VDV Air Assault Brigade in 5core: Brigade Commander.

During the Cold War the Soviet Union raised extensive parachute forces: the Vozdushno-Desantnya Voyska (VDV). Whilst the Airborne Division were under the command of high level HQs and would have been used for strategic and operational missions their smaller cousins the Air Assault Brigades were under the command of the Ground Forces so would get more tactical missions to undertake; because of this I thought they’d be an interesting force to field in our 6mm games of Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander.

vdv 1

Three- quarters of the Brigade lined up. 50mm square bases for companies, 30mm square bases for platoon sized attachments.

One of the things that would have hampered the Soviet Union’s deployment of its VDV was the lack of sufficient lift capacity, especially at the strategic/ operational level. At the tactical level insertion by helicopter would have been more common but even so the number of heavy- lift helicopters to move vehicles was limited. The non- mechanised companies could be para dropped of they could be flown in by helicopter. The engineers in the brigade were trained to make landing strips for aircraft out of West German roads (doubtless these would have been recce’d in advance) to bring in heavier vehicles.

vdv 2

The HQ company stand, three Heavy Companies and two recce  attachments in close up. All vehicles and figures are from Heroics and Ros.

Below is my interpretation of the brigade. Sources differ as to whether there are 2 Heavy battalions or one either way there are four battalions.


HQ coy

AT company, BRDM3- can be fielded as 3 AT attachments.

2 or 3 Air Assault Battalions:3 companies of Infantry (limited AT).

1 or 2 Heavy Air Assault Battalion: 3 companies of Mechanised Infantry, BMDs (Advanced AT).


1 light Recce, BRDM or GAZ jeep.

2 AA, ZSU 23/2s on BTRDs

3 Engineers, GAZ jeeps.

3 Mortar, 120mm.

1 AT, 85mm ATG


For my collection I’ve got far more attachments than I actually need, this is primarily to have some variation in what I can field.


vdv 4

Three Engineer attachments.

vdv 5

Three SO120 mortars (a breech loading 120mm mortar on the BMD APC chassis).

vdv 6

AGS17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher attachments.

vdv 7

The BRDM based ATGMs which act as the anti- tank attachments.

vdv 8

A MMG attachment.


I’ve come up with a couple of scenarios to use with the unit that reflect the sort of tactical missions they’d have been given. The first is a landing to capture a bridge and then hold it against a counter attack until relieved, the second is to attack into NATO rear areas to take out a HQ. I’ll post some game reports when I’ve played them.

I may yet expand my collection to be able to field a regiment from a fully fledged Airborne Division later on.





17 comments on “VDV Air Assault Brigade in 5core: Brigade Commander.

  1. Excellent stuff, Pete! Takes me back – somewhere in the loft I have Soviet airborne, Afghan and Mujahideen forces in 20mm for the Soviet operations from 1979 onwards!

  2. The bases look great and add rather than detract from the models. I’d always be worried about getting that balance wrong on this scale. Is it trial and error that got you to this stage (I appreciate it’s not new to you but thought I’d ask for if others start to model this scale).

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Thanks for that. The bases were just a matter of trial and error really. I went for railway style sawdust flock as anything coarser or longer would hide the models. After the initial covering of the lighter green they look a little lacking so @I added an extra tone. The tracks behind the AFVs was added to stop them looking like they were just plopped in place. The trick with 6mm is to not worry about individual bits but how the whole unit looks.



  3. Always impressed with 6mm, and it scares me to consider painting! Nice job, and when you get around to painting some US Army engineers who would be dealing with these airborne/airlifted forces in West Germany, think of me!

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Thanks Mark- it is a scale that has a lot to offer. It is easier to paint than you think. You don’t think about painting individual bits of even bases but how the whole unit will look when it has been completed.

      Which years were you stationed in Germany? I take it defence of rear areas wasa real concern in those days then?



      • I was in West Germany from 1986-1989 with a side trip to the Sahara desert to rebuild an airfield at Dirkou in Niger. (Google that for remoteness). 249th Engineer Battalion (two different platoons) and later on staff at the 18th Engineer Brigade. Rear area security was a big concern, as we expected that Spetznaz and the Soviet airborne and Air Assault forces – just like the ones you have been painting – would target the main air bases. As engineers, we had construction missions in support of keeping the Air Force flying (runway repair) and the Army sustained. But, in the rear, we were the only troops capable of rapid infantry missions (always for combat engineers). So that would have been us as the Soviets slathered the area with persistent nerve agent.

      • Pete S/ SP says:

        That is fascinating Mark. My Uncle was stationed in Berlin in that rough tiome period in the RMP.

        I looked up Dirkou- really is isolated there isn’t it? Hyow long did you have to spend there?

        I can’t begin to imagine how unpleasant the training to fight under NBC conditions would have been let alone having to contemplate the reality… I had heard that it was expected that the airfield, ports and REFORGER bases would have been ‘slimed’ in the event of the balloon going up.

        BTW- Were you organised as a standard infantry battalion?



      • I spent nearly 4 months there – we were totally isolated except for Morse code messages going 6 or 7 times across the Sahara (and being transcribed by francophones not English speakers). This led to rarely effective communications.

        As for the sliming – yes, we expected inches of persistent agent and trained for that. Though the USAF base engineers who we supported had underground “subs” that were overpressured – we were the dudes in the tents next to the subs outside them, so that was strange.

        We had an HQ company, an A company (had low density equipment/specialized such as asphalt and concrete equipment, and B, C, and D companies that each had two vertical construction platoons and one horizontal construction platoon. Each platoon had three squads of 11 I thinks so yes, we could transform into infantry,

      • Pete S/ SP says:

        The Sahara posting sounds pretty bleak…

        Thanks for all the info, your training must have been pretty much full on as you hada dual role.



      • Well, expert in infantry is not easy. We were better as engineers

  4. Azazel says:

    Alright Pete – you didn’t scale-fool me this time. I was ready for you. Great looking force, though! 🙂

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