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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Battlefront Soviet Navy Infantry Review

This is a guest post by Anatoli- make sure to check him out at Anatoli's Game Room!

Another unexpected source for "Polish" miniatures is the Soviet Navy range that Battlefront manufactures. First a bit of background information, the Poles did not intend for their navy personnel to fight on land, as such there are no orders of battle for a navy battalion or anything like that in my September Campaign book.

However, Polish navy personnel were drafted and integrated with the land forces to defend the port city  of Gdynia and the Oksywie Heights in the battles that followed. They also took part in supporting the regular army defending the Hel peninsula.

The information surrounding the navy personnel is that they were roughly a "couple of infantry battalions" sized formation in the battles around Gdynia - and most likely organized as the infantry. They had no support weapons or anything like that, they were simply added as regular infantry to provide aid to the army. I have decided that based on their combat record they could be treated as either  regular infantry (Fearless/Trained) or Border Protection Corps (Confident/Trained) depending on battlefield. The organization should remain the same, this is just a way to spice things up with a rather unique and obscure unit. I've also read that navy personnel served on the so called river flotilla so you could potentially use the models and the unit to support battles inland and not only the coastal region.

So the reason I went with Battlefront for the choice of miniatures was the ratio of riflemen you get in the blister. No other manufacturer had that many riflemen per platoon pack, and since the Poles were armed with Rifles/BAR I had no use of PPSH armed sailors. You can use a knife to trip off the round magazine of the soviet LMG to make it look more like a BAR (save for the lack of magazine), it's not really that important in Flames of War where the infantry is classed as "Rifle teams" anyway.

The sculpting of the miniatures is very nice; I would say among the better stuff that Battlefront has to offer, certainly better than their Early War Poles. And the unit variety is excellent with a lot of poses.

2 blisters of Soviet Navy infantry were enough to give me the 12 bases of 4 riflemen/LMG gunners each and a command base. I traded the roughly 12 miniatures with SMG/flags/obvious soviet command that you get with each blister with my friend David as I had no use for them myself.

So if you are looking to add another rare unit to your Polish Early War army (adding Navy to the ranks of Border Protection Corps and Mountain infantry) this is a cool option and the models are very good for that very purpose. And going by the sculpts and the rifle ratio per blister Battlefront is an unbeatable  source.

In case you are wondering about uniform color, the navy had dark blue uniforms, with white trim detail on the sailors, officers had yellow rank markings on their sleeves, the sailors had white topped navy hats. In combat some of the officers were equipped with standard issue Polish infantry helmets that had the same color as the land army. You can check out some re-enactors dressed in Navy uniforms in this documentary about the battles around Gdynia, fast forward to 27.39

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