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"Kronstadt Sailors Links and Shock Troops in Adrian Helmets" Topic


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World War One

2,034 hits since 16 Jul 2009
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Das Konig16 Jul 2009 1:03 p.m. PST

After some consideration I've recently decided to embark on a RCW project in 28mm. My first purchases are a pack each of the Copplestone Russian Sailors and Russian Sailors Command and I'm looking forward to painting them up on arrival (more on which in a moment). I've yet to decide on a ruleset, so any suggestions in that direction would be much appreciated. Given the scale I'm working with something small-action based, fun, but with a degree of historical 'accuracy' would fit the bill. For general background I've read Lincoln's excellent Red Victory (actually I'm re-reading it now!), Davies' White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War, 1919-20 (hey, somebody really ought to do a dedicated range of Poles for the Polish-Soviet war), Babel's Red Cavalry and Other Stories and, of course, the two Osprey uniform guides.

Anyway, regarding my sailors in a bid for more uniform accuracy I Googled 'Kronstadt sailors' and found this link , an excellent links/resource page which I though might perhaps interest some of you. I especially found the defaced image about 1/5 down the page showing the sailors wearing their white (summer?) formenky interesting. Acting on this information my own sailors will be a motley lot with a mix of black bushlats, navy and white formenky and a mixture of navy, white and Russian WW1 khaki kecks. Any ideas for banners would be a help. Are there any companies that produce them commercially?

Also, attempting to keep it as exotic as possible, I've been eying up the Shock Troops in Brigade Games Storm in the East range as a possible next acquisition, but have been puzzled by their wearing Adrian helmets. I know that both sides though obviously the Whites specifically had access to vast amounts of allied equipment, but have found no reference to specific units of 'Shock Troops' equipped in such a manner. More Googling and I found this: link . Okay I'll admit that $4,500 is rather out of my price range, but the accompanying history proved fascinating; I was never even remotely aware that a 20,000-strong Russian Expeditionary Force served on the Western front and am certainly going to get myself a copy of With Snow on Their Boots: The Tragic Odyssey of the Russian Expeditionary Force in France During World War I. Anyway, until I get my hands on a copy could somebody please enlighten me as to the likely orientation (id est, white or red) of these 'Shock Troops' who I presume have returned from the Western Front (they were apparently repatriated in 1920)? Cheers.

BrianW16 Jul 2009 2:16 p.m. PST

DK,
I have a copy of With Snow on Their Boots that I'm thinking of selling. Contact me at:
brianATweathersbysystemsDOTcom
BWW
PS: I also have some other RCW stuff too.

Mark Plant16 Jul 2009 2:30 p.m. PST

Your first link doesn't work. I would like to follow it.

Your proposed mix for the sailors sounds good. Later in the war the amount of naval stuff would be less, although it would be near 100% for Kronstadt, I suppose. Remember to remove all rank markings, especially shoulder boards.

People do make suitable 28mm figures for Poles. The formal uniform was barely worn: instead you have to use Germans, French, Austrians, Russians or English. A few officer figures in the official uniform would be good though, since officers went into it first.

The "Shock Troops" were prior to the Civil War. They were formed as the front started to disintegrate, from troops still prepared to fight. As such, they got the best kit, such as Adrians. They fought on, while most units started to collapse.

When the Bolsheviks took over in Russia, the sorts of people who formed the Shock Troops tended to go White almost 100%. They had, after all, fought the chaos and supported the old ways.

The most famous shock regiment, the Kornilovs, reformed as a regiment in the White Army down south. But without all the kit, which they had to leave behind in order to reach the south. While the original core of the White Kornilovs was the old shock regiment, it quickly outgrew them.

The Whites in Siberia also tended to call any supposedly good regiment "shock", but that was just a name.

Most RCW troops did not wear helmets, but you do see the odd Adrian appear.

There was a Russian Expeditionary Force in Greece too. And Romania (this formed the core of the White Drozdovsky Regiment).

There is a wargames book on the Kornilovs, by my friend Tom Hillman. I think On Military Matters might stock it.

Das Konig17 Jul 2009 3:28 a.m. PST

Apologies about the broken first link. Here it is again: link

Thanks BrianW, I'll be in touch shortly regarding the book and your other 'RCW stuff'.

Mark; a lot of very helpful information there! I would be interested to know where you got the information regarding the WW1 'Shock Troop' formations (Osprey's The Russian Army 1914-18, right?). I should probably read up more on the pre-Revolution Imperial Army really! Have you read Cornish's more substantial The Russian Army and the First World War? I think I'm probably going to plump for that…

So, in conclusion, a unit of Brigade Games Shock Troops wouldn't look out of place amongst the Whites in a RCW game?

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2009 9:41 a.m. PST

Herr Konig,

I just painted up the Copplestone sailors and command and MG. Here are a few points to consider:

1. They are clearly wearing naval uniforms. Most of them are wearing the dark blue pull-over with the big flap at the back of the neck. There's no way you can pass these off as army-issue unless you are going to do a lot of modification. The others are in the double-breasted naval jacket, which also fails to look like anything the army wore. So you may be stuck, unless you are more creative than I. There is a guy in the Brigade Games sailor command pack who is wearing an army officer's jacket (with the flap from the pull-over sticking out the back), but that's about it.

2. The command pack contains a very nasty surprise – a sailor without the pull-over or jacket. Meaning he's in the traditional Russian navy shirt – white with horizontal blue stripes. A serious pain to paint. Now that I think of it, this guy might be ripe for conversion to an army shirt – wish I'd thought of it before I drove myself crazy painting the swine.

3. No company makes RCW banners, but there are some very good amateur ones available on the web:

krigsspil.dk
(go to 'downloads', then 'RCW)

link

link
(not ready-to-mount gaming flags, but the images could certainly be easily manipulated to make some)

Specific naval flags are hard to come by. The 'Vexillia' site has some excellent ones, but you'd have to make your own flags from them. The first site listed (the Danish one) has two flags in their 'flags for red armies' (numbesr 10 and 11) for the Centrobalt, which was the coordinating committee (Soviet) for all naval units in the Baltic during the Kerensky government. Not strictly correct for Reds, but obviously naval (the crossed anchors are a good clue). One is all red, the other is the naval jack with some other stuff added. I use the red one for when my sailors are Bolsheviks, the other for when they are on the white side.

I don't think the Brigade Games Shock troops would be too out-of-place in the RCW. The shock units formed in 1917 had the Adrian, I doubt all those just disappeared from Russia after the war. Although British helmets were more common.

Hope at least some of this is helpful.


There are only

Altius17 Jul 2009 11:38 a.m. PST

I painted up a unit of the Copplestone sailors too. I simply painted the sailors' shirts and jackets in the standard naval winter colors. The pants, however, were painted in a mix of black, white, and army khaki to give the unit a somewhat motley look.

On thing you might try, if you want to give them even more diversity, would be to do head swaps with some of their army comrades.

Mike O17 Jul 2009 11:54 a.m. PST

Found this photo of of RCW sailors with a flag carrying the slogan "Death to the Bourgeoisie":

picture

The photo appears on several sites which variously associate it with either Red or anarchist sailors in either Helsinki 1917 or Kronstadt 1921:

link
link
link

Not sure if the flag is red or black but it does have a distinctly anarchist look to it, being similar to one attributed to a Makhnovist infantry unit. The sailors of Kronstadt were said to be amongst the most ardent supporters of the revolution but were accused by the Bolsheviks of being "infected" by anarchism at the time of the Kronstadt uprising.

Mark Plant17 Jul 2009 4:08 p.m. PST

You don't need to convert Copplestone's sailors to get the mixed look, you can just mix in some soldiers. Putty a few to give naval trousers, and a few head swaps and you're there.

I don't think the Brigade Games Shock troops would be too out-of-place in the RCW. The shock units formed in 1917 had the Adrian, I doubt all those just disappeared from Russia after the war. Although British helmets were more common.

I agree that some Shock troops would be fine in a RCW unit. I would hesitate to have a unit of them entirely, except as the elite "officer" unit of an already elite unit though. They just look too regular.

But I don't think the helmets will be carry-overs from WWI. The Whites all had to cross Red territory when they formed, so left all their kit behind. Trying to sneak across Soviet territory carrying a helmet would be pretty stupid. The Reds basically got all the surplus WWI stuff.

More importantly, helmets weren't worn in the RCW because they were more hindrance than help. It's not that they didn't have them, but they didn't wear them even when they did. No amount of the Brits shipping them to the Whites would persuade the troops to wear them. Lots of RCW troops wore British kit, but the Russians kept their knee boots as long as they could, and used the caps almost exclusively.

Helmets were invented for troops under constant artillery fire in trenches. Since the RCW was largely devoid of this, the helmet was just a huge weight on a man's head, keeping him too hot in summer and too cold in winter, for virtually no protective benefit. So they discarded them.

I don't recall ever seeing an RCW unit solely in helmet. Maybe a few Polish ones managed it.

Travellera18 Jul 2009 8:12 a.m. PST

Great links! Thanks!

sergeis19 Jul 2009 5:44 a.m. PST

You can possibly give your sailors an anarchist banner. You have to remember that "Reds" at some point were a conglomeration of all sorts of political parties members. Quite a few former Imperial sailors were anarchists- Matross Zheleznyak comes to mind.At some point desperate Reds used formations of Odessa thieves in the South under infamous Mishka Yaponchik ( Head of Odessa criminals)- although their combat worthiness was marginal at best. Anarchists banners were quite interesting- being usually black, with skull and crossbones and slogans like Anarchy is Mother of Law- Anarkhiya Mat' Poryadka. I actually held one like that in my hands while ago. I have to look into Adriana helmets use- but I am not aware of any unit using them at this time.

sergeis19 Jul 2009 6:43 a.m. PST

Upon quick search I was able to find out on Adriana helmets:
Russian army was supplied with them in the end of 1916. Most of the helmets went to shock troops, newly revived grenadiers. There is a pic of Russian stormtroopers wearing Adrianas and gas masks, holding grenades in a trench- before assault? Although pic might have been staged- troops look remarkably clean. Kornilov shock regiment was entirely equipped with Adrianas during Provisional goverment- there is a famous pic of Kornilov Color troop under prince Ukhtomskiy- all in Adrianas- June 1917 (?) After the October revolution the character on the war largely negated the use of Helmets due to lack of trench warfare and constant shortages in gun ammo. Adrianas became more of a hindrance then help. That said- some claim that they were used sporadically since there was an ample supply of Adrianas from 3 major warehouses- Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Moscow. In cases of use by Whites the Eagle was removed and a cockade attached, Reds put an over sized red star- often just painted on the helmet. Adrianas were used in Red army after the RCW- but largely for the parades only. Small amount was produced at factory in Leningrad, but it was deemed that Adriana is an inferior helmet and Soviets went on developing their own versions.
helmets.ru
armyrus.ru

Das Konig19 Jul 2009 11:26 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comments and information. Very helpful indeed! Mark and Sergeis; your info on the Adrians is much appreciated.

Mserafin: The only thing I'd paint khaki is some of the trousers, just to give the unit a more irregular look. Yeah, the guy wearing the telniashka from the command pack is going to be a Bleeped text to paint, but I'm going to have a go! I might start a blog detailing my RCW project, in which case I'll post a link here…

sergeis19 Jul 2009 12:37 p.m. PST

While using Russian websites one can always rightclick on Yahoo link and get a decent Babelfish translation in seconds.

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