Monday, 11 April 2016

Stalingrad - Part Seven: Reinforcement

Here they come! Screaming down out of an overcast neon sun battering away at the Russian attempt to reinforce the city. In the film 'Enemy at the Gate' (actually only 8 pages out of the excellent 1970's book of the battle) only every second man was armed...
These guy's are better armed that some. Early in the war newly raised russian units had little in the way of small arms to begin with and often the ratio was one rifle to five men...
 ...they would be pumped up with rhetoric and vodka and thrown into action. When the German MG's overheated the armed element took up the fight while the enemy were changing out their barrels...
 ...the Russians have an almost mystical love of their homeland (whichever bunch of ogre's are in charge) and it certainly manifested itself in some incredible bravery and massive sacrifice
 Yes, many were pushed, threatened and cajoled into the mincer but many, many more went willingly despite the seeming inevitability of an horrific end.
 4 of every 5 Germans killed in the 2nd World War were killed on the Russian front
...getting over the Volga was just the first hurdle. Now you had to win or die.

Kit is from all over. Stuka's by Airfix. Figures Revell, Italeri, Airfix, Pegasus and PSC. Barges, row and assault boats, pier and steamer by Any Scale Models. Camera by Panasonic. Drivel by me.

13 comments:

  1. Drivel? Nope!

    You are the master for this sort of stuff mate.

    Excellent.

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  2. Thanks a lot Paul for a very generous comment, much appreciated.

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  3. Really great work. Brings to mind the film (due another rewatch I think). I'm very taken with all the boats too.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Thanks Pete. I went to visit my mum and took the film with me. She said she'd never seen anything like it and she had lived through the war.

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  4. I've never seen Stalingrad played like that - excellent.

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    1. Thanks Sun. I've wanted to do a scene like that ever since I watched 'The World at War' series back in the early 1970's. Thanks for the kind comment.

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    2. That was a seminal series for me too. I recall in 1974 I had to go to hospital to have my wisdom teeth removed. I was distressed as I would miss World at War. Mum and dad went to the trouble to hire a TV for me. I remember desperately fighting against the drugs to stay awake and watch the episode. I failed. It was the breakout from Normandy. The only other episode I missed was the one on concentration camps which was either not screened or put on really late to "protect gentle viewers".

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  5. Dear SRD: Sorry to tell you but the story of the russian conscripts waiting to pick the the rifle of the dead is a nonsense. Even reading russian WW2 texts after the communist regime you can't find no evidence of that. The red army had all along WW2 some 35 million men but it's industry produced more than 50 million rifles and SMG. Even with Stalin deserving to be in the lead of any soviet attack (Finland would be a good place for him)no such orders were given in spite of many frontal and costful attacks. Your wargame table is far better than the movie, believe me.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up, Joao. I got my info from the volumes of Purnells History of the Second World War. It was also published in the seventies and may be based on faulty information though it does go into eye witness accounts from the German point of view.
      On 23 June 1941 Stalin enacted the decision that would eventually save Russia, to move over 2000 plants and factories east. Production dropped to a fraction of what it had been and stayed like that for over six months. This caused the First supply protocol from the West (one of four protocols) for emergency aid. Heavy goods (tanks and aircraft) and foodstuffs went first, no mention of small arms, so either they had enough, as you suggest, or went without due to priorities. In any case it's good to hear from you!

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  6. A part of Stalingrad not usually seen on the wargames table. You've got across some of the atmosphere very well. I particularly like the final photo.
    Chris

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    1. Thanks Chris. If only I could replicate the Young Pioneers statue featured in some of the historic photos, that would be atmospheric!

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  7. such a well done game, awesome

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