Sunday, December 28, 2014

28mm Russian Civil War 'Tachanka' Machine-gun Wagon

Season's Greetings Everyone!

First, just a short note to let you all know that the gallery for the second theme round of the Painting Challenge is now up in all it's glory and awaiting your viewing pleasure.

This week's theme is 'Rider(s) & Mount(s)' and as such I decided to debut a little side project of mine which will concentrate on the various colourful units and personalities of the Russian Civil War.

So, what you see here is a 'Tachanka' machine-gun wagon which were heavily used in the open expanses of the Southern Russian and Ukrainian fronts. With motor vehicles being almost non-existent at the time, and in this part of the world, it seemed only sensible to make good use of the abundance of peasant wagons and horseflesh.

It is believed by some that the name 'Tachanka' derives from the Ukrainian diminutive nickname for 'wheelbarrow'.)

These small wagons would typically be drawn by two to four horses, have a crew or three or four and be armed with a heavy machine-gun positioned to fire from the rear of the vehicle. From my understanding their tactics would be to set up in ambush and then scoot to a new firing position once things got too hot or scamper out of harm's way using the machine-gun for covering fire. (I've read of Tachanka 'charges' but these seem rather harrowing considering they would have to approach the enemy positions at the gallop and then turn around to bring their guns to bear, all the while being under enemy fire.)

This is a 28mm kit from Eureka Miniatures. It provides a wonderful build, virtually flash free with no discernible imperfections to the castings. My only caveat is that the figures are quite small to really be listed as 28mm, rather I found them closer to 25mm or perhaps 22mm. Nonetheless, the completed model still looks great and fits well enough with the rest of my collection. I've painted the crew up as Cossacks but the kit comes with another variant to have them as Red crewmen with the distinctive (if somewhat dorky) pointy 'shlem' hat.

In terms of using a Tachanka in 'Chain of Command' I'm considering using these modified rules:

- a Tachanka is classed as a fast, softskin fighting vehicle;

- for game terms it may not reverse;

- unlike normal fighting vehicles a Tachanka can be deployed from a Jump Off point to reflect their tactical doctrine of being used for ambushes;

- they can be deployed in light woods;

- as a Tachanka is open topped it has the sighting capability of an infantry unit, so they have no spotting limitations; 

- when stationary, a Tachanka fires as a top-mounted HMG at full rate of fire (10 dice) but when moving it is halved (5 dice) due to the bouncing and jostling of the highly sprung carriage;

- it is completely unarmoured so is targeted as a softskin;

- as a target it is not rated as a small target or low profile BUT when moving it always receives a -1 target modifier to reflect its evasive maneuvering (if moving in a non-urban setting);

- when hit, the horses are counted as valid targets along with the crew;

- each horse killed reduces the top speed by one dice to a minimum of 1 dice;

- a dead horse dragging in the traces slows the wagon by -2 pips on the movement dice. The carcass will need to be cut away from the traces in order for the wagon to move at its proper rate. Cutting a dead horse away takes an action to perform.