Saturday, September 20, 2014

East German 20th Motor Rifle Division, Part 2

I've started to put together a battalion of the NVA's 20th Motor Rifle Division, made up of older, outdated equipment, as would have been the case in reality, so I can swap it out with more up-to-date units or use it as a reinforcement. 

First off, let me say that my family is German and most still live there (in Hessen, SE of Frankfurt a.M., though I was born in and grew up mostly in the US) and although my German sadly isn't as good as it ought to be, I can make my way in the language. Therefore, I am perfectly well aware that the East German Army had "Motorisierte Schützen Divisionen" and not Motor Rifle Divisions, as I am oft times reminded. However, English comes more naturally to me and for you purists, there is a translator on my blog, so we should all be good to go. 

As I've mentioned in a couple of different posts recently, the 20th was a reserve and training division and as such, it would have been fairly low down the pecking order for modern equipment. That having been the case, I've chosen the BTR-152 as the APC for two of the three infantry companies:
The later BTR-152K wasn't open-topped and had an armored roof:
And the BTR-152S was the command version:
O8 makes only the original open-topped model. With a bit of green putty, it's certainly possible to build up a high top to produce the command model, but these things are so small, I'm not sure it's worth the effort, as no one will see it. I may make a few K's and see how it goes. 

For the third company, I'll do two versions. One motorized in ZIL-157's:
and one in BTR-40's:
Again, so I can swap them out. The company mounted in the ZIL's will also get a GAZ-69 command vehicle:
In reality, by the early 80's, very few original GAZ's were left. It would actually be the UAZ-built version, the UAZ-69 or a version built under license by the Romanian company ARO. 

My battalion will get the standard platoons of AGS-17 Plamyas, AT-3 Saggers, and 120mm towed mortars, as well as an attached unit of T-34/85M's:

The early 1980's was a time of severe manpower and vehicle shortages in all WarPac armies. A motor rifle regiment was supposed to have an armored battalion attached, but very often a company was all that could be supplied and occasionally, only a platoon. Likewise, each armored regiment was supposed to have a motor rifle battalion, but often there was only a company. Attached artillery battalions, especially self-propelled ones, were frequently just a single battery. This was the case in many frontline units, so the situation in reserve units would have been worse yet. I'll reflect this with just one company of T-34/85M's for my battalion and here it is:

Had war really happened in the early 80's, I pity the poor bastards that would've crewed these museum pieces. The T-34/85M's potential armored opponents aside, NATO infantry were fairly lavishly supplied with a number of different antitank weapons that would've decimated these geriatric tanks. Even something as outdated as the M72 66mm LAW: 
would've made short work of a Korean War era tank. (Lord, the number of training rounds I've fired from those damned things!)

As my battalion takes shape over the next week or two, I'll let you see the progress. More next time!

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