Wednesday, 30 March 2022

1930's Interbellum Byzantia

 


Above - the emergence of an Imagi-Nation - see text for forces used and why

Some years ago I sketched out Byzantium re-emerging, as a Mandate state after WW1 (see here for the back story). I started building a force for project this in 28mm using Greek Evzone models from Eureka miniatures (and Disney Atlantic tanks of course) but it never really went that far. (Interestingly these Evzones, used as Real Greeks, turned into one of my most played armies because the Evzones look much the same in Balkan Wars, WW1, Russian Civil War and WW2 - and so I have gamed with them across all these periods.)

But now....post Lockdown.one of my clubmates and his son have built 1930's Imagi-Nations in 15mm, so it is time to restart my own project, albeit in 15mm scale. The benefit I am finding is that its cheaper, armies are bigger, and less detail = less work = faster gaming.

In the 1920's there was little appetite for war and most armies had huge stocks of WW1 equipment to work through before there was any justification for bringing in new weaponry. But by the early 1930's the delayed technical advances were coming quickly, and drove a lot of debate and change (and also rate of change meant systems that were a few years old were almost obsolescent and constantly forced new thinking).

However despite the changes there were some standard trends, vehicle types etc that emerged in this period, and general principles in how they are to be used:

The Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Amoured cars - there were "Light" and "Heavy" cars, usually grouped together in Reconnaisance Units

- Light were mainly for scouting and typically caried a machine gun or (later)  a heavy machine gun or anti-tank rifle level main gun. One sub-type of light armoured car is the Scout car, which can also carry a few troops.

- Heavy tended to be better armoured ans carried heavier weapons

Tanks - were grouped into Light, Medium and Heavy (or Infantry) tanks. Light and Medium tanks were usually put in the same tank units.

- Light were "scouting" tanks and were typically fast, lightly armed and armoured

- Medium were the "battle" tank, they were to destroy any enemy formations. Oddly in the early days they have general purpose guns but over time they inceasingly have anti ank main guns.

- Heavy/Infantry tanks are attached to the infantry and help with breaking through enemy formations

Two other systems emerged in this period - tankettes and tank destroyers.

- Tankettes were very popular in the early part of this period, they were seen as either scouting vehicles or infantry supportig mobile MG nests (or both) but wer seen to be worse at both jobs than armoured cars and light tanks respectively.

- Tank Destroyers were lightly armoured vehicles (even trucks) with larger anti tank guns

Transport

Trucks are increasingly being used to transport troops and supplies over this period, and some unts have dedicated truck trasport. Various fully tracked vehicles are used as artillery tows. The "Halftrack" emerges in this period, the aim is to get tracked vehicle cross country performamce and wheeled vehicle ease/speed of travel. It turns out they also have the maintenance problems of tanks. Halftracks are also used as armoured cars.  I am not clear why fully tracked APC's only appear post WW2.

Horses are still fairly common in rear echelon transport and artillery tows.

The Infantry

WW1 saw a number of weapons appear (machine guns, mortars, rifle grenades, light machine guns, submacine guns) that had to be worked into infantry formations. In addition the incraesing use of tanks forced the emergence of anti tank infantry weapons (initially large calibre rifles) and anti tank (higher muzzle velocity) guns. There was also debate about the traditional "Square" unit (4 platoons, companies etc) vs the triangular (3 platoons, companies etc).

A major problem was how to structure units to integrate tanks (of all sorts), infantry, cavalry, motor and horse transport. Many counries at this time have structures where the tank units are only integrated with infantry units at a high (typically divisional) level. Some countries just dumped them all in the same Division.

Those that fight in the Spanish Civil War start to understand that integration needs to happen at a lower level, and the Germans have the radical concept of infantry in hafltracks working with the tanks - but this is still not common in 1939

But now it's time to get real - we are using O Group rules, and the standard force in those rules is a reinforced battalion, so what does Byzantium look like at this level.

Cavalry is still A Thing, in this period they had proven very useful in the Russian Civil War, and a horse was still a very effcetive way of moving men or materiel fast in this era.

Special forces don't really exist yet, Mountain Infantry, Marines and the new fangled Parachute troops are the main major specialist formations with their own (typically lighter) equipment. Cavalry arguably are more like mounted infantry in this era so is in effect another type of lighter infantry. 

Bicycles are used to move infantry and don't require huge logistics effort (fuel/repair), reserve infantry battalions in foot formations were often bicycle troops so they could move fast to where they were needed. Downside is troops are tired after cycling long distances.

Recconnaisance troops were a sort of specialism, they are usually kept at brigade and divisional level and are often combined with armoured cars or light tanks/tankettes. Scout cars and motorcycles are often used to transport these troops.

Building a Force

We are using O Group battalion level rules for this project, so for my Battalion structure I went for the compromise "3+1" battalion - 3 Infantry Companies and a Heavy Weapons Company with mortar, machine gun and anti tank gun platoons

The rules like you to use "Reinforced battalions" with a few vehicles etc. There are 3 cases where a Reinforced Battalion occurs as far as I can see:

(i) Infantry reinforcing the Recce units in a force

(ii) Armour and Infantry working together (oddly enough, in a lot of the 1930's TO&E structures armour and infantry were separated, the German integrated approach was relatively radical.)

(iii) "Reinforced" means having divisional infantry heavy weapons (artillery, anti-tank, machine guns etc added) 

So all that remains is to choose the gear that you fancy modelling. Tey have to have been available pre 1939. I went for the following based on always thinking they were cool looking/weird/interesting:

Light Armoured car - White M3 Scout car, carrying troops as well, for the Recce units. I have an open spot for a light armoured car but can't decide which one to get.

Heavy Armoured Car - Russian BA-10 (how cool is this)

Light tank - Russian BT-5 (great bit of design)

Medium Tank - Czech Tatra T-21 (Aka Hungarian Turan etc). OK I know it wasn't available but it could have been dammit.

Infantry Tank - Russian T-26 (you just have to have one of the multi-turret monstrosities of the era and the post-waggon is not as OTT as the T-35!)

Tankette - I didn't use Tankettes*, but I assumed Byzantium like many countries would still have Renault FT tanks, and these are used as mobile infantry support.

*I did however get some Renault UE Chenillette tractor-tankettes to pull the heavy weapons (AT guns etc). 

Heavy weapons Platoon has 3 squads:

 - 80mm Mortar

- Heavy machine gun - the Russian gun with wheeled trolley is a must have

- Anti tank - this is a Russian 45mm M1942 anti tank gun masquerading as a Czech type 36 47mm anti tank, I need to do a bit of bodging.

- Still to get - some anti-tank rifles for the platoons

Next Steps

This is an ordinary infantry force, I plan to also do a Light (mountain) Infantry force.

Note also these forces can easily step up a level to the Brigade level Fistful of ToWs rules


Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Baroque!

The last few months have been enjoyably spent learning Baroque! It's the Renaissance / Pike & Shotte versio of Impetus but is a bit simpler (so faster to play)  and makes for a very enjoyable large game. I was introduced to it by a fellow SLW club member who - as a lockdown project - had built 6mm 1600s era Ottomans and Poles (see pics below), and that set the ball rolling.

Turks v Poles 6mm big battle

Close up - Impetus & Baroque rules use large stands so its easy to construct a complete 6mm battalion on a 15mm scale stand

 

Now, as any fule knoes, a 1500's era Renaissance army is just a late Medieval army with some extra (even more gaudily) dressed pikemen and arquebusiers, plus some Reiters with boar-spears and Millers (fully armoured cavalry replacing lances with pistols). I had already converted my Medieval Venetian army to the high Renaissance using this evil trick (plus in 15mm you can't see whether the old school Stradiotti, Elmeti, Leggiera et al are packing pistols between their thighs, so they transform from Medieval to Renaissance without a hitch).

I also have a Medieval Ottoman army,  so for an opponent to Venice I painted up some Janissaries and Balkan bandits with arquebusses. Painting loads more later cavalry also was not necessary - I read that (i) Turkish cavalry were reluctant to let go of their lances till well into the 1600s, and (ii) all those pictures of Spahis in Turbans are largely artists' pictures - when the going got tough, the Spahis put on their helmets. Instantly all my medieval muslim heavy cavalry became Renaissance cavalry (its rude to look between a Turk's thighs to see if those bulges are pistols or not...). 

Below - The Renaissance Turk module being built to attach to my Medieval Muslim Menagerie - Janissaries and Balkan bandits, plus I painted a unit of turban wearing troopers to be easily identified as the Sultan's own Qapukulu guard. Baroque also likes generals to be easily identifiable so the subgenerrls have impressively large flags and the magnificent Sultan has a magnificent flag, base and kettle drummer


 

These "Very Late Medieval" armies are timed to be around mid 1500's AD (i.e. when crossbows are still around, the knights are still in all their plate and finery etc, and billmen still had a job) as we all wanted to field all our Medieval toys. The Baroque rules start at c 1550 AD, and Impetus stops at c 1520 AD, so it was a question of which rules to use for c 1550 Renaissance games. The only solution was to field the same armies in Impetus and Baroque to see which we liked most. First up were my Venetians vs my johnny-built- lately Ottomans.

The Serene Republic and the Sublime Porte scrapping over some Greek island. Turks on the left. Big cavalry battle (bottom of pic, close), Venetian pike moving against the Janissaries cowering in the woods (centre) and out of pic (top) the Stradiots and Akinjis fought with dash and elan to outflank each other.

 

 

Comparing the two rulesets for this "between the wargames rules" period: Impetus handles the earlier weapons much better - if you want to use all the bows, crossbows, infantry pole-arms etc and want all teh detailed differences then use Impetus, as Baroque largely downgrades and abstracts these older weapons. But if you want a faster, less detailed game and use those arquebusses (usually unloved) like a boss, use Baroque.   

A note about bases - Impetus and Baroque use big bases whereas many other rulesets use smaller stands. In 15mm scale the Impetus base is 8 cm frontage, but the Baroque one is 12 cm. That 12 cm is (I think) so players who had existing Pike and Shot armes (typically based in 4cm frontage stands) could easily play Baroque without rebasing. Stands of shot each side of their pike stands is teh standard way of and fielding a pike and shot battalion. 

But in 1550 AD the Pike units still mainly have shot directly in front of the pike, so you can field shot at 8 cm frontage and then pile the pike ranks behind to get that deeep depth. Besides, the bulk of all our 1500's Renaissance armies' troops are drawn from our later Medieval ones, built for 8cm Impetus frontage - and no one was going to to rebase them all!

For what its worth, in both test games the Turks came out the winners, in pretty hard fought encounters - mainly because the Italian plated and plumed knights and "light" cavalry (aka more knights in full plate and plumery, just on unarmoured horses) - the best mercenaries money could buy - performed appallingly badly. The Serene Republic was somewhat fretted!

The best moment, across both games was (I think it was the Baroque game version) when the Turkish Zamburak unit (light guns on camels - who needs a fantasy army!), which had been hopeless in all the games so far, was charged by fierce, rapacious, moustachioed Venetian Stradiots wielding lances, sabres and pistols (you get the picture - dashing film star heroes vs nerdy popgun peddlars) . Clearly the gunners' route to paradise happening in real time. But the gunners finally found their mettle and discharged canisters full of dice pips, blowing the Stradiots off the table - they were probably more surprised than anyone!

But you could see how Turkey loses its "edge" in the Baroque era, as (cheap) infantry with shot starts to fear non-shock bow armed cavalry far less. Also, pike + shot fromations, even this early era version with arquebus, is a step up from the medieval equivalent (you can see why the Turks started to use a lot of battlefield obstructions and artillery in their centres) 

Close up - the real business end of a Renaissance Venetian army - mercenary Pike and Shot in ludicrous clothes and codpieces. Plated & plumed knights are still noble but more marginal. The times they are a changing....


Next up, another of our club members had readied his Hungarians for some Baroque action. Post Mohacs, Hungary had sort of stagnated in this era so doesn't have the amount of firepower of other countries (aka less new stuff to paint to get their Renaissance army going) but they still have a lot of good cavalry.  They and the Ottomans squared up.....

Below: Ottomans to the left,(Janissaries on the hill, left centre). Those Hungarians may be old fashoned but they have a lot of big, nasty blades in the centre - and their shooting also proved to be annoyingly good - and did I mention a lot of good cavalry. This time, the Hungarian noble knights (a cut above the Venetian mercenary ones ) turned the game by crashing through the Turkish Spahis (see top left corner of pic - those are Hungarian knights in hot pursuit of fleeing Turks).


 

In conclusion, Baroque is a great fun as a ruleset, good for doing quite big games, but it's more aimed at the post bow-and-bill Renaissance armies

Other players are readying their French and Spanish armies for more 1500's Renaissance battles. My next project is to build a few bitz to push my Ottomans to c 1650 (hanging onto those lances and helmets...) to take on my French....



 


Saturday, 27 November 2021

Modern Chinese Marines

Another Lockdown project, but yet to see the table....Modern Chinese Naval Infantry / Marines. When I saw the blue camouflage the Chinese were using I decided I didn't care if it was for show, I neeeeded an army painted like that as all my other Cold War/Modern armies are somewhere on the dirty green / muddy brown (or both) spectrum. 


When I saw Heroics & Ros did their amphibious landing craft/troop carrier the deal was sealed. All I had to do was work out how to render it. I wound up using medium and thin nib paint-pens (from China, natch) and it worked out quite nicely. (Based for FFOT, still deciding on whether to base for beach or more inland, I think the beach sand colour sets them off very well though.)


Another bonus - the colours and model size/shape in 6mm works for 40K Epic, I'm working on the Dreadnoughts, attack bikes and Terminators next...

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

The Cthall of Cthulhu

During the various Lockdowns, like most gamers I did quite a lot of projects I otherwise wouldn't have had time to do, and this past summer some of these outfits were fielded in real games with actual opponents! 

One I built from Cthulhu Wars figures, its a boardgame using models. I loved the models when I saw them and Lockdown was the opportunity to build an outfit with them. They were built to play Kings of War ( KoW), a Fantasy wargame ruleset that's more "beers and pretzel" than Warhammer (but being simpler and faster to play means larger armies!) as well as other games that could do with Bad Monsters. 

Anyway, there is no "Cthulhu" army list in KoW but the "Forces of the Abyss" list is a relatively easy convert. My Abyss is just a lot wetter....instead of fiery Balrogs think fishy Behemoths and lots of tentacles

Here is Ole Cthulhu himself getting painted. The models are single colour plastic, I mainly used inks/washes on the base colour though I had to paint the bases (eg Cthulhu's rock here) and some other parts. I hope I have done a reasonable job with them.


And there are many various minor monsters in the Cthulhu Mythos, and a big battle game like KoW lets you go to town - here are Mi-Go (red, holding human brains in their pincers), a Hunting Horror (purple), and some dark grey Shoggoths. 

 


 And here are some Cthool Ctholourful Cthultists in production.....

 

There are Star-spawn, floating in the sky, they'd like to come and meet you, they want to eat your mind..... 


And finally, First Game against my friend's Wood Elves (likewise a Lockdown project). I added Mantic Fishmen and Games Workshop Skinks as Deep Ones (aka low grade warriors/fish dinners in the Cthulhuverse). Still thinking about how best to base the figures when they have to play as mass units but you also want individual models for other games.


....and I mentioned Big Games - Here is Cthulhu + Ogres vs. Undead  + Wood Elves - played outside. Al Fresco Gaming is so Covid.


Its good to be gaming vs real people again...

Friday, 19 February 2021

Trabazond - New Byzantium's Enclave on the Eastern Black Sea

Old Trabazonde - pearl of the Eastern Black Sea

One of my gaming friends has started an Imagi-Nation somehere in Mesopotamia, and I thought it may in some way come into contact with the New Byzantine city of Trabazond, on the Turkish coast so it may be worth thinking about its forces as it is a "special case". 

The Turkish province of Trabazond was taken from them by Rssian in WW1 (This is true). To reward Russia for going all Bolshevik, and Turkey for being on the wrong side, it was given to Byzantium after WW1. The real reason was mainly to give the French and British navies a permanent base in the Eastern Black Sea. (This is Imagi-Nation)

The presence of these great powers kept it safe from acquitive hands in the Interwar years, but oddly being taken over by Germany when they overran Byzantium at the beginning of WW2, and then by the Soviets at the end, probably kept it "safe" for Byzantium during the war. It resumed its role as a Great Power naval base after WW2, with the US and USSR now also having access. It was to be returned to Byzantium in 1955, at the same time as German occuption stopped. This probably kept it out of acquisitive hands in that period as well, as Byzantium was in no state to defend it.

After the Suez Crisis in 1956 it was clear to Byzantium that the Great Powers were now the US and USSR and the latter were far closer to home, so it was time to cosy up to the Soviets a bit more. As part of this, a large part the naval facilities at Trabazond were offered to the Soviets for 20 years, the rest would remain "multi national". This probably kept Trabazond in Byzantine hands, and made it an "interesting" city in the peak Cold War years, (but that is the subject of a series of spy novels ;)   

At any rate, New Byantium managed to extricate the Soviets in the mid 1970's but then had the very real problem of keeping it from various acquisitive hands in the region. This mainly meant stopping attacks from over the mountains, along the shore, or from the sea.

Population was in the high hundreds of thousands, about half that of the European Themes, so the Thematic forces are about half that of the other Themes. Because of this (did I mention the acquisitive neighbours) there is always a part of the full time Tagmata stationed here, and it is a major Naval base and Air Force base.

Each Theme is supposed to have a full size full time Thematic Brigade and a divional size force of reservists. 

However, Trabazond hasn't that level of population, and a lot of hidden strong points in the mountains need are manning. so a lot of the military population is required for that.  

The area is essentially full of separate mountain valleys and passes, and each needs a fully capable force to defend it. So the resrvists of all stripes are organised in independent Demi-Brigades per valley area, and deach Demi Brigade has a force with most of the support functions elements of a Brigade.

Ditto, the standing Regulars may need to be split among a number of valleys so they too are organised into 3 self supporting Demi Brigades rather than a full Brigade. There is also a higher use of helicopters here to move forces quickly.

The structure of a Demi Brigade is essentially an allocation of Brigade level support assets into companies (eg of Armour, Artillery, AA, AT, Comms Recconnaisance etc) attached to a Battalion level of troops (and this Battalion may not have the standard 3+1 companies of infantry ). 

  


Sunday, 7 February 2021

More Czechoslovakia

 


(Alt-Czechoslovakia in 15mm begins - OT 66, OT 65 and OT-810s in front OT-64s and an OT-62 in reserve)

 Well,it's been a while since I wote something here - gaming hasn't stopped but its been the more pedestrian "use a set of rules/build some models/play" nature, not really the Imagi-Nation terrain of this blog. (OK, I built a British pith-helmeted Praetorian Guard outfit for 40K Epic - you can guess how the Leman Russes were done, Mother...)

But, with the increase in popularity of Cold War gaming, modern Imagi-Nationing in 15mm is now an option. The 15mm game is at a lower level than the Brigade+ level ganes we play in 6mm, so you're really looking at snapshots of TO&Es of c reinforced platoon size. So where to start with a 15mm outfit?

The obvious answer (to me) was to start with the Recce Brigade of the Alt-History Czechoslovakian TO&E (based on the 1938 Fast Division structure - see here) as no doubt they would be in the vanguard of finding trouble.. In 1938 it comprised an:

  • Infantry Company on motorcycles 
  • Armoured Car Company – using the big 6 wheel armoured car, not the light 4 wheeler
  • Light Tank Company – using older light tanks, while they waited for re-equipping with the new one (what became the Pz38t in WW2)

In the original discussion 2 years back on translating these into Cold-War speak, the plan was essentially as follows:

  • Infantry Company using the smaller OT-66s as the APC - the original idea 2 years ago was to also have an ATGW platoon in jeeps with ATGWs but gaming experience in 6mm showed these are a bit vulnerable so an OT-65 with AT missiles replaved it.. 
  • Armoured Car Company – modifying the big 8 wheeler OT-64 SKOT to carry something with more unch than a heavy machine gun
  • Tank Company - using the older "Letak" tank design (much like a Soviet PT-76 but with a more poweful anti-armour gun)

For 15mm I got the OT-66's and OT-65 from QRF, and Team Yankee do the big SKOTs in resin. Sadly QRF stopped doing  moderns in January so the PT-76s aren't coming (you can get them 3D printed but I don't like the surface finish at this sort of scale, so the replacement light tank has become more urgent :)

(Another reason for selecting the Recce force first is the gear is more "existing gear with a few mods" rather than the huge amount of modelling / bodging all the heavy armour and special weapons will need)

But anyway, the force is assembling (see pic at top), the existing elements are shown, basecoated in the best approximation I have of the Czech Grey-Green drab. I also couldn't resist converting some SdKfz251s into older OT-810s (aka "Hitler.s Revenge") for pre-OT-55/Reserve unit gaming plus getting an OT-62 for some odd-jobbing (yes it's plug ugly, but you name it, they've tried stcking it on the old waggon. Ditto the OT-810s sported all sorts of add-ons, so ideal for an Alt-Army.)

Another decision in 15mm is infantry uniforms - in 6mm I just have green-brown and brown-green blobs on bases, but in 15mm it is necessary to paint the little buggers. Given they didn't copy the Russian uniform in reality, I assumed Alt-Czechoclovakia would have come up with much the same uniform as they did in reality. (Conveniently, given of course the common stuff will be used for a Real-Cz army!)

Friday, 2 March 2018

Czechoslovakian 1938 Fast Division in 1988 - the Reconnaisance battalion


To recap - in 1938, the Fast Division was structured with 2 Tank Battalions and 2 Motorised Infantry Battalions, plus a Recconnaissance battalions and various Artillery units covering field artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft functions. There were also plans to expand the 2 motorised Infantry battalions to a full Regiment (3 battalions) each.

Having structured the Cavalry Brigade in the 1938 Fast Division for an “Alternative History 1988” scenario (see this page for a fuller explanation), there remains the various Tank, Motorised Infantry, Reconnaisance and Artillery battalions to be done.
   
My “rules” for concerting 1938 to 1980’s forces are to use the 1938 structure as much as practicable and adjust as little as possible, to use actual Czech designed & built vehicles wherever possible, and if not available then to convert models to be future derivations of Czech equipment that was on the drawing board in the early 1950s (see my article on all this over here) before the Soviets closed it all down.

I decided to build the Reconnaissance battalion next, as it is fairly quick to build and a nice self-contained little force, good for some smaller games. In 1938 it consisted of a Motorcycle Infantry company, an Armoured Car company, and a Light Tank Company. So, how would it translate into the 1980’s? Here’s how I think it turns out:

Motorcycle Infantry

Motorcyle infantry largely died out in WW2, especially after the arrival of small 4x4 machines like the Jeep. The rise of air-power and fragmentation artillery meant a move towards light armoured transports in most European armies. Motorcycles never died out completely, but by the 1980s they are usually used in small numbers, in conjunction with more heavily armoured vehicles.
Therefore it’s likely the Czechs would have moved from motorcycles to using Jeeps and then APCs with maybe a few motorcycles and Jeeps still around. The Real World army used the OT-65 armoured car and OT-66 APC (the joint Czech-Hungarian FuG APC derivative) in these roles  so I have assumed they will replace most of the motorcycle troops with this.

In “Real” Czech service reconnaissance units used an 82mm RRL as an AT device, mounted on the armoured car turrets.  I assume that by the mid 1980’s the “Alt” Czechs have moved to a lighter ATGW

I have thus structured this unit as follows:
  • -          3 platoons of infantry plus Jeeps or (by 1980s) light APCs,  1 unit carries an ATGW
  • -          1 Motorcycle reconnaissance platoon with light ATGW


Armoured Car Company

The 1938 Armoured Car company used the big 6 wheeled OA vz. 30 Armoured Car, rather than the smaller Czechoslovakian scout cars of the time. Clearly this was intentional, so in the 1980’s I assumed the small OT-65 series of armoured cars were not what they would have intended in 1938. There was however no Czechoslovakian  heavy armoured car on the design boards from the 1950’s to adapt. So, what to replace the big 6x6 with?

However, they did have plans to put more armour and more powerful guns than the 14.5mm on the big 8x8 OT-64 APC, but the Russian stopped those developments. The OT-64, for its time, was very powerful. It had a maximum speed of 110 km/h - that was very fast in those days. It had a big frame and could easily handle bigger turrets and more armour.

Plans for heavier weapons included the T21 Recoilless Rifle, mounting a single barrel version of the 30mm vz.53/59 autocannon (used on the Ještěrka AA vehicle), and some were actually built with the 23mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 automatic cannon (normally used on early Soviet fighter jets such as the Mig-15) in the 1970s. It also could easily have handled a low pressure 90mm gun like those on the AML90 and Ratel 90, and ATGW missiles.


Ugandan SKOT with 23mm cannon

I rather liked the idea of a big-gunned OT-64 unit as well, so that was my solution, and the 30mm Czech autocannon was my shoo-in for this big Recce vehicle.  Thus was the OT-64 SKOT30 born.
The Armoured Car Company had 12 Cars, I don’t know if it was in 4 troops of 3 cars or 3 of 4, but in Fistful of TOWS scale it’s 3 models.

Light Tank  Company

Also in 1938 there was a light tank company of 4 platoons, each of 4 tanks (so 4 models in FFOT scale). I noted that these were older, lighter tanks than those equipping the Tank regiments in 1938, so I passed that structure through to 1988 – a light tank, and an older tank that the Cavalry and Tank regiments used. As discussed in my article on post war “Real world” Czechoslovakian equipment (see link above) they had designed both replacements to the Lt(Pz)38 family and an amphibious light tank, the Letak, not unlike the Soviet PT-76 in appearance and function (thought it would more likely have carried similar guns to the AMX13). These both would be old by 1988, so either would pass muster. So which to use?

In theory both the replacement Lt.38 and the Letak were to have an APC variant. The Czechoslovakians did in fact have an APC – the OT-62 – that was their main APC until the BMP. It was based on the Soviet BTR 50 which used a lot of components from the PT-76. I did think the Alt-Czechoslovakians could go the same route, i.e. the Letak light tank would spawn a Letak APC (the OT-63 of course) and they would use both in a Fast Division Armoured force for commonality of parts. (For what happens to the successors of the Lt38 read the article on the Fast Division linked above)

So after all that, in Fistful of TOW (FFOT3) terms the Czechoslovakian 1980’s Recce Battalion consists of:

·        HQ vehicle (OT-66)
  • ·        Infantry Company
o   3 Infantry Platoons, each 1 figure stand and 1 OT-66 model, 1 platoon has a Milan or similar ATGW
o   1 Motorcycle Platoon figure stand, with Milan or similar ATGW
  • ·         Armoured Car Company – 3 OT-64 SKOT30 armoured car w/30mm cannon
  • ·         Light Tank Company – 4 Letak tank models w/90mm gun


Quite a useful battalion, though  I suspect it would typically have been split into detachments to give the Armoured battalions some scouting capability in the field. It's interesting to compare this with the Polish Armoured Cavalry Regiment my club mate has done a similar exercise for.