Sunday, May 4, 2014

Looking ahead (quite) a bit.

For the last few days, I've put a bit of thought into the forces I'll need for my 1981 LANDJUT campaign. Before I began this whole thing, I decided that I'd make it primarily West Germans and Danes opposing numerically superior East Germans. But thinking a bit on what forces would be available in the LANDJUT area of operations during a real WWIII, I find myself expanding who'll be fighting whom. 

Firstly, I know I've quite often used the term LANDJUT, but I've never really explained it. In West Germany, NATO was broken down into three area commands. They were NORTHAG, CENTAG, and BALTAP. These stood for "Northern Army Group", "Central Army Group", and "Baltic Approaches". There were higher levels than these (AFNORTH and AFCENT for example, and above that, SHAPE), but they really needn't concern us here. Each of the three area commands in West Germany was roughly equivalent to an Army. Each was sub-divided into areas of responsibility (i.e. Air, Sea, and Land), one of BALTAP's subdivisions being "Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland" or more simply LANDJUT, which was tasked with defending the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark and the West German state of Schleswig-Holstein:
And in particular, the defense of the Kiel Canal/River Eider, as well as the northern and eastern approaches to the city of Hamburg. 

The bulk of the NATO forces in this area would have been the West German 6th Panzergrenadier Division and a variety of local Heimatschütz (Home Defense) units, as well as the Danish Jutland Division. In addition, units of the US Marines' 2nd MEU (including the Marine 4th Division), the US 9th Infantry Division (later changed to the 5th), one brigade of the US 2nd Armored Division, and NATO's ACE Mobile Force (which was more likely to be sent to Norway) were all earmarked to reinforce the area and it is also quite conceivable that units of the Netherlands I Corps fighting just to the south of Hamburg could've been cut off by the rapid WarPac advance and forced to fall back northward and thereafter used as additional reinforcements. 

As for the WarPac, I originally envisioned an all East German force, but again, reality wouldn't have been so cut and dried. Soviet ground troops (likely from the 2nd Guards Tank Army) would have made an important contribution, but in LANDJUT, Soviet VDV (airborne and air assault troops) as well as marines (naval infantry) would have played quite a prominent role. Additionally, Polish ground troops and the 7th Lusatian Landing Division (basically, marines) could also have supported the East Germans. 

So, with all this in mind, I decided to make up a command stand for the Soviet VDV as well as the Polish 7th, just to see what they'll look like. The VDV often wore a bright mid-blue beret:
Needless to say, in combat they would've worn a standard helmet with a camouflage cover, however, that bright blue (Vallejo Andrea Blue 841) is a great way to pick out my VDV troops on the tabletop:
It is a bit annoying that they look like UN troops, but oh well. That's a BMD-1 with them:
For regular Soviet ground troops, I'll go with a dark green helmet.

As for the Polish 7th Lusatian Landing Division, they wore a helmet that more or less matched their uniform:
But the kneeling soldier in the top photo has a helmet that's a bit darker than his uniform, so I'll go with that:
Their stand has a TOPAS 2AP:
I'll cover more on how I paint Soviet and Polish uniforms when the time arrives that I'm painting a lot more of them. That finishes off this rather wordy post. More on the weekend!


  1. Very interesting project.
    Bear in mind that Lusatian landing division was meant as a landing force fo Zeeland ( I am doing that as a project with same miniatures :)

    So unless Zeeland amphibious landing would be canceled it would be quite spent unit (It was one use unit really :>

    You may consider also 6 Pommeranian parachute division (which was operationally matched with 7 Lusatian ) and wore red berets - to match your VDV :>

    1. True enough, but sometimes wargaming requires "bending" reality just a bit, so I keep the option of using the 7th. I will however add in the 6th! Great suggestion!! Thank you!