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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Soviet Naval Infantry

Soviet Naval Infantry made up a small, but significant portion of the Soviet military force during World War Two, contributing troops to some of the hardest fought battles of the war.  Famed for their ferocious fighting and heroic sacrifices, Soviet Naval Infantry were some the best troops fielded by the Russians on the Eastern Front.

taken from wikipedia

During World War II about 350,000 Red Navy sailors fought on land. At the beginning of the war, the navy had only one brigade of marines in the Baltic fleet, but began forming and training other battalions. These eventually were;
  1. six naval infantry regiments, comprising two battalions, each with 650 personnel 40 naval infantry brigades of 5-10 battalions, formed from surplus ships' crews. 
  2. Five brigades were awardedGvardy (Guards) status. 
  3. numerous smaller units.
The military situation demanded the deployment of large numbers of marines on land fronts, so the Naval Infantry contributed to the defense of Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Sevastopol, Stalingrad, Novorossiisk, Kerch.

The Naval Infantry conducted over 114 landings, most of which were carried out by platoons and companies. In general, however, Naval Infantry served as regular infantry, without any amphibious training.

They conducted four major operations: two during the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, one during the Caucasus Campaign and one as part of the Landing at Moonsund, in the Baltic.

During the war, five brigades and two battalions of naval infantry were awarded Guards status. Nine brigades and six battalions were awarded decorations, and many were given honorary titles. The title Hero of the Soviet Union was bestowed on 122 members of naval infantry units.

The Soviet experience in amphibious warfare in World War II contributed to the development of Soviet operational art in combined arms operations. Many elements in the Naval Infantry were parachute trained and the SNI conducted more drops and successful parachute operations than the VDV.

The Naval Infantry was disbanded in 1947, with some units being transferred to the Coastal Defence Force.


Painting Soviet Naval Infantry is fun, offering a unique challenge that breaks the doldrum of painting Russians in khaki uniforms.   For my Soviet Naval Infantry I used a Russian website with lots of great examples as a guide.

The entire site is in Russian and I had to use google translator to figure a few things out.  Additionally, I didn't want to have all my troops look exactly the same so I mixed in some white pants and tunics.  I primed my figures with black and used the above uniforms as a template to paint the figures.  This cut down on painting time.  

The website has more than just Soviet Naval Uniforms, and I recommend checking out their other pages for any of your soviet projects.


I purchased Warlords Soviet Naval Infantry Squad and Command pack from my FLGS.  The figures are 28mm metal figures.  The Squad pack came with nine figures, four rifles, three SMGs, one NCO with SMG, and an LMG gunner, and the command pack came with four figures, one officer with SMG, a SMG, a rifleman, and a Anti Tank Rifle.   Bases were not included and had to be purchased separately.  It cost me a little over $30 for the 13 figures.

The figures are absolutely gorgeous, and required less than ten minutes of clean up and assembly (most of the assembly was gluing men to their bases).  Only one figure had mold lines, but they weren't that bad.  The figures are detailed, but balanced enough to making painting details like buttons easy.

I was bummed that I had a few repeat figures and did not get the NCO with the padded winter coat.    I also wish I got more riflemen, as most the figures ended up armed with SMGs.  I plan on fixing this by buying regular soviet riflemen with helmets and painting them as Naval Troops.

I give these figures a 8 out of 10 soviet naval bears.  

If you have painted Soviet Naval Troops in the past or wish to discuss this article please join the conversation on the WWPD Forum.

“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles at”

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