Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Learning About Russian WWII Uniforms

Like many miniature gamers, I have been amassing a collection of Osprey books over the years. Needing information on uniforms so I can paint my 25mm WWII Russian infantry, which I began prepping this evening,I checked the three main Osprey books dealing with the subject: The Red Army of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945, World War II Soviet Armed Forces 1, and Soviet Rifleman 1941-45. The books cover the subject in great detail and eventually should find their way into your library if gaming the Eastern Front.

I also like looking at reenactor websites. They usually give a history of their real-life unit along with all sorts of detailed info and photos. The 39th Guards Rifle Division was the first Russian group I stumbled upon. It's pretty nice.

Online vendors selling replica uniforms also are a nice help. I never knew there was so much info about the classic Russian winter hat, the ushanka, until I visited The Ushanka Hat Store's website. Though I could have used one of those hats the last few nights here in Central Florida (we've been going down into the 20's at night!), I passed on hitting the 'buy' buttons. I just wanted the photos. Their blog also is a wealth of info about uniform hats. (They sell more than just ushankas!)

My best find online is a free 115 page PDF Russian uniform guide the video game designer Dennis Schwarz wrote for a WWII game. The guide is like a simplified Osprey with history, lots of detailed photos from buttons to tunics (I noticed some are from Trident Military supply), and info about how to replicate proper Russian uniforms in the game, info that can help miniature gamers as well. Every piece of kit. A big help! His weapon loadout PDF is also interesting in a more esoteric way. Check them out at his website here.

Here is his intro for the PDF: "This guide generally divides Russian troops into various time-dependent model sets. There are five sets total: Winter War units ('39-'40), early war soldiers ('41-'43), early war reservists ('41-'43), mid war soldiers ('43-'45) and mid war reservists ('43-'45). The difference between soldiers and reservists basically devides troops in front-line troops, issued the best equipment available and second-line troops, which were issued a lot of surplus wargear. Each of these sets of course requires proper summer, winter and to some extend - camouflaged models."

So that wraps it up for today. Just a quick look at how to find some historical info on Russian WWII uniforms. I'll pass on more info in an organize manner as I find it. Until next time, break out the ushankas and stay warm!

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