From the Shed: Russian Airborne Armour.

Following on from my post on VDV Air Assault Brigades I’ve done some light armour to give them some support.

asu85

First up we have the ASU85: a light self propelled gun on the PT76 chassis, designed to give the VDV some anti- tank support. It was a replacement for the much earlier ASU57. At the time of its introduction its 85mm gun (based on the WW2 tank gun) was barely adequate for the task by the 1980s when it was still in service it would have been useless at its intended role. Still any soft skins or light armoured cars would be vulnerable to its gun.

sprut

Next we have the little known 2S25 Sprut SD, the replacement to the ASU85. Mounting the usual Russian 125mm smoothbore gun it can fire all the same ammo as an MBT but from a lightly armoured chassis based on the BMD3. Given the ammo types it can fire it makes up a pretty potent support vehicle for the modern day VDV.

Pt76

Although not an airborne vehicle I painted up a few PT76 amphibious tanks. Developed after WW2 as a recce vehicle it is fully amphibious, accordingly it means it is not very well armed or armoured. Kept in service untill surprisingly recently in has seen combat in the Middle East, Vietnam, India, Africa and even Chechnya.

light armour

All models are 1/300th (6mm) scale and are from Heroics and Ros.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

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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).

Attachments:

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.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

From the Shed: Winter Chechens.

A quick post… I had been rather pleased with the winter bases on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. figures I recently finished so I churned out a handful of Under Fire Miniatures 20mm Chechen fighters.

chechens 1

The range has been sculpted wearing fairly substantial jackets and coats so it isn’t too much of a stretch to put the on winter bases. I went for a mixed of woodland and urban camo for them.

chechens 2

chechens 3

I really like how they have come out. I think some of the heavier support weapons on similar winter bases would look really good.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: Iraqi Army Platoon.

These 20mm figures from Liberation miniatures were speed painted by me in a couple of days. The simple uniform that is being modelled here (good for the Iran- Iraq war, Gulf War and right up to the 2003 invasion) combined with the great painting style made for an enjoyable painting experience, even though I was painting so many at once.

Iraqis 1

The full group of 32 figures.

Iraqis 2

A Squad with a representative and varied mix of weapons.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: More Elhiem figures.

A couple of quick pics here…

 

First up I painted 4 USMC figures, enough to form a fireteam, to try out the colours to paint Woodland MARPAT pattern see here for an example. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Although a full platoon of them would take a while…. Will try the desert scheme next.

marines woodland marpat

I also painted up some assorted Cold War Soviet figures for a couple of scenarios I’ve got planned, the guy with the white helmet is a Military Policeman on traffic duty:

assorted cold war soviets

Finally I got some of the insurgent gun crew to go with the improvised mortars I featured a bit ago:

insurgent gun crew

gun crews and mortars

https://www.elhiem.co.uk/

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Hell Cannons: A Pair of improvised mortars.

The tragic long running civil war in Syria has thrown up many examples of improvised military equipment over the years: from home made sniper rifles to converted apcs. Ace models have recently immortalised two such weapons in a plastic kit.

hell cannon 2

Hell Cannons are the name given to large improvised mortars that have been built by the rebel forces/ Free Syrian Army in the past few years. Consisting of a large metal pipe fixed to a truck axle they fire homemade shell that are mostly made from propane gas canisters. As can be imagined they are not particularly accurate and neither do they have a long range, barely reaching overa mile. A more in-depth  look at them can be found here .

Ace kits are a east European manufacturer of limited run plastic kits that cover a wide variety of subjects that are often not covered by the bigger companies. Given the limitations of their short run production their kits have a repuation of being difficult to build; the finesse and fit of the parts is not up there with the likes of Revell or Dragon. That said the two guns were built over the course of a single evening. I thought it was a nice touch that several examples of the relevant ‘shells’ were included too.

hell cannon wip

hell cannon 1

Painting was mostly done with a sponge to get the mottled camo and rust effects and didn’t take long at all.

The first gun is from the Ahrar al- Shmal Brigade nd was seen in the Idlib area in 2013.

hell cannon 3

hell cannon 4

The second gun was built and used by the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo in 2017.

hell cannon 5

hell cannon 6

I have bought some suitable figures from Elhiem to use as crew but I’ve not painted them yet.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Beating around the Bush (Horizons).

Last week I took a trip with Bill of Under Fire Miniatures to vist his friend Wing Commander Luddite aka Nick to playtest his African campaign/ battle system that he is developing called Bush Horizons. Also it was nice to see the Wing Commander’s model collection and be able to game with it. All models and terrain in the photos are his.

bush horizon 1

We were joined by Jerry and Kev to run through a full campaign turn and play out any resulting battles.

bush horizon 2

Basically the game was set in a fictional African country sometime in the 1970s/ 1980s. You create an armed/ political party: Kev and I formed B.O.P.M to take on P.R.O.F. run by Bill and Jerry. You then have 40 ‘elements’ to split between 6 different abstracted territories of the country. Once both side have committed their forces for the turn it is revealed to both sides. Any contested areas are played out. If you are massively outnumbered you can always conceed the territory to your opponent.

bush horizon 3

Once a battle has been decided upon both side roll a number of D6 equal to the number of elemnts that they committed to that battle to see what actually turns up. These elements are then grouped into units for the battle.

bush horizon 4

We managed three battles of various sizes in an afternoon so fighting a campaign to its conclusion wouldn’t take that long.

bush horizon 5

The tactical battle system is fast and elegant and gives you a definite result with hte minimum of fuss. I’m looking forward to being able to get another turn of the campaign done.  I’ve not given away too much in terms of the mechanisms of the campaign or battle systems are they aren’t mine to do so with but it would be great to see the rules reach a wider audience someday. Playing the games got me thinking about other, historical, areas it could be used for. The South Africans fighting the Angolans and Cubans wouyld be an obvious one. You could play up the quantity versus quality difference there. Also I thought that the campaign system with a few tweaks would work well for the various wars that have broken out in the area around the Great Lakes, particularly the Kagera War between Tanzania and Uganda (I know its fairly obscure but I’ve been reading a lot of the Helion African at War series recently clicky ).

bush horizon 6

Wing Commander Luddite’s 6mm modelling skills are amazing and as the photos show it is something to aspire to. I will try to up my scenery game in 1/300th now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.