Saturday, 16 November 2013

Polish MSH 6th Airborne list -

Richard (see his blog: Red Storm, also linked to on the right) has been badgering me for a while (in the nicest way, I should add!) to get some Polish army lists done similarly for what I've done for the Czechoslovakians.

Since I had a reasonably slack week this week (i.e. I wasn't snowed under at work...), I thought I should humour him, and get something concrete done.  Of course this has meant my terrain borads are coming along a bit more slowly, but they haven't stopped completely, as I can work on lists while I am allowing glue to set, etc.

Anyway, I made a start with what I would call a sub-list: that for the Polish 6th Airborne "Division".  You can get a pdf of the list here (standard MSH format; two pages including the notes), covering the period 1967 to 1989.  The 6th Pomeranian Airborne Division was a division in name only (mostly to to help secure better funding!); it was in reality just a Brigade in size, and was so-named officially from 1986.

Image nicked from

The unit had a number of privileges denied lesser mortals, such as being able to walk around with their sleeves rolled up (!), the most familiar of which to the public at large was their maroon beret.  Its military efficiency seems to have declined somewhat around the time of the Solidarity upheavals, when it was forced to spend too much time parading and not enough time parachuting.

There is a major reorganization in 1976, which saw a shift in emphasis from operating as a complete brigade to providing battalion-level forces that might be used in conjunction with other units.  Accordingly, the ASU-85 battalion was abolished, while the parachute battalions were beefed up with more support platoons.  Unlike the Soviet Airborne troops, the Polish ones were never provided with BMDs, and remained light infantry.  However, unlike the (much less numerous) Czechoslovakian Airborne troops, they had  a decent amount of anti-tank weapons, so would not have been completely helpless in the face of light enemy armour.
Image from Kerim44 under CCA 3.0 licence.
The equipment is fairly standard; the only original piece of gear is the WP-8z, an 8-barrel 140 mm MRL towed behind a GAZ-69 jeep.  (If this source is correct, and GAZ-69 is truly meant instead of GAZ-66, this would seem to imply little in the way of reloads unless carried in another jeep.)  The brigade's artillery battalion included 18 of these launchers (until replaced by 2B11 mortars in 1984), but because they only have 8 barrels each, I have modelled these 18 launchers as just 2 MSH stands, and not 4.  Even that might be a bit generous!  A better solution, albeit one not sanctioned by the rules, might be two stands, but with each stand getting a 3" template and not the standard 4" one.  Try it as a house rule.

File:ASU-85 6 Dywizji Powietrznodesantowej.jpg
ASU-85 of the 6th Airborne.  Public domain image from here.
The other interesting bit of gear is the ASU-85.  Not exactly unique, but also not exactly "standard", since its only other user was the Soviet VDV; they can also make for something a bit different on the tabletop, assuming you are playing a game from 1967 to 1976, that is. (The 6th Airborne was formed in 1965, but didn't reach it's "proper" establishment until 1967, as it initially had only 2000 men on its books, and initially lacked many units such as the 35th SP battalion.)  The ASU-85 isn't exactly the most powerful weapon system in the game of course: a factor 7 AT attack, and 4/2 defence isn't exactly something to worry too many people, and with its PT-76 base chassis, it only gets a 9" move as well...  But, as with most assault guns, it at least looks cool.

The Brigade also gets a decent amount of mortars (just as well given the absence of any conventional tube artillery!).  From 1984 these can include some GAZ-66 towed 2B9 Vasileks (Wosilek to the Poles) which have the advantage of also being able to be used as direct-fire weapons.  Alas, a single platoon of 6 of these weapons means just 1 or 2 stands.

In gaming terms, this list is most likely to see use as the a source of an "extra battalion" in an otherwise normal Polish force, reinforcing a more standard regiment.  Without heavy transports, it won't be too expensive in terms of points, and although such a battalion will not be able to benefit from being allocated brigade/regimental artillery or other such assets from its host, its own assets should be up to the job anyway.


  1. "Extra Battalion" is right, at least that's why I put a unit together for MSH. That, and excuse to buy and paint some helicopters. My battalion is 7 stands of "1970 Infantry with RPGs" and one stand of AT-4. They can be dropped in via three Mi-8s. The rocket launchers are interesting, as are the ASUs - certainly worth considering throwing into the mix.

  2. I've yet to finish painting my Mi-8s, because the task looks rather daunting! But it will just have to be done...