BoB/RCW: White Russian Shock Troops

During WW1, and for the Brusilov offensive, the Russian army experimented with new tactics for infantry in order to break through the Central Powers’ lines. They ended up developing techniques very similar to those used by the German Stormtroopers and certain British units. Most joined the White cause in the RCW.

During the Brusilov Offensive of 1916, the Russian general Aleksei Brusilov developed and implemented idea of shock troops to attack weak points along the Austrian lines to effect a breakthrough, which the main Russian Army could then exploit. The von Hutier tactics (infiltration tactics) called for special infantry assault units to be detached from the main lines and sent to infiltrate enemy lines, supported by shorter and sharper (than usual for WWI) artillery fire missions targeting both the enemy front and rear, bypassing and avoiding what enemy strong points they could, and engaging to their best advantage when and where they were forced to, leaving decisive engagement against bypassed units to following heavier infantry. The primary goal of these detached units was to infiltrate the enemy’s lines and break his cohesiveness as much as possible. These formations became known as Stosstruppen, or shock troops, and the tactics which they pioneered would lay the basis of post-WWI infantry tactics, such as the development of fire teams.

The figures are by Brigade Games from their Storm in the East range (BG-SIER030, 31 & 32). They come with the Adrian pattern steel helmet.

Sadly this is not modelled with either the Imperial Russian Eagle or the deaths head the shock battalions usually had on their helmets.

Mark Plant commented on TMP:

More importantly, helmets weren’t worn in the RCW because they were more hindrance than help. It’s not that they didn’t have them, but they didn’t wear them even when they did. No amount of the Brits shipping them to the Whites would persuade the troops to wear them. Lots of RCW troops wore British kit, but the Russians kept their knee boots as long as they could, and used the caps almost exclusively.

Helmets were invented for troops under constant artillery fire in trenches. Since the RCW was largely devoid of this, the helmet was just a huge weight on a man’s head, keeping him too hot in summer and too cold in winter, for virtually no protective benefit. So they discarded them.

From all the RCW photos I’ve seen, there are precious few helmets being worn, and for the reasons given I tend to agree. However, for table top purposes and to distinguish these troops from other Guard/Officer units the figures are useful practically and have a semi historically plausible root. Indeed, it is intersting to note that the British troops in Baku (and throughout the Middle East) did not use the steel helmets either relying on their Wolsley helmets made out of cork or pith.

I’ve done the command squad except for the standard bearer which needs some remedial treatment by Uncle Richard’s Pinning Service (TM).

The figures are nicely sculpted, but lack some attributes like the rolled up greatcoats, and extra grenades that they should hvae on some of the models. The command squad could also have been a bit more dynamic in their poses, but otherwise are really good. they certainly add a new and different unit to the table top which is always useful when you are fielding hordes of drab khaki clad figures ! The figures are compatable with Copplestone BoB figures, even if they are slightly shorter and more slender. I’m trying to get hold of some more stick grenades from the plastic Warlord German Infantry sets to improve their kit, and maybe wil add greenstuff for extra baggage and rolled up greatcoats for a second unit.

(L-R: Copplestone Ragged White Infantry; Brigade Games Shock Trooper; Copplestone White Russian Infantry)

My other comment is that the metal used is softer than the Copplestone one, and so the gun barrels do need a bit of straightening as can be seen in some photos of the bayonets in particular. However its also worth noting that there is some variation in size of the Copplestone range itself.

I re-iterate however, these figures from Brigade Games are compatable and well worth the money to increase the diversity of RCW, BoB and WW1 Russian forces.

2 Responses to BoB/RCW: White Russian Shock Troops

  1. JP says:

    Nice! I’m planning on getting some of these for my vbcw welsh.

  2. PanzerKaput says:

    Very nice there and I think I might have to have a look at these for my VBCW

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