Chris Kemp's Not Quite Mechanised

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Orders of Battle - Eastern Front

Axis  

Infantry Division
Panzer Division
No picture Corps Headquarters and Supporting Troops
No picture Army Headquarters and Supporting Troops
No picture Luftwaffe
Italian  Infantry Division
Italian  Mobile Division
No Picture Italian  Mountain Division
No picture yet Hungarian Division
Rumanian Division

 

Organising the Toys

With all these Models floating about, you need some sort of strategy for keeping them organized and undamaged. Tim Gow puts me to shame, with neatly labelled boxes and figures with colour coded bases. I salute him.

My own strategy is somewhat more Russian in approach. I have plywood boxes made up to store my figures (you can see one by Ben's elbow in the boxes link). They have a Nationality flag and a space to chalk information on the front. Then as units change through the campaign, I change the information on the front of the box. Stragglers who end up in the wrong box either miss battles, or fight in other units. This way I have been able to cope with the bewildering changes in Soviet TOEs.

Another strategy adopted by Graham Evans, is to store similar types of troops together. This works well when you have limited figures and are prepared to build units to order for each battle. Tim reckons though, that the reason he started operational level wargaming was to find a use for the huge quantities of toys that he owns. 

Do not be put off, or think that this game can only be played using masses of toys. It works well with smaller numbers of troops too, and lends itself well to using cheap toys or card mock-up models to fill in the gaps in your army's inventory.

Ersatztruppen

Making do is a time-honoured wargames tradition. At one time, in 1985, I was short of BA32 armoured cars. My first quick fix was a matchbox toy fire tender with a Grant 37mm turret on it. I then progressed to a Morris Armoured car hull casting with a T34 turret. Recently, I have acquired a 15mm model. It doesn't fight as well on the table as the fire tender did, but my friends are happier!

20mm Bodges and 15mm BA32. Author's collection

From Seriously Suspicious, Decidedly Dodgy to "Oh, it's a BA32" (L to R)

 

For the ultimate in happy-go-lucky toy soldiering, have a look at The Army Men Homepage to see how far down this route you can go. I am happy to be counted amongst those who realise that playing with toy soldiers is A) not a serious hobby, and B) a perfectly suitable way for grown-ups to spend their free time.

Politics

No-one who wargames in a period should be blind to the politics of the age. Peoples' political views are, quite rightly, of importance to them. These views are often passionately held and overwhelmingly expressed. For that reason, they should not interfere with a hobby that brings people together socially.

For the same reason you will see little or no mention of the Waffen SS on this website. A disproportionate amount of text has been generated over the years on this subject and I do not propose to add to it. It is my opinion that obsessing about the SS obscures the bigger military picture of what happened on the Eastern Front.