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[WIP] - Historical - Soviet Guards Tank Army

AAM
A Guards designation was awarded to units who distinguished themselves in combat. These battle-hardened veterans were the elite of the Soviet forces and more than a match for anything that the Nazis could muster. The first Guards title was awarded to two rifle divisions (107th and 120th) for destroying the German salient at Yelnya and showing that blitzkrieg could be stopped and driven back.

My work is based on historic vehicles operated by Guards units or units which had received the honour later. This includes elite artillery, mechanised and aviation formations. The working title is "Guards Tank Army". I'll upload some screenshots and background information as time permits.

--[merging previous posts]--

M3A1 White Scout Car

A series of camouflage paints were approved for Soviet military use in August 1941, but few were manufactured in any great quantity. In addition to liquid paints, Soviet forces occasionally received pigments as dry powder. Wartime shortages were common, so Soviet camouflage was often made from organic materials such as green branches or dry grass. Still, unusual paint schemes were seen in some units, such as this M3A1 White Scout Car of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade:



Guards Jr. Sergeant V.S Bogatischev of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade reconnaissance company indicates the way on the map during the spring thaw:



BM-13-16 Katyusha (ZiS-6 6x4 chassis)

The BM-13-16 "Katyusha" MLRS needs no introductions. These were assigned to elite mortar units, usually Guards mortar formations. A special badge was approved for Guards units on 21st May 1942, as seen on the cabin door here:



ZiS-6 truck

This vehicle was originally a multi-purpose 4-ton cargo and utility vehicle made in peaceful times. Their design improved on a two-axle 4x2 ZiS-5, a truck similar in most other respects. However, the additional torque allowed the ZiS-6 to tow the M1942 76.2 mm field gun. The Red Army requested large orders and more than 20 thousand were built by October 1941.



T-70 and SU-76

Here are the T-70 and SU-76 of the 8th self-propelled artillery brigade. Their tactical designation was an eagle in a circle. The SPG is assigned to 3rd battery, 2nd divizion (battalion sized unit).



Below is a picture of the unit taken in spring of 1944 that serves as inspiration here. Brigade commander Col. I. Ya. Kochin stands in front of his command tank. Note the SU-76 in the background:



Driver-mechanic Sgt-Maj. N.I. Likhomanov with his SPG. Let's take a closer look at  the unit tactical markings. Note one bar above the tactical marking (1st divizion) and one triangle underneath (1st battery):



T-34/76

This particular tank - named "Schors" - was operated by the 130th tank brigade of the 23rd Tank Corps, which was involved in heavy fighting around Kharkiv and Stalingrad. The 130th brigade has lost almost all of their materiel twice: once during the Battle of Kharkiv ("Case Blue") and again during the Tatsinskaya Raid. It was a battalion of the 130th brigade led by Cap. Nechayev that was the first to break through the German lines and destroy some of 300 aircraft on the airfield.

The 130th tank brigade was re-named the 26th Guards tank brigade and the 24th Tank Corps became known as the 2nd Tatsinskiy Tank Corps. This story is the inspiration for the model of the T-34/76:



The Cyrillic "Л2-КС" is the designation of the 23rd Tank Corp. The 130th tank brigade was known for their "named" tanks, as each vehicle was decorated with a dedication. Contrary to popular opinion, it was rare for red stars to be painted on armour. This unit is one of a few exceptions.

Another tank of the 130th tank brigade named "Nakhimov" can be seen here, abandoned during Case Blue:



KV1 and KV-2

The KV-1 is based on the tanks of the 145th brigade. The 2nd battalion of this brigade was known for decorating their tanks with patriotic slogans. This is the same theme as I chose for the KV-2. The 145th brigade was an elite unit used in breakthrough operations as the heavy armour spearhead. They were later granted a Guards title as the 43rd Guards heavy tank brigade.


Cap. Trukhanov explains orders to the commanders of individual tanks in his battalion. Some of the patriotic slogans can be seen on the tanks. I did not want to promote Stalin's personality cult, so I chose "За Родину!" ("For the Motherland!"), as seen on the tank in the background.




The lettering is somewhat inspired by an Old Church Slavonic script. It has an old-fashioned appearance. I used a brush-pen to recreate the effect of a hand-applied slogan:



Decal close-up:



Sometimes it is difficult to find the right balance between historical authenticity and a striking visual appearance. The KV-2 is a case in point - there are no authentic period sources that I could find which show any markings whatsoever on a KV-2. Only a few hundred were ever built, and production ceased in 1941 - before any widespread adoption of any tactical or artistic adornment. Unfortunately, a big green box just looks boring. I have decided to use my artistic license (I am getting one sent to me any day now, I promise) and added the tactical markings of the 145th tank brigade and a hand-lettered sign - "death to fascist occupiers" - in semi-Cursive Cyrillic lettering. I hope it's not too much..



The 145th tank brigade was a heavy tank brigade which operated KV-1 and T-34/76 tanks near the start of the war. Their tactical markings were based on the shape of a rhombus - the code for "armour" used on Soviet maps. Here is a photograph of two "named" KV-1 tanks of the 1st battalion of the 145th tank brigade. All of the tanks of the 1st battalion were named after revolutionary heroes such as "Shors" (foreground) and "Bagration" (background). Their turrets are cast and welded, respectively.



Il-2M late model

The Il-2 is a reconstruction of an aircraft flown by Soviet ground attack ace Guards Jr. Lt. Talgat Begeldinov.



Begeldinov served with the 144th Guards Air Assault Regiment and completed over 300 sorties by the end of the war. Their insignia was a white lightning and their aircraft were decorated with a white ring. Propeller spinners were painted white or red and a white circle was painted on the rear part of the fuselage, near the tail. Individual numbers were white and marked on the rudder.



The source for this is a surviving photograph of Begeldinov with his plane. He is standing on the wing.



Flying ground attack aircraft was a tough and dangerous job. Low altitudes exposed pilots to AA fire from below and fighter attack from above. Many pilots did not make it to their 10th mission. The same nearly happened to Begeldinov, a Junior Sergeant on his 8th sortie, when his aircraft was in the sights of a Messerschmidt Bf109 flown by German ace Maj. von Dietrich. Instead of attempting to break contact, Begeldinov engaged in an unequal fight. The Il-2 barely limped back to a friendly airfield and the German ace was captured. During his interrogation, the Knight's Cross holder could not believe that he had been shot down by a nobody..

Begeldinov credited his observational skills and situational awareness for his success. Air reconnaissance was his specialty - flying alone he would regularly cross German lines, spot AA positions, attack soft targets in the German rear and return. His aircraft was shot down twice over enemy territory, but Begeldinov returned to his unit both times. By the end of the war Begeldinov had earnt the very rare distinction of two Hero of the Soviet Union awards. As an ethnic Kazakh, he became the only person of Central Asian nationality to earn the honour.

After the war he returned to his native Kazakhstan, trained a new generation of pilots, retired from the armed forces to serve in civil aviation, and set up a charitable foundation for war orphans. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 93. He is remembered by those who knew him as a modest and undemanding guy.






Replies

  • georider
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    georider polygon
    AAM excellent present and nice reasearch good luck to you. Also guard units use different decal than red star , they use the flag crest along with red star in some cases but with soviet tanks you never know , they add whatever they make them fell better, slogans , patriotic emblems etc etc. to raze morale in battle.
  • AAM
    georider said:
    AAM excellent present and nice reasearch good luck to you. Also guard units use different decal than red star , they use the flag crest along with red star in some cases but with soviet tanks you never know , they add whatever they make them fell better, slogans , patriotic emblems etc etc. to raze morale in battle.
    Thanks, Georider! I'm basing my vehicles on period materials as much as possible. This particular vehicle was not authorised to display a Guards badge, as the 130th tank brigade were not yet awarded Guards status.
  • AAM
    Here are the T-70 and SU-76 of the 8th self-propelled artillery brigade. Their tactical designation was an eagle in a circle. The SPG is assigned to 3rd battery, 2nd divizion (battalion sized unit).



    Below is a picture of the unit taken in spring of 1944 that serves as inspiration here. Brigade commander Col. I. Ya. Kochin stands in front of his command tank. Note the SU-76 in the background:



    Driver-mechanic Sgt-Maj. N.I. Likhomanov with his SPG. Let's take a closer look at  the unit tactical markings. Note one bar above the tactical marking (1st divizion) and one triangle underneath (1st battery):


  • georider
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    georider polygon
    yes ok , my fault I'm not so aware with the Soviet units , i know the basic ;) keep on
  • AAM
    I will try to post a little more about Soviet markings as I carry on with this project. It's a complex subject, even if you have access to primary sources. Until 1941, Soviet doctrine emphasized secrecy and most armour was not marked at all. From 1942 onwards, there is a variety of tactical markings and all kinds of spontaneous decoration. Tactical markings were never standardised across the Red Army, so it was usually up to commanders at the brigade, division, corps or army level to decide.
  • georider
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    georider polygon
    AAm that's correct also till 43 the red army did not have rangs in army after 43 stalin order the restoration of the rangs mostly for morale reasons as he left religion free durring war , even the most evil persons can't opposed God ;).
    When I made my skinpack I found many references regarding divisions mostly after 43 , the best references are for the last days of the war and battle of Berlin. Take a look in my skinpack to understand what I mean .
  • Starbuck
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    Starbuck polycounter lvl 2
    I like the color on your T-34. I'm not a big fan of the default green they start with.  Look forward to seeing more pics! Nice work so far.
  • AAM
    Starbuck said:
    I like the color on your T-34. I'm not a big fan of the default green they start with.  Look forward to seeing more pics! Nice work so far.
    Thanks! I'm glad that you noticed that. The default vehicles are much too blue-green. I have re-coloured all of the Soviet vehicles to colour-match the 4BO paint (№4 базовый, олифа) used on all Soviet armour throughout the war. According to the text of "Corrosion of Weapons and Ammunition" by Engineer Lt.-Col. Poddubnyy (1946), the main pigment of the 4BO paint is golden ochre produced in the region of the Zhuravskaya station. This accounts for the mustardy-yellow look of the mixed paint. This formula was a breakthrough in camouflage, as it was IR-reflective. Previous camouflage paints were IR-absorbent, and they were therefore visible as dark areas when viewed through special optics. One might call 4BO an early development of stealth technology.
  • AAM
    georider said:
    AAm that's correct also till 43 the red army did not have rangs in army after 43 stalin order the restoration of the rangs mostly for morale reasons as he left religion free durring war , even the most evil persons can't opposed God ;).
    When I made my skinpack I found many references regarding divisions mostly after 43 , the best references are for the last days of the war and battle of Berlin. Take a look in my skinpack to understand what I mean .
    Red Army ranks were changed to "revolutionary" ranks during the early Soviet period. "Bourgeois" ranks like colonel or general were replaced with ranks which corresponded to function: "kombrig" (brigade commander), "komdiv" (division commander), "komandarm" (army commander) and so on. As you rightly noted, the policy was reversed under Stalin. Post-war histories generally mention "new", traditional-style ranks. However, functional titles also continued to be used in casual conversation amongst enlisted men and officers.
  • AAM
    Sometimes it is difficult to find the right balance between historical authenticity and a striking visual appearance. The KV-2 is a case in point - there are no authentic period sources that I could find which show any markings whatsoever on a KV-2. Only a few hundred were ever built, and production ceased in 1941 - before any widespread adoption of any tactical or artistic adornment. Unfortunately, a big green box just looks boring. I have decided to use my artistic license (I am getting one sent to me any day now, I promise) and added the tactical markings of the 145th tank brigade and a hand-lettered sign - "death to fascist occupiers" - in semi-Cursive Cyrillic lettering. I hope it's not too much..



    The 145th tank brigade was a heavy tank brigade which operated KV-1 and T-34/76 tanks near the start of the war. Their tactical markings were based on the shape of a rhombus - the code for "armour" used on Soviet maps. Here is a photograph of two "named" KV-1 tanks of the 145th tank brigade - "Shors" (foreground) and "Bagration" (background). The their turrets are cast and welded, respectively.



  • AAM
    The KV-1 is also based on the tanks of the 145th brigade. The 2nd battalion of this brigade was known for decorating their tanks with patriotic slogans. This is the same theme as I chose for the KV-2. The 145th brigade was an elite unit used in breakthrough operations as the heavy armour spearhead. They were later granted a Guards title as the 43rd Guards heavy tank brigade.


    Cap. Trukhanov explains orders to the commanders of individual tanks in his battalion. Some of the patriotic slogans can be seen on the tanks. I did not want to promote Stalin's personality cult, so I chose "За Родину!" ("For the Motherland!"), as seen on the tank in the background.




    The lettering is somewhat inspired by an Old Church Slavonic script. It has an old-fashioned appearance. I used a brush-pen to recreate the effect of a hand-applied slogan:



    Decal close-up:

  • georider
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    georider polygon
    AAM , astonish , welcome to the historical freek club , accurate research and very good WIP, you make the decals , while we without native knowledge of cyrilic script we use decals and translate to understand slogans etc , well done.
    KV-2 painting needs a lot of adjustment , in fact along with  SU-85 and ISU-152 was the thoughfest armor that i saw inside for recolor these. Also notice for KV-2 paint theme is very accurate , i also found only green bace pattern , those that exist in cammo shawing a KV-2 captured by germans and use as practice and research.
  • AAM
    A series of camouflage paints were approved for Soviet military use in August 1941, but few were manufactured in any great quantity. In addition to liquid paints, Soviet forces occasionally received pigments as dry powder. Wartime shortages were common, so Soviet camouflage was often made from organic materials such as green branches or dry grass. Still, unusual paint schemes were seen in some units, such as this M3A1 White Scout Car of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade:



    Guards Jr. Sergeant V.S Bogatischev of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade reconnaissance company indicates the way on the map during the spring thaw:



  • reallymadmaveric
    Really very good historical research. I see that you correctly identified the 145th batttalion even with its markings of the 045th. The Soviets were parranoid about secrecy to such an extent that it was standard practice for units to display false regimental and divisional markings. Due to this many historical photos published after the war  were miss identified.  Fantastic touch with the handpainted slogan. Very nice stuff indeed
  • AAM
    Really very good historical research. I see that you correctly identified the 145th batttalion even with its markings of the 045th. The Soviets were parranoid about secrecy to such an extent that it was standard practice for units to display false regimental and divisional markings. Due to this many historical photos published after the war  were miss identified.  Fantastic touch with the handpainted slogan. Very nice stuff indeed

    Cheers! The Soviet forces are challenging to do as a skin set simply because it is nearly impossible to come up with any camouflage scheme that doesn't look at least a bit like one of Relic's own while staying within the bounds of the historical theme. Originally, my plan was to showcase various camouflage patterns used by the Red Army. It turned out to be difficult (in some cases impossible) to find solid references on some vehicles. In the end, I decided to create something that I might like to play myself. I feared a base green would be a bit boring, but a couple of my friends have said that they really like the authenticity of the look and that it creates a more unified appearance.

    One more vehicle this morning:

    The BM-13-16 "Katyusha" MLRS needs no introductions. These were assigned to elite mortar units, usually Guards mortar formations. A special badge was approved for Guards units on 21st May 1942, as seen on the cabin door here:



  • AAM
    The Il-2 is a reconstruction of an aircraft flown by Soviet ground attack ace Guards Jr. Lt. Talgat Begeldinov.



    Begeldinov served with the 144th Guards Air Assault Regiment and completed over 300 sorties by the end of the war. Their insignia was a white lightning and their aircraft were decorated with a white ring. Propeller spinners were painted white or red and a white circle was painted on the rear part of the fuselage, near the tail. Individual numbers were white and marked on the rudder.



    The source for this is a surviving photograph of Begeldinov with his plane. He is standing on the wing.



    Flying ground attack aircraft was a tough and dangerous job. Low altitudes exposed pilots to AA fire from below and fighter attack from above. Many pilots did not make it to their 10th mission. The same nearly happened to Begeldinov, a Junior Sergeant on his 8th sortie, when his aircraft was in the sights of a Messerschmidt Bf109 flown by German ace Maj. von Dietrich. Instead of attempting to break contact, Begeldinov engaged in an unequal fight. The Il-2 barely limped back to a friendly airfield and the German ace was captured. During his interrogation, the Knight's Cross holder could not believe that he had been shot down by a nobody..

    Begeldinov credited his observational skills and situational awareness for his success. Air reconnaissance was his specialty - flying alone he would regularly cross German lines, spot AA positions, attack soft targets in the German rear and return. His aircraft was shot down twice over enemy territory, but Begeldinov returned to his unit both times. By the end of the war Begeldinov had earnt the very rare distinction of two Hero of the Soviet Union awards. As an ethnic Kazakh, he became the only person of Central Asian nationality to earn the honour.

    After the war he returned to his native Kazakhstan, trained a new generation of pilots, retired from the armed forces to serve in civil aviation, and set up a charitable foundation for war orphans. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 93. He is remembered by those who knew him as a modest and undemanding guy.
  • Starbuck
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    Starbuck polycounter lvl 2
    Very nice! I released a Soviet skin pack recently on the workshop and had a ton of fun making the IL2 camo.  Yours looks great!
  • f_x
    I'm enjoying all the history!  Lots of interesting info.  Thanks for sharing...
  • AAM
    Thanks folks! I really appreciate it coming from all of you, your work is really solid and sets a high standard. It means so much more when someone with real skill shows appreciation..
  • AAM
    What is under a coat of paint? Soviet armour received an undercoat made from a red-coloured rust primer and drying oil. It would dry to a subdued orange-red colour. The standard base coat of 4BO would be applied on top of this primer.

    I have tried to show the effect of the red primer undercoat appearing in the cracks and under the edges of the paint, chipped away here and there. Top view of my ISU-152:



    EDIT:
    This effect ended up making most vehicles look derelict and rust covered, as though they have been abandoned to the elements in a regional museum somewhere in a declining industrial town deep in Russia after restoration funds have been misappropriated. Not like an elite force.
  • AAM

    My previous experiment didn't turn out quite as I intended, so I decided to go in a different direction altogether.

    To create an impression of an elite unit with a higher esprit d'corps, I have created a base green undercoat with a peeling, broken down effect and smaller rust spots. The overall effect is of a cleaner, better-maintained machine.

    Before - heavy breakdown around corners of the hull and track guards:



    After - an undercoat of older, broken down 4BO paint:



    Battle-worn look:



    Clean, maintained look for Lend-Lease vehicles - bare metal is covered with an undercoat of broken down olive drab:


  • AAM
    ISU-152:




    Detail on re-coloured weld lines and slogans:



  • AAM
    Lend-Lease Sherman in olive drab and Guards livery:




  • georider
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    georider polygon
    you must uploaded your version as curate and not as ready to use , you have done a mistake and you upload it as a free item, delete that version and re-upload it as curate.
  • AAM
    Just realised that.. Had problems with curated pathway, managed to solve them finally. The final versions are uploaded as curated.
  • georider
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    georider polygon
    yes i saw that , but i don't know if they have to remain as ready to use, for many reasons
  • AAM
    It's been a whole separate drama.. I've completed everything, checked the contest rules again and realised it had to be a curated release. Then I had various problems with uploading first and with legal agreement publication afterwards. I've checked over the rules, and there is nowhere that is explicitly forbids anything from being released as ready-to-use, nor is there anything on the forums forbidding it as far as I can tell.

    Anyway, the final versions are now uploaded as curated and linked in the final release thread.
  • georider
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    georider polygon
    Ok i have similar problems and have to reupload or delete and upload as well.
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