Welcome / Bienvenu

This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

I hope this blog offers you much enjoyment and some inspiration !

mercredi 22 août 2012

Russian (1904-1917)

This army was primarily painted to oppose my Japanese in the 1904-1905 war.  However, as all units (except the Cossacks) wear khaki, they can be used up until the end of WWI, if one turns a blind eye to the dark green trousers which were phased out before that war.


The Russian army in Manchuria was mostly made up of Siberian Rifles and Siberian Militia, all of whom varied greatly in quality. Siberian Divisions were ad-hoc and thus lacking in structure. As the war went on, better quality reinforcements arrived from the West.  The Russians also get to play Cossacks whom, in this period, are considered irregular mounted infantry, dismounting as required.

Some units began the war in their old white summer uniforms. Camouflage was provided by dying them, or simply by no longer washing them, until the mud rendered them a most unmilitary brown...

Khaki uniforms were, however, available for many Siberian units from the outbreak of hostilities. Unfortunately, "uniform" is not quite the right word. The Russian High Command did not centralise the production of military clothing, but distributed the necessary cloth and funds to each regiment. The Siberian quartermasters turned to Chinese dyers to produce the khaki uniform. The result varied from pink, running through a garish yellow, up to a sickly green. To make matters worse, Russian logistics were in a poor state. Boots were in short supply, and uniforms rarely replaced as they wore out.

The Russian Generals responded to this by relaxing the usually strict dress reglementations, and allowing their troops to clothe themselves locally. Dyed wide Chinese trousers, and Chinese shoes, were frequently worn. To get an idea of the result, take a look at Osprey's "Russo-Japanese War" book (MAA414). The cover illustration shows, on the left, a typical Siberian Rifleman.
Manchurian winters were very harsh, and the Russian army once again ill-prepared and ill-equipped. I have painted up many of my troops with the greyish-khaki standard issue greatcoat, and the classic Manchurian fur hat.
You might think this would prevent them fighting in summer, but oh no. Uniform shortages were such that some Russian regiments had to fight, in 35 degree heat, in their greatcoats...

For information, my figures are a mix of "Old Glory", and "Irregular Miniatures" Siberians.

Note the blue-coloured greatcoat worn by the officer.  Habits quickly changed as the Japanese proved to be excellent marksmen.

Curiously, apart from the horse-drawn Tcheka, I was unable to find any Russian MGs, so I used British infantry instead.  Uniform differences are minimal for this handful of stands.  The Russians preferred of course the Maxim, but did not scorn MGs produced by other nations.



General Staff
The officer on the right gives an idea of what the old summer uniform looked like.

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