Going through my boxes of figures I realized something. While I may have a difficult time finishing projects, there is one project that I actually have finished – my ww2 Soviets. In fact, I have done many more figures than I ever planned. I counted them and apparently somewhere along the way I have managed to paint a whole company’s worth of red army soldiers. 9 squads of 10 men with officers and supports options: snipers, light mortars and Maxim guns were often integral parts of the rifle platoon. AT rifles were issued either at platoon or battalion level at various stages of the war. In real life, there would be an additional number of officers, medical personnel, etc., but I see no reason to represent all of these in a game. Using the army lists in the CoC rulebooks, I would have enough for two platoons of riflemen and one platoon of tank riders (SMGs), with a few figures to spare. The company HQ wouldnt be represented at all, although there is the option of adding a commissar.
I have a few spare minis that arent in the picture, but most of these wear fur caps and really look better in a winter themed force. I also have one more 50mm mortar team, which could be included too (in -43 each company included a mortar platoon with an NCO and two mortar squads, on paper). Spare figures could also be used as extra men to accompany the platoon commanders, representing sergeants and the like (in Bolt Action this is quite useful). Obviously, there are artillery, tanks and other vehicles to go with these as well, but painting the figures is the bit that takes time. And I could always do the tanks in a post of their own!
The organizational structure of Soviet rifle and motorized rifle companies changed an inordinate number of times during the war. More importantly, paper strengths were of course seldom reached in practice. Originally, each platoon had four squads, but the fourth was, as I understand it, often dropped and after 42 this was reflected on paper as well. I dont have enough figures for 12 squads unless they are understrength, but with the extra figures I have I could probably just about manage 9×11 men (squads originally consisted of 11 men, but this also changed).
But how likely am I to actually field all these units in a game? Its a nice idea, but could make for a sluggish game. In Bolt Action terms, this lot would make about 20 units. For better gameplay you would probably want to drop some units, skipping snipers, mortars and MMGs perhaps, to get down to a more manageable number. A reduced company, as they were fielded in -43 after huge losses would often have looked just like that. Three platoons with a company commander but not support would be 13 units. Dropping the platoon commanders would make just 10 units; 9 squads led by the company commander. That seems like a more realistic army composition, while still fielding almost 100 figures.
The mix of SMGs and rifles could vary historically. With the figures I have, I could either do one platoon out of three fully equipped with SMGs. Alternatively, I might spread them out over the whole company (both seemed to have happened historically). Often there would have been some squads with two lmgs; unfortunately I only have enough for one for each squad.
The question is: why did I manage to finish these, as I cant seem to do the same with my other projects? I think the reason is that the Soviets wear simple uniforms that are easier than most other figures to paint. But they are also fun to do, with a lot of character. This is true of all of the figures; they are a mix of old Warlord Games metals and newer WG plastics, including the WG Siberian Veterans box, and Artizan. Because I knew that the Soviets were the kind of army where you need lots of infantry, I also deliberately chose a simple paint scheme, with less highlighting than I sometimes do. This worked well enough and made speed painting easy.