Race to the Reichstag - Red Banner Forces

Soviet Armour in Berlin Race to the Reichstag - Red Banner Forces
With Jacob Hopkins

Their land, Their people, Their blood.

We have been fighting since Moscow comrades, and for 4 long years we have fought hard to push the invader back, to bring the fight to their land, to their people. And now we are here comrades, we stand at the very doorstep of the hated Reich itself. We have been gifted these banners by the will of the people to fly over the broken symbols of the enemy. We will fight every inch of the way, and if it costs us every life we have to give, then we shall sell it gladly for these Red Banners will mark our Victory comrades.

15 April, 1945. Marshal Zhukov launches Operation Berlin, a wide right flank assault through the northern outskirts of Berlin with the goal of capturing the main buildings of German governance. Zhukov and his troops had a tight deadline, 1st May as ordered by Stalin himself, and they faced a tough slog through the dense urban environment of the shattered city. While the main goal of the assault was the Reichstag, the government district included a number of high-profile objectives that would each need to be cleared and secured prior to the final assault. 

The assault on the Reichstag itself began in the early hours of 30 April, and with no proper recon or artillery bombardment of the defenders’ positions. Soviet assaults across the Konigsplatz would come under heavy bombardment from nearby German artillery positions, while defenders dug into the Kroll Opera House and the Reichstag had a deadly crossfire along the axis of advance.


Despite these difficulties, by 1800 that day, the troops of the 3rd shock Army would finally push into the building to engage in brutal point-blank fighting in an effort to clear the building of its fanatical SS defenders. While the building itself was not cleared until 1300 on 2 May, elements of the 3rd Shock were able to raise their Red Banner high before the end of Stalin’s deadline. With Red Banner N. 5 floating over the Reichstag, all could see that the end of this long and terrible war had finally come.

So let’s take a look at how this translates into our new formation from Berlin: Soviet.

Red Banner Rifle Regiment

Red Banner Rifle Company

The Red Banner Rifle companies give you careful veterans with confident skill increased while their Komissar still lives to 3+. Coming as large as 11 teams and as small as 5 and you can upgrade your squads with panzerfausts, maksims, and a single flamethrower to make a fearsome fire point to hold onto the objective.

Red Banner Forces
Red Banner SMG Company

Like the Rifle companies, this company comes as careful, confident, and veteran. With the same increase in motivation provided by the Komissar, but interestingly gaining assault 2+ in their skill rating. Also like the Rifle company they come as large as 11 teams and as small as 5, keeping the panzerfaust and single flame thrower upgrades but losing access to the maksim. All and all a scary-looking assault group.

Red Banner Storm Group
Red Banner Storm Group

Taking the lessons learned from Stalingrad into use, the Storm Groups bring you an excellent state line of Careful, Fearless veterans, capable of hitting on 2+ in assault. Backing that up with 6-7 SMGs, a PTRD, a Maksim and an 82mm mortar team. With options to bring Panzerfausts, a flamethrower and an additional Maksim. The large variety of weapons will allow your group to respond to most threats as they sweep and clear the objectives, letting the Rifle and SMG companies follow behind to mop up and secure the point.

Red Banner 203mm Storm Gun
Red Banner 203mm Storm Gun Platoon

The ever-popular tractor howitzer returns with a brutal, AT 13, auto firepower direct fire cannon. And with AT 4 and firepower 2+ in bombardment, this careful, trained gun platform will be a deadly tool in your kit. Suffering only from being a 2 gun only unit which may reduce its reliability as artillery. However, with such a large gun, you will likely be bringing it to direct fire into buildings.

Red Banner Assault Tank Company
Red Banner Assault Tank Company

Perhaps the most unique platoon in the formation, the assault tank company brings a mix of T-34/85s and ISU-152 assault guns in an aggressive, fearless, trained package. In this unit, the ISUs lose their ability to bombard but retain their already excellent at 13, brutal direct fire. This will be super handy in the urban jungle of Berlin as brutal will give you extra hits on units you hit in buildings. While the T-34s provide supporting fire to help clear out enemy guns and protect from assaults.

Support Platoons
Support Platoons

In support of your excellent infantry options, you have the usual selection of supporting squads. The Maksim MG Company brings 3-9 additional HMGs to your force, allowing you to create a wall of lead that will halt the advance of any enemy infantry. The 82mm and 120mm Mortar companies bring the usual soviet light artillery to the front to support your advance with excellent firepower. The formation allows you to have 2 choices of either 45mm Anti-Tank or 76mm Anti-tank, these are also careful to hit which is a huge boon for their survivability. Lastly in the not-so-new options, we have the scout platoon, 5-9 SMG teams with the ever-useful scout and spearhead rule, but while they have an excellent base stat line, will want to keep out of assault due to the downgrade all scouts have.

Lastly we will look at a few of the new command cards that are meant specifically for the Red Banner company.

Red Banner Colour Party
Red Banner Colour Party

This upgrades the chosen unit to carry a No. 5 Red Banner, granting them some interesting rules. If you take and hold an objective with this unit you gain an additional victory point while your opponent loses one. But if you lose the game with the colour party in your force you will lose an additional victory point to your opponent. Lastly, the unit itself always counts as a larger unit and will need 8 hits to become pinned or forced back in assault.

Pyotr Vasilevsky

Pyotr improves the rally and counterattack rating to 2+ for the storm group he is attached to. Giving its already impressive assault ratings a greater boost in reliability

Dmitry Babanov

Dmitry is an upgrade to your red banner rifle HQ, giving it an 8” 2+ rally to unit leaders it can see. Making your already reliable troops even harder to keep pinned down.

Red Banner over the Reichstag

So let's take this and make a list to storm the Reichstag with!

Red Banner List

As I stated earlier, the core of this formation is the infantry and so that is the focus of our build here. 2 Storm groups, one of which has the red banner and Pyotr will help us storm and clear out our objectives, while the Rifle company sweeps in behind them to hold the point, lastly, Dmitry helps keep your troops moving forward with his upgraded 2+ rally buff... Supporting these efforts we have an additional group of Maksims for a firebase, the 82mm mortars to provide pinning and harassment on the charge, and a few 45mm AT guns to protect the flanks of the assault. While the massive guns of the pair of 203mm howitzers and the 152mm of the ISUs help brutalize any enemy troops dug in holding the buildings we want. This force will need to push forward fast, keep the Germans on the back foot and take the objective quickly through assaults and brutal close-range firepower. Counting on the cover and concealment of the urban battlefield along with the pinning of the enemy with our artillery and firebase.

We can't wait to see what you do with this exciting new formation!

~ Jacob Hopkins
Lack of Foresight Gaming