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Author Topic: Advise for Playing the Polish Army using the Setting the East Ablaze Rule Sets  (Read 1523 times)

Offline vonksquared

  • Lurker
  • Posts: 2
Hi, I am looking to use the Setting the East Ablaze Rules for some 1920 Russo-Polish War games. Does anyone have any advise or resources for the Polish Army, such as an army guidance write up, an army list or such?  Ive seen some post from clubs gaming this war with these rules and I was hoping to tap into the established knowledge base. I am relatively new to this and any advise, or assistance would be greatly appreciated. 

« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 05:31:01 PM by vonksquared »

Offline trev

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 392
    • The Bits Box
Mark's Pygmy Wars site has quite a bit on the Polish front.  Not specifically for StEA but lots of data to work with, TOEs, uniform details, scenarios etc.


Offline Red Sveta

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 225
You should also have a look at Siberia Miniatures Forum, its full of lovely info.


Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 502
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Polish Cavalry Division, 1918-1921

Easier just to go to : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Cavalry_Division_(Poland)  . It's not like they had lots of them.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 04:19:10 AM by Mark Plant »

Offline SJWi

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 827
Some basic organisation data plus uniform plates can be found in the Osprey Men-at-Arms no 497 "Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21 "  by Nigel Thomas.

Offline Ignatieff

  • Moderator
  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2604
converting characteristics to Setting the East Ablaze is pretty straightforward.  Happy to help if needed
"...and as always, we are dealing with strange forces far beyond our comprehension...."

All limitations are self imposed.  Work hard and dream big.

Offline vonksquared

  • Lurker
  • Posts: 2
I was hoping someone else had worked out the characteristics for the Polish Army and used them in a game or two.   I find myself a bit too attached to the Polish side to be fair and impartial.

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2330
  • The Orient - is a tricky!
    • Studio "Siberia"
The Polish Troops Formation Sheet from the "Steel Thunderstorms" rules is a Russian home revision of the "Red Action!"
I apologize for the possible incorrect translation - if something is not clear, I can explain.

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 502
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
I've attached a schema of the Polish Infantry Division in 1920, although in practice most varied from this, sometimes quite a lot.

 I can give you the organisation and numbers of about six divisions/brigades in August 1920 if you are trying to do an actual unit.

Offline Pan Marek

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 154
I know what you mean.  I wouldn't trust myself on giving stats to Polish troops either.
And I'm looking to do the same thing you're doing.
Check out how the Red Actions rules handle Poles (the rules, and the cards with stats, are on the Pygmy Wars site).
Its not a skirmish set, but it may give you ideas.
But STEA does allow one to give stats for conscript types or veterans, and has traits
like stubborn or ferocious.
Many of the Polish troops facing off against the Bolsheviks in 1920 were very green.
But there were formations with alot of experience, like the Blue army or the Legions.
Polish leadership, historically, and in 1920, tended to be heroic to the point of foolhardiness.
There are traits in STEA that could model that.
Look at how the rules models other troops in the army suggestions in the back of the book.  You may need
to do some play testing so that you don't end up with a Polish army that wins every time.  After all, Warsaw
1920 was a close run thing. 
I also would point you to the Orkney Wargamers site.  They game STEA quite a bit.  One of these days, I
intend to try and contact them to see what they use for Polish stats.  They've played a number of
STEA games with Poles.
If you find anything good, come back and post it here!  Good luck!

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 502
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Assuming you are playing 1920, then relative to regular Soviets I suggest you make the veteran infantry better, the ordinary units the same and the massive number of volunteer and reserve units worse. The cavalry is better on the charge and worse at shooting, for the small number of veterans, or badly trained but insanely brave on the attack for the volunteers and reserve units. 

Their primary advantage wasn't numbers or individual fighting skill, it was at the technical and material level. They had better supply (especially as they fell back into the interior) and had far more technical means -- MGs, guns, armour, planes, trains (as the Soviets couldn't use their gauge).

During the Warsaw battles the Soviet communication system broke down totally, whereas the Poles generally had telephone and telegraph communications at least to division level, and often a lot lower.

As Marek says, the leadership tended to be very aggressive on attack, at every level. They were stubborn, and kept their morale even when defeated, but were often very passive on defense -- which got them into quite a lot of trouble in mid-1920.

If you are playing "back of beyond" games there are a few elements that differentiate the Poles. Priests in the front line. Female units (the Soviets had plenty of women soldiers, but not units). Tatar cavalry. Ukrainian allies (down south).

And you get Bulak-Bulachowicz, my favourite RCW character!

Offline Dr Bogo

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 99
I'm no expert on the Polish army in this period, but referring to Mark and Pan Marek's excellent advice above, I would suggest something along the lines of the following if you wanted to convert those characteristics into StEA:

Veteran infantry = C2 M2, rifles, bombs, 1 LMG per unit, possibly 'stubborn' or 'ferocious' depending on the scenario or if they are particularly crack troops.

Regular infantry = C3 M2/3, rifles, possibly with bombs and up to 1 LMG per unit if well-equipped. This could also apply to reasonable quality Soviet troops as well, i.e. solid but not fantastic. Once again small tweaks in terms of equipment or 'ferocious' or 'stubborn' can make a lot of difference on the table so use your judgement depending on the scenario/orbat you're trying to recreate.

Volunteer or reserve units = C4 M2/3, with modern rifles but otherwise on the equipment front I would defer to those who know the subject better than I - would these chaps have modern kit or be fairly poorly-equipped? In terms of their training and motivation, making them C4s makes them quite vulnerable in a firefight or advancing over open ground, but with M2 morale and possibly even a 'ferocious' rating they would be very hard to break while going forward. Would be interested to hear others' thoughts on this.

Cavalry could be either C2 or C3 with no LMGs to illustrate their deficiency in shooting capability, M2 to illustrate their bravery in the attack.

In terms of material advantage that should be fairly straightforward to represent, with tanks, armoured cars, aircraft etc. and possible making them of a better class than their Soviet opponents to illustrate foreign expertise and advisors.

Given StEA is itself a skirmish-level game I think you could best represent the comms and high command themes by scenario setup or if you're playing a campaign giving the Poles and Soviets appropriate penalties for overly-attack minded Polish leadership and the breakdown in Soviet comms.

As Mark says, StEA lends itself to a few of the more colourful units so +1 to that!

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 502
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
The volunteer and reserve units had the latest equipment but because they had been issued it very recently often didn't know how to use it well, so it should count as poorly equipped.

The mix of Russian, British, French, German and Austrian also caused issues across the board. So you'd get one unit with French rifles and lots of ammo beside another in the same regiment with German rifles and no ammo, or vice versa. I just read about a veteran ex "Blue" unit ditching their French MGs for captured Russian ones because getting parts was almost impossible. (Good luck finding figures in French uniforms firing Maxims though!)

Polish cavalrymen shot poorly, if at all. But they did have tachankas, at least from mid-1920, or pack MGs before that.

Offline LazyStudent

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 174
And you get Bulak-Bulachowicz, my favourite RCW character!

Must admit, I am not that aware of the RCW and post WW1 fighting. But a quick wikipedia read shows that this chap was insane! If only he had been properly supported the RCW might have been different. :D
"History is a set of lies agreed upon.
― Napoleon Bonaparte


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