Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Kursk: Part One - Choosing up the sides

 July 1943. A meticulously planned battle, like Kursk, is quite unusual. It was not like D-Day a well planned battle with one side knowing the battlefield and the other not; neither was it like Stalingrad where both sides stumbled into the titanic clash. Both STAVKA and OKH knew that it was going to happen, where and, in large part, who would be involved. The inevitability took the sting out of the 'when' question too so, as Hitler's gut churned as he waited for Guderian's armoured reforms and his arsenals re-equipping of vehicles from the drawing board, the Russians packed the salient and practiced Maskirovka for all they were worth....This is the story of the northern pincer, Models 9th Army, but more specifically the action leading through the outer defenses and against the Central Russian Ridge to the Olkhovatka hills and a town astride the Orel/Kursk railway line called Ponyri.
 The 375,000 Studebaker trucks lend-lease products of the US factories were beginning to make their presence felt and the factories of Russia, that had begun their relocation to the Urals on the signing of the movement order on 23rd June 1941, were getting into their massive stride...
The Russians learn quickly. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the Germans were to get flattered to bits. The Pak-front was adopted with gusto by the Russians...
 ...and although there was plenty of lend-lease armour (amounting to 10% of Russia's giant needs) the latest generation of T34 was by a long way the most numerous of tanks to see action
 Known to be at a disadvantage as far as Russian intelligence sources were concerned, the T34's were dug in to present smaller targets and protection...well d'uh.
 A lot of kit was going head first into the ground
 As you can see no expense was spent...cardboard and matchsticks, but somewhere safe for the regimental mortars
 One of the regimental HQ's. The Political Commissar has the Papasha behind the Comrade Colonel in case he doesn't find the CO's orders conforming to party principals
It may not look much but the Russian defence has more surprises than a Parliamentary expenses sheet...and they can hear engines...lots of them.

Next: Hello Huns, keep your panzers on 

14 comments:

  1. Everything looks great: very nice setting, fine vehicles and troops!!!!

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    1. Ta. You get this far into a project and hope you've not forgotten anything crucial.

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  2. This is starting to look like it will be great. Can't wait for the action to start.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  3. Beautiful and atmospheric pictures, love the second one...and the trenches...

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    1. Cheers Phil. I like trenches for the 2WW stuff it lends some authenticity to the game.

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  4. Very excited to see you doing Kursk! Cue funny .GIF of chap eating popcorn.
    The trenches look fantastic.

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    1. Good to hear from you Padre. Cue sound effects. Dice rolling for the clatter of tracks and groans/cheers for the passing of shells.

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    2. I just caught up on the rest of your Kursk posts. Super excited! You chaps in Ayrshire are an industrious lot.

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    3. Here in the birthplace of the, so called, Protestant work ethic we can be really slothful, lazy and indolent....but we have our moments

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  5. I am on the edge of my seat! More please and soon!

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  6. Looking good. The trenches really show the advantages of the sand table.

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    1. Ta Alan. To me 20th Century wargames don't look right without trenches, anti-tank ditches and foxholes. For all the reliance on the truck, tank and aircraft they couldn't get away from the fact that for many going head first into the ground was their only chance to negate the fire power they faced. Mobile comes to a stop somewhere, then you dig in.

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