ men):
8th Guards Army
Rifle Corps
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Rifle Corps
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Rifle Division
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Rifle Regiment
Artillery Regiment
Tank Corps
Tank Brigade (not division)
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion
Tank Brigade (not division)
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion
SP Artillery Brigade or Regiment (this is where your ISU-152s are)
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion
Tank Battalion

A Soviet Tank Army of Guards Tank Army (there were only six of these) would have a similar makeup, just more tank corps and less rifle corps.

There would also be tons of artillery regiments, independent heavy tank regiments, air assault regiments and divisions (Il-2 Sturmoviks), engineers, and other assets assigned at army level.

Soviet tank markings are indeed quite difficult. I think I have some stuff I can send in, along with some more detailed OOB / ToE material for 8th Guards Army.

Please feel free to PM me if you want with any more specific questions. Eastern Front is my first and true love, and I hope there’s a lot I can offer by way of research and “realism” of this PLOG.

stoney997
Member
302xp

I’m wondering if the army’s going to include Vasily Zaitsev, the famous sniper. I think he was wounded out a few months before the 62nd became the 8th Guards though and I’m not sure whether he rejoined them or not..

williamwidrick
Member
75xp

Gooey bond!? John does not sound(or look) convinced!

coste
Member
155xp

Awesome! I´m looking foward to see more on this Plog ^^

thekommandanteur
Member
6xp

The organisation of the 8th Guards has been covered pretty well in a previous post. The only thing I can really add is that one unit within 62nd Army during Stalingrad and after was the 13th Guards Rifle Division, commanded by Alexander Rodimtsev, which was fighting in the centre of Stalingrad from October til the end of the battle. The 13th had been gutted during the fighting prior to the battle and had only just been reformed and equipped when they were urgently needed in the fighting, so they were committed to the fighting with only 9 out of their 10 men being actually armed. The stories of the Red Army fighting without weapons are generally extremely exaggerated, but in this case it was true. By the end of the battle, IIRC only 900 of the original 30,000 men who’d crossed the Volga were still with the unit. (although obviously it had been reinforced).

The 62nd Army (future 8th Guards Army) is responsible also for some of the classic stories of Stalingrad, so you couldn’t have chosen a better army to ask about regarding stories.

Vasily Chuikov commanded the 62nd Army from Stalingrad all the way to Berlin and it was he who took the surrender of the Germans at Berlin originally. ( a fact that Zhukov really wasn’t happy about, the two were getting progressively more jealous of each other)
He was quite the tough character, he escaped the purges by being sent to advise the Communist Chinese and so also managed to miss out on the early stages of the Eastern Front (where the Red Army just lost and lost). He didn’t think much of beating up subordinates if he didn’t think they were doing well enough. His HQ was at one point during the battle situated beside some oil tanks which were presumed to be empty. They were hit and the entire slope was covered in flames and smoke and contact was lost between the army and Stalingrad Front across the Volga (led by Yeremenko and none other than Nikita Khrushchev). Constantly front headquarters sent messages demanding: “where are you? Where are you?”
The reply eventually came: “We’re where the most smoke and flames are.”

There’s an awfully good reason in the Bolt Action Armies of the Soviet Union book the Stalingrad period army is able to have all its units rated as fanatics. There’s piles of stories of amazing, almost suicidal, acts.
There’s a story of one man returning to regimental headquarters with his hand bandaged and reporting he was the last man of his unit left. Instead of doing normal things like waiting to be taken off to the other side of the Volga, he remarked that he could still throw a grenades and off he went with grenades in hand.
More well known classics include the story of Pavlov’s House where a unit took hold of a building and held it for 80 days no matter what the Germans threw at them. Chuikov joked that the Germans lost more men attempting to take Pavlov’s house than they did to take Paris.
Other stories include a unit who fought until only 4 men were left unwounded, who sent a wounded man back with the message: “begin shelling our position, farewell comrades, we did not retreat.”
In the fighting in the factories north of the city centre, a man rushed out to throw a molotov cocktail at a tank, but the bottle was hit by a bullet and exploded onto him, but he still threw himself onto the tank.
The cult of Sniperism was also forming at this point (Enemy at the Gates captures how they were lionised and their kills recorded, if nothing else) and Vasily Zaitsev amongst others was active. There was however a cult of the “expert” as well during the battle, with top mortarmen and the like also being regarded with awe. (didn’t see much in the way of mortars apart from one 82mm mortar, maybe some larger calibre hardware would be in order for your line up, the soviets loved their heavy artillery, if you can find a 122mm gun (I believe trenchworx sell one) as well as 45mm guns, those were used throughout the war as both AT guns and field artillery)
You might also be interested in including Naval Infantry for your force. They were present in decent numbers during the battle and were instrumental in the famous defense of the Stalingrad grain elevator which held out for weeks, with food and in particular water running so low that the defenders had to resort to urinating into the water jackets of their machine guns to keep them firing.
It wasn’t all rosy at Stalingrad though, with cowardice and incompetence being common place especially early on in the battle before everyone buckled down. There’s a story of the commander and politruk of one unit in the south of the city panicking and moving their HQ onto one of the islands in the middle of the Volga despite having no orders to retreat (and contrary to order no.227, which means if you’re caught you’re dead). The commander of the machine gun company had to organise resistance with what he could when he found that there was nobody in charge. When the commanders on the island realised that resistance continued, they ended up sending bogus reports to higher ups to cover themselves, although eventually they were uncovered.
The replacements the army received often left a lot to be desired, with many being drawn from the steppes and central asia with little experience of technology or modern warfare, which made artillery and air attack all the more terrifying for them. Lack of experience with technology also led to disastrous consequences with things such as grenades.
Uzbeks in particular were a byword in the Red Army for their most unreliable soldiers.
Stories from Berlin are less common in my experience of reading of the 8th Guards Army, but their reputation for Stalingrad (even though their Stalingrad veterans rapidly became fewer and fewer thanks to their involvement in so much fighting in between) meant they were regularly sent into to do the most difficult street fighting, where they encountered many of the same problems that the Germans had encountered during Stalingrad.
A particularly famous engagement outside of Berlin is when they were tasked with the reduction of city of Poznan which had been encircled by the Red Army during their offensives that winter. It proved a tough nut crack and pretty much the only thing they could do was whenever they encountered a defended position to bring up the heavy artillery (and we’re talking 203mm siege artillery here, which is featured a lot in Berlin newsreels).
The Germans held out fanatically but eventually their commander gave them permission to escape before he himself committed suicide on top of a nazi flag.
Sadly however, the honour of storming the Reichstag didn’t fall to the 8th Guards Army.

Famous units during the Stalingrad fighting include the 13th Guards Rifle division (mentioned above), the 287th Rifle Division of Siberians commanded by Batyuk who held the factory district (extremely well too) who amongst their number included Vasili Zaitsev, and the 138th Rifle Division commanded by Lyudnikov who eventually became famous for “Lyudnikov’s island”, when they were cut off in the factories of northern Stalingrad from the rest of the army.

Final note, My understanding is that to be rated a Guards Army didn’t necessarily mean your units were Guards units as well. (as well as why there were guards units in a non guards army).

Sorry for the essay, as you can probably tell, I like my Eastern Front. 🙂

spydah666
Member
13xp

Wouldn’t the bomb dogs be known as terriorists?

intelligentmistertoad
Member
850xp

As Fate would have it I have recently begun working on a Soviet Army for Bolt Action. I had some issues with a dodgy spray can that I have adapted into a weathering feature on some of my models.

minty45
Member
528xp

Got any pics?

intelligentmistertoad
Member
850xp

I can’t seem to submit them here?

intelligentmistertoad
Member
850xp

Hi Minty45,

I have just started my first B0W Blog, please find pictures as the army rolls out.:

http://www.beastsofwar.com/groups/historical-games/forum/topic/my-first-bolt-action-army-1/#post-new

bigdook6
Member
14xp

A fantastic two part documentary on fallschermjagers. It’s two hours all together but it’s a great watch with nothing but authentic footage.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BRbBvcQJfJ4
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MwzT__nvNy4

hauptmanncanuck
Member
472xp

Thanks for sharing 🙂

minty45
Member
528xp

I just love all of this history and the stories. Keep it up oriskany & thekommandanteur, absolutely brilliant info thank you. I love the PLOG Warren & John cant wait for more 🙂

minty45
Member
528xp

I know its not WW2 but thought you might be interested to see what 8th Guards Army looked like in the eighties 🙂

During the Cold War, 8th Guards Army stood opposed to NATO forces (specifically the US V Corps) along the strategically vital Fulda Gap in West Germany.

In the last years of its existence, in the late 1980s, 8th Guards Army consisted of:[6]
Headquarters at Weimar-Nohra
79th Guards Tank Division – Jena, GDR: – disbanded, 1992 17th Guards Tank Regiment (Saalfeld)
65th Guards Tank Regiment (Nohra)
211th Guards Tank Regiment(Jena)
66th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Nohra)
172nd Artillery Regiment (Rudolstadt)
79th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Jena)

27th Guards Motor Rifle Division – General-Maerker-Kaserne, Halle, GDR: – to Totskoye, Volga Military District
68. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Halle)
243. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Halle)
244. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Schlotheim)
28th Tank Regiment (Halle)
54th Guards SP Artillery Regiment (Halle)

39th Guards Motor Rifle Division – Ohrdruf, GDR: – disbanded, 1992 117. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Meiningen)
120. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Ohrdruf)
172. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Gotha)
15th Guards Tank Regiment(Ohrdruf)
87th Artillery Regiment (Gotha)

57th Guards Motor Rifle Division – Naumburg, GDR – disbanded, 1992[7] 170. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Naumburg)
174. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Weißenfels)
241. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Leipzig)
57. Guards Tank Regiment (Zeitz)
128th Artillery Regiment (Zeitz)

47th Tank Brigade – Plauen, GDR: 156 T-80, 18 2S1, 4 2S6, 4 SA-13

Andy Zeck
Member
10694xp

I knew I should have chosen a different user name..doh!

Suetonius Paullinus = First Roman governor of Britannia, commander in chief during the Boudica revolt.

Thought of the Day: I wish there would be a splinter camo spray..

sillymander
Member
47xp

probably already been said somewhere, but you do know Molotov cocktails were ‘served to’ the Russians, by the Finns, to go with the bread baskets he sent them which, due to a typo no doubt happened to be cluster bombs, I don’t know how much they were used by the Russians but I don’t think they would have called them Molotovs.

rahmich
Member
43xp

This is perfect timing, my Bolt action Japanese army has spent the whole summer in storage but has now made it to Qatar. Keep up the excellent BALLS! I have maybe a russian army and a marine army to plan and build to fight against the gaps.

wittmann007
Member
450xp

The Green Devils. Every Tanker in Normandy’s worst Nightmare. This is going to be awesome.

Rot Scheint Die Sonne!

wittmann007
Member
450xp

FJR6 is a bit of a favorite of mine.

If you want anymore info/history lessons on them as a mini feature, I’d be more than willing to assist!

oriskany
Member
33872xp

I’ve heard of these guys. Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 was part of 2nd Division, right? Fought the 101st at Carentan? I’m pretty sure I remember the name from when we visited the site in Normandy last year.

wittmann007
Member
450xp

One of, if not the most, famous Regiments in the entirety of the Fallschirmjager.

Didn’t call them the “Green Devils of Carentan” for nothing!

blaeyn
Member
1640xp

Man, that castle story sounds like a great screenplay idea. Maybe not as crazy as “Castle Keep” in the 70’s, but it’d beat a lot of the tripe (or remakes) Hollywood’s been churning out lately.
Has anybody thought of recreating the battle in “Sahara” (Humphrey Bogart or the Jim Belushi remake, not the Matthew McHanahey (sp?))?

zorg
Member
9379xp

Kelly’s hero’s II ?

grimwolfuk
Member
2312xp

@Warzen warlord have posted this to there store.

http://store.warlordgames.com/products/bm-13-katyusha-rocket-launcher

Im guess this might be added to your army at some point.

stonewall
Member
124xp

What happened to the VLOG??? Will we ever see the painting tutorials??? Finished product and possibly some games??? Hello, Hello!

bwanajoe
Member
172xp

Are the painting videos linked elsewhere? Excellent start by the way.