Thursday, May 28, 2015

The 2S9 Nona-S

During the mid and late Cold War, each Soviet air assault infantry (VDV) battalion was accompanied by a platoon of eight M-43 120mm towed mortars and their GAZ-66 prime movers:
as well as an independent battery of six at regimental level.

In the mid-1970s, design work began on a self-propelled version of the mortar, based on the BTR-D chassis, which would allow the weapon to more easily traverse difficult terrain and provide it with the ability to "swim". The GAZ-66 had (and still does have) an admirable but limited ability to ford water. In late 1981, the Nona-S began to enter service:
though it would be 1985 before it was fully integrated into the Soviet VDV forces. It had been planned to use the Nona-S to replace all the VDV's towed mortars, but instead, it was decided to group the new vehicles together at regimental level and only replace the M-43's that served there as an independent airborne motor battery.

So, the boiled down version is that the battalion level kept its towed mortars (at least into the late 80s) and the regimental level replaced towed with the new Nona-S. 

And here is my airborne mortar battery:
In all likelihood, the vehicles would've been grouped as three sections of two vehicles each, but the minis are quite small, so I went with three per stand. Two per stand just looked too naked.

The forward observer would have been mounted in a UAZ-469 4WD:

The battery commander presented me with a problem. In reality, he would've had a GAZ-66 R142 command vehicle:
but of course, O8 makes no sort of box-body Soviet truck, GAZ-66 or otherwise. So I finally decided to go with a standard GAZ-66:
A rather odd vehicle for a command stand, but I didn't really have much choice.

As my scenario begins on March 30, 1981 and the real Nona-S didn't begin entering service until later that year, I've stretched reality slightly and assumed the the Soviets would have pulled out all the stops and gotten new equipment ready in time for the planned hostilities.

That's all for my VDV for the moment. More in the next post. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Addendum to "Mrs. History PhD strikes again!"

On 4/13/15, I wrote a post about Mrs. History PhD painting up a South Vietnamese National Police Field Force M8 Greyhound. 

At the time, I was positive that I had a few more photos of South Vietnamese M8's, beyond the ones I attached to that post, but I just couldn't locate where I had stashed them. Today, I just happened to blunder across the very photos!! So, here they are:
And this one I find quite interesting:
Not only has it had the front and rear fenders removed, which was not uncommon, but it seems to have run afoul of a barbed wire entanglement. It could just be that before he took off, the driver forgot that the vehicle was surrounded by barbed wire, but it makes me suspect that this was not an accident and that this vehicle was involved in the urban fighting in Saigon during Tet. The M2HB has also had its barrel either removed or broken off. 

And now these have made Mrs. History PhD want a FOW M8! 
Where will it all end? That's it for now! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mrs. History PhD's foray into FOW Vietnam

Unable to contain her giddy anticipation even one day longer (i.e. until her actual birthday), Mrs. History PhD pleaded and wheedled me into handing over her birthday gift a night early. 
After much excited chattering in Thai, the gift was duly unwrapped and was pronounced an unqualified success! 
I thought I had better choose something with a minimum of assembly required. What better than an M577?

Now begins her research phase. I was informed that she'll give me a list of any paints we don't have (with about 150 here already, I think it unlikely that there is going to be much on her list), as well as letting me know that I need to get some appropriate decals. Always the planner, is the Missus. 

She's also asked me to dip into my photo collection for some M577 photos that I'm positive were taken in Vietnam. No reason all of you shouldn't share with her, so here we go:
And finally, an ARVN M577 (which there weren't many of):

She's already noticed that she has the option to go with an mobile command post or a field ambulance. We'll see which she chooses. More when her project is completed! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interesting photos, Episode 1

I've decided to start another regular feature on my blog. Well, I say "regular", but I suppose I ought to say "recurring". Something that I'll do again, from time to time. 

Being that I do a lot of research, much of it on the Internet, for both work and hobby, I often stumble across military/hobby photos that strike me as interesting in one way or another. I save them because...well, just because. So I'm going to begin sharing them. They are not my photos and I do not claim copyright over them. I'm just sharing them because I find them interesting, funny, and/or unusual.  So, here we go....

Just because I like artillery photos that show the shell in flight, this one being from a British FH-70 155mm howitzer. 

You don't see many photos of the M113 mine roller in action in Vietnam. 

That's just plain funny!! If you're not American, and you don't understand the American football reference, please leave me a comment and I'll explain, but I think it's the same in "soccer".

This one is for all the people who paint larger scale miniatures (15mm and up) and insist on painting the viewing slits a neon blue. Does that look like day-glo blue to you? No, me either, so STOP DOING IT!!

Again, just because it's damned funny!!

In Vietnam, even artillery pieces got painted with graffiti. 

Rarely do you see an M113 mounting a recoilless rifle firing over the gun shield.  Looks to be a 57mm M18. 

A whole convoy of North Vietnamese M113s. Obviously either 1974 or 1975. Some of them must still be in operation, because here's another photo that can't be more than 15 or 20 years old and quite possibly more recent than that:
The Vietnamese Army didn't begin wearing camouflage uniforms until not all that long ago.

Most wargamers don't put graffiti on the M60 gun shields, but we ought to. 

Photos of the LVTH-6 in the field are relatively rare, so I was very happy to find this one. Only 210 were built. 

And this episode's award winner:
A U.S. Navy rating trying to set fire to a hooch on the riverbank from the foredeck of a PBR. That's just too cool not to share it!!

That's it for this installment. More after I've built up enough new photos.