Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Stalingrad - Red Barricades Factory

I've been wanting to wargame Stalingrad the last twenty five years or so.  The thing you always run up against is the sheer amount of gear required.  I've played plenty of Stalingrad games in 6mm, never in 1/72 which is my preferred scale. I managed to get the Red Barricades Factory scenario to the table towards the end of 2023.  

My pals Sydney and KT came over and we gave it a run through.  As a first draft of a table, it wasn't bad. 

There are some things I'd like to fix before I go much further, but it's getting there.  

The table setup 

The scenario briefing; 

"By mid October the fighting amidst the rubble of the Red Barricades Factory Complex in the northern section of Stalingrad had drawn in more and more of the German 6th Army’s forces. On the 22nd the 79th Infantry division, supported by engineers, tanks and artillery, launched an intense attack over the Railroad embankment toward the Barricades Factory.

Under heavy fire from dug-in tanks and Russian snipers, the German troops slowly made ground toward the Factory. The Soviet line finally broke, but by day’s end only a corner of the factory had been taken.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history."

KT regarding Sydney with perplexity as he advances

I need to do some more work on the table.  Having the buildings sit on the white table without some attempt to blend the two together doesn't look right. 

German infantry probes making their way forward.  

Sydney was very careful to use his armour to destroy barbed wire to clear the way for the infantry.

Soviet infantry contesting the bombed out buildings as the German's advanced. 

The building in the foreground is a 3d print that was very kindly supplied by KT and painted by Capability Savage.  I had a shortage of suitable buildings for the board, so I subbed in some European buildings that I build for our Bastogne game. These were taken from the European Buildings book by Peter Dennis published by Helion.  These are scaled for 28mm, but they worked just fine for 1/72.  The paper buildings went together very quickly and needed no painting strictly speaking.  To make them work for the winter board, I gave them a quick dusting with a white spray paint and then added snow effect flock to the rooves. 

Soviet infantry (foreground) being outflanked and surrounded by German infantry (background)

A strong push on the German left by infantry forced the Soviets out of their initial positions.  The Germans then began to put the Soviet second line under pressure.  German engineers are clearing land mines, but they were taking casualties from the Soviet snipers.  The snipers were deadly, but they didn't cause enough casualties quickly enough to stop the German advance. 

Once the infantry had cleared the way, the Panzers started to roll. The barbed wire marks barbed wire (obviously enough), but the shell holes actually mark minefields.  I use these because the minefields have a concealed effectiveness, being rated as 0, 2 or 4 depending on how thickly the mines are spread.  The 0 minefields are dummies and using the shell holes allows me to put a slip of paper underneath to show how effective they are.  The German player only finds this out when they either enter the minefield or probe it with engineers, while the Soviets can check at any time. 

Soviet infantry fleeing encirclement. 

You can see that the forward German armour unit has taken one hit, which I've marked with a blast marker. 

The scenario actually uses  Beach Obstactles to represent rubble that is impassable to tanks, but which infantry can shelter behind.  As I didn't have anything suitable, I used the Beach Obstactles I built for our last D-Day game. I had a look for photos of Stalingrad and I know that the Soviets made extensive use of tank traps, so I'll substitute those.  KT very kindly 3d printed some for me. 

After developing the German attack on his left, Sydney begins pushing on his right. KT's Soviet artillery managed to find the range after several turns of lack lustre shooting and rains shells down on the advancing German armour. 

The final move

Having pummeled and out outmanoeuvred his opponent, Sydney unleashed the panzers. The Soviets just weren't able to withstand the pressure and that ended the game. 

I think Sydney definitely had the upper hand throughout the game as KT found it hard to co-ordinate a response because of the Soviet command rules.  Sydney was also more methodical in his approach, carefully bringing infantry, armour and artillery to bear to crumble the Soviet defences.  He was also better at evacuating badly mauled units from the front line which prevented KT finishing them off and scoring badly needed victory points. 

A fine game with two good friends.  I hope to do it more often, but this year keeps getting away from me. 

Lastly, I've actually got back into shooting recently, something I really enjoyed as a youngster and that I would like to go back to again.  Heading out to the range with a rented .22 was a lot of fun. There is something very satisfying about poking small holes in bits of paper far away.  I'm not sure if I'd take the plunge of getting my own kit, but there was a lot of entertainment in knocking about with rented stuff.  Perhaps I make a habit of it. 


  1. I enjoyed my shooting back in my TA days

  2. Conrad,

    I’ve always wanted to refight Stalingrad, but have yet to get around to it.

    All the best,


    1. It's quite daunting and it's not exactly like it's one battle. The early engagements are quite different to the encirclement and so on, so you sort of need to pick your time. What scale were you planning?

  3. Nice to see a game happening! Great report, the Russians getting a bit screwed on command reminds me of rapid fire.

  4. Good to see you are fulfilling a long held aim. It's one of mine too but is so big I'm doing it in "bite sized" chunks over many years. I think 10mm is ideal as the buildings are more manageable but you can still have small scale assaults at platoon and company level within a bigger battle. I did Central Stalingrad mid Sept 42 that way with three scenarios over the same terrain. I've yet to blog it but you may have seen my Stalingrad Station Nr 2 game a few years ago on the blog

    1. That is a tremendous board and a tremendous achievement. That's fantastic. Really something.

  5. Excellent Batrep, thanks for posting.
    For interest, here is another take on Stalingrad at a much smaller scale and higher operational level.
    Regards, Chris