This releases sees the Soviets entering in force, with an officer team, forward observer, infantry, support weapons and assault guns. As well as the grunts, their new infantry support teams include a sniper and an MMG. Armoured might comes in the form of the OT-26 flamethrower tank, and the SU-122 and ISU152 assault guns. Existing support and transportation is already supplied by the Katyusha rocket launcher, ZIS-3 divisional gun and the solid and reliable ZIS-6 truck.
In addition, we also offer a Soviet infantry platoon bundle of all of the above infantry and an armoured car. This is available at a very reasonable discounted price and free UK shipping. This is the third of our platoon bundles, in addition to the Japanese and Italian platoons already released.
As always, here’s a little background on the various units…..
After the great purges of the 1930s it was a rare Soviet officer who did not carry out his role with some apprehension of a similar fate. The immediate aftermath of the purges was falling back on blind obedience and following orders unquestioningly. Over time this gave way to a more tactical and strategic way of thinking. By the end of the war, the Red Army was a formidable and modern fighting force led by many good officers.
Whether calling in an airstrike from a group of Shturmoviks II-2s, or artillery fire from a battery of Zis-3 guns, a forward observer is key to providing support for the advancing army. The great open expanses of the Steppe made for ideal terrain for long strafing runs on bogged down German columns, and massed batteries of artillery quickly pulverised any scant natural cover that could be found.
As the Red Army was so huge – with over 34 million soldiers deployed during World War II, so the range of the troop quality and unit composition also varied. These included the Shtrafbat penal squads, Guards units and Eastern Front veterans. This infantry squad can be used to represent any of the standard units that were fielded with the DP LMG.
Made famous through the battles of Stalingrad and Leningrad, a single Soviet sniper could wreak havoc on occupying German forces. Executing officers and other important individuals, the snipers sowed fear through the invaders. Specialist “sniper schools” were set up to maximise the effectiveness of these soldiers. The best among them had hundreds of confirmed kills.
The standard medium machine gun of the Red Army was the Maxim. With a distinctive wheeled carriage and shield, the Maxim was a solid weapon dating back to World War I. However, it was also heavy and cumbersome, meaning that captured weapons were rarely used by the enemy.
The T-20 Komsomolets was a small artillery tractor designed for moving light to medium howitzers and AT guns. The driver and co-driver were in a small armoured cab, with a DP light machine gun for defence. The towed gun’s crew sat on exposed benches on the rear of the vehicle.
The OT-26 was a flamethrower armed variant of the T-26 light tank, itself based on the British Vickers 6 ton light tank. Over 1000 of these were made and they saw service throughout the war. The first time the OT-26 deployed was against the Japanese in Manchuria during 1939. Initially they were successful, though later engagements did not always go so well. As with all flamethrowing vehicles, they quickly became more effective as a morale breaking weapon. The mere appearance of them could cause the enemy to flee or reposition. However, the vehicles and crews were hated by the enemy and captured crew often ill treated or killed on the spot.
The SU-122 was an anti tank platform designed around the T-34 chassis and featuring the A-19 122mm gun used by the IS-2. Designed as a breakthrough gun, the AT capabilities of the A-19 were also excellent, and easily capable of destroying a Tiger I at 1000m. Produced between winter 1942 and summer 1943, the SU-122 saw service for the rest of the war.
We hope that you found this little bit of background history and that soon our models will be reinforcing your Soviet armies – Ura!