Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tapping into Tyranny

The impending release of Kampfegruppe Kursk has sent me into one of my periodic bouts of window shopping.

For whatever reason, I have a strong desire to paint some 1/300th miniatures. Kursk happens to be one of the periods of WWII that interests me, and apparently the rules set can be played with 1/300th scale miniatures. The last claim I find slightly suspect, as looking at the sample pages that have been posted on line I notice that there is quite a bit of micromanagement in the set up of units.

Still it has been rather pleasurable searching various websites and seeing what is available for 6mm WWII, 6mm moderns and 20mm Vietnam.

When the window shopping subsided, I went to the marevellous Combined Arms Research Library to do some research.

One of the books that caught my interest was 'Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in Russia', written in 1953. And particularly this section on the qualities of the Russian soldier.

"a. Character. The Slav psyche especially where it is under more or less pronounced Asiatic influences covers a wide range in which fanatic conviction, extreme bravery, and cruelty bordering on bestiality are coupled with childlike kindliness and susceptibility to sudden fear and terror. His fatalistic attitude enables the Russian to bear extreme hardship and privation. He can suffer without succumbing.
Attimes the Russian soldier displayed so much physical and moral fortitude that he had to be considered a first-rate fighter. On the other hand, he was by no means immune to the terrors of a battle of attrition with its combination of massed fire, bombs, and flame throwers. Whenever he was unprepared for their impact, these weapons of destruction had a long-lasting effect. In some instances, when he was dealt a severe, well-timed blow, a mass reaction of fear and terror would throw him and his comrades completely off balance.
b. Kinship With Nature. The Russian soldier's kinship with nature was particularly pronounced. As a child of nature the Russian instinctively knew how to take advantage of every opportunity nature offered. He was inured to cold, hot, and wet weather. With animal-like instinct he was able to find cover and adapt himself to any terrain. Darkness, fog, and snowdrifts were no handicap to him. Even under enemy fire he skillfully dug a foxhole and disappeared underground without any visible effort.

It would appear the intelligence for this training manual was obtained by reference to interviews with German troops.

It doesn't show ;)


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