BoB/RCW: Command Elements I

Been busy painting command units for the forthcoming BoB/RCW game – it seems I am providing 3 armies to the Lead Leeches, as well as my own !

First up, a couple of Kuban mounted standard bearers:

Copplestone White Russian Cossacks.

These are part of the massive box of cavalry I am refusing to shift from the kitchen until the entire contents is finished – I oipened the box after 8 years and found the entire contents unpainted and unused. After three weeks of promising my cleaner it will be removed, it is now getting embarrassing. She’s back on Monday, so stand by for more Cossack Cavalry goodness.

Some more Infantry support elements. These are Musketeer WW1/RCW Infantry Characters, namely Signallers (which will e observers for artillery), Ammunition carriers, and Medics.

As you can see, I have painted two sets for ordinary White Russians and one for more Colourful White Russians. Another set will be for Cossacks forces, and a fifth will be for the Shock Troopers. Both are well advanced along with HMGs and one of the mortar units,.

More on the way…and will try for better photos…

BoB: Austin Armoured Car Part 2

Sometime ago Byakhee Rich helped pin together a Sloppy Jalopy Austin (Mark 3) Armoured car for me. I then painted it, and waited to acquire some transfers/decals to apply identity markings to it.

Well the transfers arrived yesterday from Brigade Games, and they were used in anger. (there is no way I could paint this accurately without a lot of effort and patience. The roundels on the turrets are the roundels used by the Russians in WW1 and carried over into the White Russian army later.

The Skull & Cross bones on the front was quite a common marking for Russian and German vehicles and helps tie in with the Shock Troopers. The Imperial Eagle on the back is very alohistorical, but helps identify it as a White Russian Vehicle.

Looking up the stats or this armourec car, Tom Hillman in his book “Armoured Automobiles of the RCW 1918-1920“, has fiound that this was the most advanced o armoured cars used, but that records indicate a mere 60 were imported to Russia.

Many of the armies in the RCW used it, along with the British as well in WW1. various models were built but the Mark 3 was the most numerous.

This Austin is in use by the Don Army (the Don Cossacks) and may be early on as it only has the Don Cossack symbol (yellow roundel with black triangle representing an arrowhead that has been used shot into a stag, and this was also used on Don aircaft as well). This will be used on my next kit to make it different, allow me to field a different faction on the field.

More details here on wiki.

BoB/RCW: White Command II

Here are some figures for my White Command unit, to lead their ragged troops into battle:

One of the standards has slipped a little as you can see – somenthing you notice in a close up photo like this is totally unseen when deployed on the table. The second more animated standard is the St Andrew’s flag that was occasionally used and was also the standard of the Imperial Russian Navy.

A Brigade Games and an Artizan figure – a medic, and a mad officer wielding two mauser pistols (one with snail magazine). I painted the Officer’s ‘tache white, like the one in Dr Zhivago.

Get back in your ranks !!
Even more officers !

One’s from Brigade Games, the rest are Copplestone. As you should notice, the right hand one is the officer from the White Field Gun. I swapped him with another White Officer to make the command and artillery units more varied.

BoB: Ragged White Russians

As commented earlier the White Russians in the RCW had way to many officers and way too few ordinary infantry. they resorted to conscription, but all levels of their armies suffered from supply problems. I’ve just painted up 10 Ragged White Russians from Copplestone (BU23) and have another 30 on the painting table.

there are more than 10 variants of the model, but I won’t bore you with each and every one.

The models are based on a fairly well known photo:

The Whites were supplied lots of weapons and uniforms by the Allies. Not much got to the front due to corruption and inefficiency.

So much of these supplies reached the Bolsheviks, that Trotsky sent the British General Knox a letter: “thanking him for his help in equipping the Red troops” (Figes 1996).  Knox was dubbed the Quartermaster General of the Red Army.

Some of these models include Lee-Enfields, some are in British tunics, most are in ragged Russian uniform and most with Mosin-Nagants. These poor souls made up the majority of the White Russian armies on all fronts.

Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: [narrating over a military parade in Moscow]The party looked to the peasant conscript soldiers – many of whom were wearing their first real pair of boots. When the boots had worn out, they’d be ready to listen. When the time came, I was able to take three whole battalions out of the front lines with me….By the second winter, the boots had worn out… but the line still held. Even Comrade Lenin underestimated both the anguish of that 900-mile long front… as well our own cursed capacity for suffering. Half the men went into action without any arms… irregular rations… led by officers they didn’t trust.

I’m designing a game system to generate BoB/RCW factions/armies, and the Whites (and the Reds) will be getting a lot of these demoralised poortly equipped troops.

BoB/RCW White Russian Guard

One of this week’s projects was to finish of the White Russian Guard unit. The White Russians were notorious for having more a disproportionate number of officers to men, so officers often had to be fielded as normal infantry.

With their smart uniforms, I have designated this as one of the White Guard units to separate them from the more ragged White Russian infantry which is also about ready.

Again these are basic Copplestone BU34.

Ironically, to make a change from Foundry Moss, I have used one of the Foundry WW2 paints – Soviet summer tan. Not sure if these are still available, but it does break up the endless montone khaki a bit, and again the Russian army in WW1 and then both Reds and Whites had enormous problems in getting consistant supplies of uniforms to their troops.

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.

BoB/RCW: Cossacks II

Well I painted some White Russian Cossacks before, but here they are with fur caps (Copplestone BU36).

Actually its very useful to have a different set of Cossacks so you differentiate units.

One unit of 10 have caps, another unit of 10 has fur hats, then the third is a mixture. 😉

Next up some Shock Troops.

BoB: White Russian Command

Here’s a collection of Copplestone (BC25), Brigade Games (BG-SIER002) and Artizan models that I have used as the first infantry command unit for my normal/ragged White Russian army.

I’ve included an officer with blue breeches to represent the plastuns and the general nature of White Russian armies being top heavy with Officers who often aspired to be from the cavalry regiments that had prestige.

I have added an Artizan figure as the feisty Terek female commander/officer that can goad her male brethren into action against the rapacious Reds (nice alliteration I think).

And of course another couple to round the unit out including the cigar smoking type that helped the Whites loose the RCW due to overweening arrogance and ineptitude.

As you can see whilst the style of Artizan and Copplestone are similar, both the Artizan and Brigade Games figures are more slender/delicate and a bit smaller. I guess this represents Mark’s influence on Mike (the sculptor for both ranges) whilst they were at Foundry. They’re all compatable which is the most important thing for us wargamers however.

BoB: White Russian Cossack Plastuns

Say what ? Plastuns ?

A Plastun or plastoon (Ukrainian, Russian: пластун) was a Cossack foot scouting and sentry military unit. Originally they were part of the Black Sea Cossack Host and then later in the 19th and 20th centuries Kuban Cossack Host.

Another ten of the Copplestone White Guard (the remodelled BU34, the originals turned up minus rolled up greatcoats – see my Colourful White Russian Infantry for examples and I don’t think these are available anymore) turned up and so I pondered how to paint them anything other than khaki. So at least using the idea of the plastuns gave me some blue breeches.

There was a lack of horses during the RCW due to all the privations of the preceeding WW1 and ongoing hardship, so it is only natural that there would be more plastuns than usual.

So this unit, should be a nice variant on ordinary infantry, and maybe conferred with some sort of ferocious rule as their members try to prove their worth and get some cash to buy a Cossack pony to return them to their proper status.

BoB/RCW: More Standard bearers with alternate Russian standards

Well you can just never have enough.

Here’s a mounted Terek Cossack standard Bearer:

This flag as described as:

A variant of the flag was authorized for private use by Tsar Nicholas II before World War I, adding the large State eagle on a yellow field (Imperial Standard) in a canton in the top left-hand corner. This variant was never made the official state flag.

A colourful White Russian standard bearer to add variety to that army.

The “coat of arms flag”, erroneously called “Romanov dynastic flag”: the official national flag of the Russian Empire from 1858 to 1883. The flag is currently being used by Russian Nationalists and Monarchists

I thought this would be appropriate for the extreme natonalist colourful White Russian armies.

In both cases the figures are by Copplestone Castings with steel pins from Foundry.