Archive for the ‘Russian Civil War’ Category

Here are some shots of a command group I painted a while back. Two of the officers are from Musketeer Miniatures and the one waving his cigar around is by Copplestone. The table is from Ainsty, but I made the objects on the tabletop (The bottle, cups and ashtray) out of green stuff. It’s obvious that I am not an accomplished sculptor, but I’ve been trying it out on little things like this. You don’t even want to SEE the first figure I tried to sculpt!

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I like change. The status quo tends to drive me crazy, and I can’t just leave things well enough alone. I tinker and tweak, and alter and convert things incessantly, and I’m no different when it comes to wargame rules. The Russian Civil War is one of the periods that interests me, and so I’ve tried to play it with various sets of rules. But the problem is, I just haven’t been able to find a set of rules covering the period that really reaches out and grabs me, so I decided to try some other rules on for size.  I’ve been a big fan of the “Commander” series  (Blitzkrieg Commander Cold War Commander, and Future War Commander) for a while now, and I have several battlegroups built specifically for CWC and FWC. So, I naturally figured, “Why not give them a try?”. BKC is the one haven’t really played much, but I thought it was closer to the period, so I decided to make up some army lists for the Russian Civil War and see how it works.

The army lists weren’t that hard. I mostly used the existing Spanish Civil War lists and made some relevant modifications. Infantry in BKC is pretty generic, but there are rules for giving special abilities to units, and I used those. There was a wide variety of different troop types in the RCW, and I thought it would be important to reflect that. Bolshevik Naval infantry was very different from the conscript infantry units, as it was also different from the Czarist shock battalions or Czech Legion, and so on. I gave each of these troop types their own special abilities. Once I had the lists down, I headed off to Great Hall Games to test it out. My friend Chris (aka “the Other Chris”) met me there to play as the Bolsheviks.

Since this was just a test game, we went for something simple. Basic “Encounter” scenario from the book, 1000 points per side, and generic terrain, with a small village in the center with patches of forest scattered around the table. The object of the game would be to inflict casualties on the enemy. 25% casualties was a minor victory and if your enemy reached the breakpoint, that was a major victory.

Things started off fairly well for me. My Czarist troops got good command rolls and everything appeared on the table, but Chris’ Bolsheviks failed all of their command rolls and remained conspicuously absent from the table. My force consisted of (from left flank to right) a unit of cossacks with a machine gun car on the flank, a group of Markov shock infantry supported by a Maxim MG,  an Austin-Putilov armored car, driving up the road, and a large-ish mob of basic infantry on the far right supported by a second Maxim team as well as a mortar team.

Turn 1, the White army enters

Turn 1, the cossacks compress their front to pass through a gap

The Markov Regiment passes quickly through the forest

The White colonel plans his next move

The Reds rolled better on turn 1 and all of his stuff entered. From his left to right, the Bolshevik army consisted of a group of naval infantry and partisans supported by an artillery piece, a huge mob of infantry (18 stands) in the center supported by two Maxim MGs at either end of the mob, and a small group of cavalry on the right flank supported by an armored car. For the most part, I had better quality troops with bonuses for combat (The Markovs and the Cossacks), but he had more men.

Turn 2, the red Horde finally enters

Forward, comrades!

Bolshevik cavalry advances

My guys continued moving forward, and I pushed the armored car through the center of town toward the Reds. What was I thinking, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you what. I knew that the Maxims could penetrate the armor, but I figured on getting some fire on that mass of infantry. Besides, armored is armored, right? Not heavy armor, but still… If he shot back at me, how bad could it be? Here, I’ll show you just how bad:

The White armored car is hit by machine gun fire

Both of the enemy’s MGs opened up and scored hits, and the armored car went up in flames without taking a shot. Oh well, no big loss, I guess.

The road through town

At the top of turn 3, the lines were converging on one another I began firing the mortar at long range over on my right, and it began to inflict hits and suppression on some of the Bolshevik units, and eventually destroyed one of those Maxims.

The situation going into turn 3

A gun duel took place on the left between the two cavalry troops, which lasted 2 or 3 turns. Maxim fire claimed the Red armored car and a stand of Red cavalry, and the rest red cavalry was largely suppressed. So far, I was ahead in points and things were looking pretty good.

Turn 3, a long range gun duel erupts between the cavalry forces

Prepare to charge!

By turn 5, the lines were close enough to engage in rifle fire, and hits began to be inflicted. Under fire, the cossacks moved forward to within charge range:

Turn 5, men begin to fall

On my right flank, a group of my infantry managed to reach a patch of forest, while enemy partisans and sailors surged heroically through intense MG and mortar fire to reach the other side, ignoring casualties…

Skirmish in the forest

…while in the center of the village, an intense street battle broke out around the burning armored car. At this point, things are still going my way, and a few more stands of Bolsheviks were destroyed.

Shots ring out in the center of the village

Now here’s where things went a little weird. We may have misconstrued the close combat rules, butthe net result was that whole chunks of the armies seemed to melt away on contact. My cossacks and Markovs had bonuses in close combat and just utterly destroyed their opponents. The problem was, thee way the numbers added up, it was nearly impossible for their opponents to even do anything, and it seemed a foregone conclusion. Close to half the Red army just disappeared in one turn.

Caught by the charging cossacks

Hand-to-hand fighting around the burning armored car

With only 3 units lost and half of my enemies fleeing or dead, it looked like a big win for the Czar. However, there were two other combats on my right involving lesser quality troops who were utterly crushed by the naval infantry. This swung the game. We both reached our breakpoints on the same turn and we called it there.

Chris and I talked about the rules after the game. We both play CWC, but I don’t think BKC worked very well in this instance. First of all, it tends to generalize the infantry, and that’s really all there is in the RCW. There were no tank battles, which is what I think BKC is geared toward, with infantry in a secondary role. Neither of us liked how the close combat rules worked, although as I said, we may have been doing it wrong. Another thing I probably should have done was to increase the ranges and movement distances, but I just didn’t think about it, and we simply used what was listed in the book in centimeters. But oh well. It was a fun afternoon, nonetheless, and it did answer some questions.

I am thinking of trying this out with the new Force on Force rules, next time. I’ll let you know how that little experiment turns out.

Here are a few shots of some of my 28mm Russian Civil War officers and other personalities. To start us off, it wouldn’t be the Russian Civil War without the Czar and family, now would it? These four figures are all from West Wind productions:

Next up are some of the White Russian officers. From left to right are two White officers from Brigade Games, a Copplestone German mercenary (now serving as a czarist officer), and a Copplestone White Russian officer.

Here are two White cavalry officers. man on the left is from Old Glory, converted so that he’s holding a pistol now instead of a sword, and the man on the right is a Copplestone cossack. The cavalryman’s pistol, by the way, is by Cannon Fodder. They are great for conversions because they include the whole hand, and are well detailed:

This next one just happens to be my favorite officer figure, and is by Copplestone. I just like the pose very much, and the nice smooth lines. Great figure:

Here are couple of members of a White general’s, staff/entourage. Not really members of the army, as you can see. We’ll call them advisers. Or assistants. Either way, I’m sure they both have very important roles to play in boosting the general’s morale. The woman on the left, we’ll call her simply “Natasha”, is from Copplestone, and the Orthodox priest on the right is from Brigade Games:

Next up are the Bolsheviks. These four officers are all from Copplestone. The one on the left is actually the same figure as the third man, but was converted with a head swap with a German. I did this partly to add some variety (I hate seeing identical figures in my armies) and partly because I wanted to get one or two coal scuttle helmets in my army:

This next one is a cavalry officer from Eureka Miniatures. He’s 25mm, and so is a little smaller than most of my Bolsheviks, but the rearing horse disguises that a bit.

Here is another converted figure, a Copplestone head on a Copplestone body.

Another Copplestone Red officer. Can you tell I love Copplestone? Well, I do.

This one is a naval officer, also from Copplestone:

These next two are commisars, again by Copplestone:

These next two are not really personalities, unless you’re the type that talks to your car. The first is a resin Austin-Putilov kit by Old Glory built straight from the box. I can’t remember where I got the decals from, but they are actually meant for aircraft. I thought they looked pretty good on the armored car, though:

Since the Whites had an Armored Car, I had to give one to Reds also. But, at the time I was building this, there weren’t many armored cars available, and I didn’t want to just give them another Austin Putilov. So, what to do, what to do….

That’s when it occurred to me that the Bolsheviks scratchbuilt a lot of their armored vehicles, so I should do the same. I started with the chassis of a Lledo toy of a Ford Model T truck. Then I built the armor plating with sheet styrene. Rather than build a movable turret, I gave it a fixed cupola with a machine gun barrel sticking out. To give the car all-around firing capability, I stuck machine gun ports on both sides, so the thing is bristling with Maxims. I like the look of rivets rather than welds, so to get that look, I applied small drops of glue and let them dry. And since it was (supposedly) built in a shipyard with whatever materials were on hand, I painted it a navy gray. The Star decals also came from an airplane kit:

Here are a few shots of some 28mm scale Russian Civil War figures I recently finished. Most of the figures are manufactured by Copplestone, but there are a few from Brigade Games and Old Glory as well. The terrain is mostly scratchbuilt, but the barricade you see in some of the shots is a very nice set by Ainsty.