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Berlin: Soviet
Berlin: Soviet

Berlin: Soviet - Spotlight
with Wayne Turner

By April 1945 the Soviet Red Army had pushed to the Oder River, just on the doorstep of the German Capital, Berlin. On 16 April 1945 the Soviets launched the Berlin Offensive across the Oder. 

However, the Germans had not been idle and withdrew from the Oder River and took up positions on the Seelow Height on the most direct route to Berlin. Eventually the Soviet weight of numbers and firepower told and three German armies were thrown back from the Oder.

Stalin’s two leading Marshals, Zhukov and Koniev, then raced to be first to enter Berlin and to take its symbolic seat of power, the Reichstag. The German defence of the city was improvised, but stubborn. Street battles raged from block to block as German regular and auxiliaries fought to hold back the pride of the motherland. Leading the way are the Red Banner regiments, advancing with determination towards the Reichstag and total victory!

Berlin: Soviet is our second book covering the forces of the Soviet Union between 1944 and 1945 (Late-war) and its focus is the final battles of the Soviet Red Army against the Germans in Poland and Eastern Germany, as well as through Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.

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Inside you'll find:

Background histories cover Soviet advances through Poland and into German East and West Prussia, The Soviet defeat of Romania, the Battle for Hungary, and the Vienna Offensive. All culminating in the Battle for Berlin beginning on 16 April 1945 with the Berlin Offensive.

Berlin: Soviet includes a bunch of new Formations for Soviet players to field. 

Soviet: Berlin introduces the Emcha (or M4 Sherman) to the arsenal of the Soviet Union. This lend lease American tanks were sent in large quantities to aid the Soviet war effort. This M4 Sherman “Emcha” proved popular among the Soviet tankers and was issued to the Mechanised Corps. Famous tankers like Dmitriy Loza made names for themselves while fighting in the Emcha. Both the 75mm and 76mm armed M4A2 Shermans were sent to the Soviets so there are four formations available to field the Sherman. You can build an M4 Sherman (late) Tank Battalion, M4 Sherman (76mm) Tank Battalion, Hero M4 Sherman (late) Tank Battalion, Hero M4 Sherman (76mm) Tank Battalion. These Formations each have two to three tank companies that can be either M4 Sherman (late) or M4 Sherman (76mm) tanks. In addition, one of the tank companies can be armed with British lend-lease Valentine light tanks. Like T-34 battalions, these Formations also have access to ZSU M17 anti-aircraft half-tracks, 82mm mortars, 45mm, 57mm, or 76mm anti-tank guns, and SMG infantry.

M4 Sherman 'Emcha'

For these forces we have a new plastic kit to make the Soviet version of the M4 Sherman. Because the Soviets used diesel fuel for most of their tanks, they were sent to M4A2 Sherman, which has a diesel-powered engine. So, the new model kit includes a new hull top that combines with the existing M4 Sherman (late) (M4A3) kit. With these combined you can make both the 75mm and 76mm armed version of the Soviet M4 Sherman.

The book also includes two Forward Detachment formations, one based on the new M4 Sherman and the other based on the T-34. These formations combine elements of a Tank Battalion with those of a Motor Rifle Battalion to make a combined arms formation. With infantry and tanks making up the core of the formation, they also have access to their own SU-76 self-propelled artillery, mortars and anti-aircraft weapons.

Hero Guards Motor Rifle Battalion
The Hero Guards Motor Rifle Battalion lets you field a motor rifle battalion of truly hardened veterans. These troops are Veterans with a Skill rating of 3+ and an Assault rating of 2+. Though they have fewer troops, they are hard fighters and when combined with their Komissar (Motivation 3+) and their Formation Commander (rerolling their Failed Motivation) are very hard to stop.

Like all Motor Rifle Battalions, they have plenty of Formation weapon units including machine guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, reconnaissance infantry, armoured cars, anti-aircraft, and tanks.  The Hero Guards Motor Rifle Company also has a new option, allowing them to take optional captured Panzerfausts.

Hero Reconnaissance Company
The Hero Reconnaissance Company are the veteran elite of the Soviet spearheads. These troops have survived against the harshest odds, always leading the way in any advance. These Heroes are rated Fearless 3+ Motivation, Veteran 3+ Skill, and Careful 4+ Is Hit On, making the some of the best troops you can field in a Soviet Force. In addition, the Hero Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon also have For the Motherland, giving them 2+ in Assaults. The formation is built around a core of either Hero Armoured Reconnaissance Platoons or Hero Reconnaissance Platoons, with their own tanks, mortars, anti-tank guns, and BA-64 armoured cars.
IS-2 Late
Berlin: Soviet also includes two different options to field in the new IS-2 (late) heavy tank (IS-2 obr 1944). You can either field them in the IS-2 (late) Guards Heavy Tank Regiment, which has the same ratings as the earlier model IS-2 Guards Heavy Tank Regiment in Bagration: Soviet (Confident, Veteran, Aggressive). The formation includes two to four IS-2(late) Guards Heavy Tank Companies, and an infantry unit of a Guards Hero SMG Company, Red Banner SMG Company, or a Hero Engineer-sapper Company.

The second IS-2 (late) option is the Hero IS-2 (late) Guards Heavy Tank Regiment where their ratings are Fearless, Veteran, Careful. Like all Hero units, these are reduced in strength with three tanks in each Hero Guards Heavy Tank Company.

The key feature of the IS-2 (late) is its superior armour with Front 11 (over the IS-2’s Front 10). It is an Assault Tank so Counterattacks on 3+, or 2+ if a Hero Unit. It has an excellent 122mm gun with AT 14.

The option to build the IS-2 (late) is available in the IS-2 plastic kit, just use the hull top with the curved hull front.

Red Banner Rifle Regiment
The Red Banner Rifle Regiment represents the Soviet riflemen who did the hard work of fighting their way through the urban environment of Berlin (or Vienna or Budapest) against determined defenders to finally raise the red banner about the seat of German power. This Formation is built around a core of hardened veterans organised into either Red Banner Rifle Companies, or Red Banner Storm Groups. The formation backs these up with machine guns, mortars, assault tanks, storm guns, anti-tank guns, and scouts.

The Storm Groups are organised with a mix of PPSh SMG teams, PTRD anti-tank rifle teams, Maksim HMG teams and 82mm Mortars. Additionally, they can have Flame-throwers, and be equipped with Panzerfausts.

Both the Red Banner Rifle Company and Red Banner SMG Company can also be equipped with Panzerfausts on top of the usual mix of DP MG & M1891 rifle teams or PPSh SMG teams, and optional HMGs and Flame-throwers they have.

Red Banner Rifle Companies and SMG Companies units are rated Confident, Veteran, Careful. While the Storm Groups are Fearless, Veteran, Careful.

Red Banner Assault Tank Company
The Red Banner Assault Tank Company is an unusual unit put together to support the storm groups. It is made up of different armoured vehicles to provide mixed firepower. ISU-152 assault guns have the hitting power against buildings, while the T-34/85 tanks deal with tanks, guns and infantry.
Hero Engineer-Sapper Battalion
The final formation is the Hero Engineer-Sapper Battalion. Like the formation featured in Bagration: Soviet, these are specialised assault engineers. As the Soviet began to assault more defended large cities the Engineer-sappers were also used alongside the Storm Groups for assaulting urban areas. Their mix of SMGs, Flame-throwers and other heavy weapons make them ideal for this work. These troops are now vastly experienced and are rated Fearless, Veteran (with Assault 2+, Tactics 2+) and Careful. However, this makes them expensive, especially in larger units, so they should be used with great care and with good preparation and support.
M-10 Tank-killers

Berlin: Soviet also has a great selection of new Support Units, as well as many old favourites. Berlin: Soviet sees the introduction of the lend-lease M10 Tank-killer Battery. Enough M10s were sent to the Soviet to equip two Self-propelled Artillery Regiments. These were used with the 29th Tank Corps and 16th Tank Corps and saw action in Beylorussia, the Baltic, Poland, East Prussia, and Berlin. Like other Tank-killer units, their troops were highly motivated and experienced.

160mm Mortars
Another new unit is the 160mm Mortar Battery. The 160mm mortar is even more powerful than the 120mm, with a range of 56”/140cm and Firepower 2+. A great new model of this monster will also be available.
203mm Howitzer

Not mentioned above under the Red Banner Rifle Battalion, is the 203mm Howitzer. This can be fielded in two ways, either as part of the Red Banner Rifle Battalion Formation in a pair to give direct fire support to the Rifle Companies, SMG Companies, and Storm Groups, or as a support heavy artillery battery of two to four 203mm howitzers.

The massive artillery piece sits on its own caterpillar tracks, though it is not powered. As Artillery it can fire out to 88”/220cm range, has AT 4, and FP 2+. In direct fire it is truly devastating, with a range 16”/40cm, ROF 1/-, AT 13, FP AUTO, and Brutal!

OT-34 Flame-tank

Support Units also include ISU-122 and ISU-152 Heavy SP Batteries, Hero OT-34 Flame-tank Company, Hero T-70s, BA-64 armoured cars, SU-100 tank-killers, 45mm, 57mm, 76mm, and 100mm tank-killer companies, Katyusha Guards Rocket Batteries, 76mm, 122mm, and 152mm artillery batteries, Hero SU-76 Light SP Battery, BA-64 OP, and IL-2 Shturmovik assault companies.

Plus of course, you can take compulsory unit support from formations in both Berlin: Soviet and Bagration: Soviet of units you are not already fielding in your formation/formations.

Clash of Steel

There is a great selection of new releases to support these new formations, as well as plenty of older products that will have new life. The Soviet M4 Sherman (M4A2) mentioned above, the IS-2 (late) (already included with the IS-2 box), M10 tank-killer, 160mm mortar, 203mm howitzer, plus Dice & Token Sets, Unit Cards, and Command Cards.

The new Clash of Steel starter set includes everything two players need to get started on the Eastern Front in late-war, with a German and Soviet force that includes both infantry and tanks.

The New Soviet Starter Force is an M4 Sherman Forward Detachment and includes M4 Shermans, SU-100s, SU-76s, T-70s, Katyushas, ZSU M17 AA half-tracks and Hero Guards Motor Rifles.

There will also be a bunch of Direct Only releases for command card units.

It is also important to remember all the existing Soviet products that are still important for building forces from Berlin: Soviet, to which the catalogue at the back of the book is your helpful guide.

The Painting guide is a helpful starting point for colours for painting Soviet forces, and the Basing guide provides details on basing your infantry and gun teams.

The book also includes guides to terrain and city fighting (Click here for the full city fighting rules…).

There is also a Linked Campaign, a new Berlin-themed mission called Buying Time, and expanded Night Fighting rules with Dusk, Darkness, and Dawn.

The book is packed full of formations and units that can be used to enhance your current Soviet force, or to start something new.


~ Wayne

Last Updated On Thursday, February 16, 2023