Monday, August 14, 2017

Back Among the Living

Just had another issue with my Ulcerative Colitis and spent the weekend in the hospital. Had to get a blood transfusion but am now well on the mend.

Being bored out of my skull did get me working on another project, the Second Battle of Kharkov in May 1942. This one is interesting as it involved a wide variety of units that are all worn out from the winter battles of 1941-42. The Soviets have hastily rebuilt units that are rushed to the front with bare minimum training that lack fuel, food and ammunition for an offensive that they launch anyway. The Germans are building up for their own offensive and are not much better situated logistically. The Germans rushed a rear area security division to plug holes in the front lines that features Czech equipment (MGs, rifles and the like) rather than German equipment. Provides some interesting modeling opportunities. Also Romanian and Hungarian units were used in prominent front line positions.

The Germans lacked sufficient anti-armor capabilities. The 3.7cm PAK and the 5cm PAK were still the main anti-tank weapons held by the divisions. Some Luftwaffe 8.8cm guns were availible. German armor was mostly older gear but some Panzer III Js and Panzer IV F2s were availible that were capable of dealing with the Soviet KV-1s and T-34s.

The Soviets fielded lend lease equipment in at least one of the Tank Brigades (90th Tank Brigade) that was equipped with Valentine and Matilda II tanks. Most of the equipment availible to the offensive was still older T-60 and T-70 tanks.

So the campaign is interesting in that it features two competing offensives. The German Operation Fridericus and the Soviet pincer to recapture Kharkov. The Soviets got their campaign under way first but they ran into a prepared German Army that was able to counter punch and deal a devastating blow to the Soviet Armies in the SouthWestern Front.

I have about 10 pages of notes that I wrote in the hospital that I need to transform into something usable. The background to the campaign will probably be done in a few days. The problem will be in picking units for the Chain of Command Campaign(s). The thought is that I would do it similar to my First Kharkov Campaign and offer multiple campaigns in the supplement to cover some of the action. But I have NO CLUE which units to cover yet. I am thinking of having at least one that features an Axis Ally such as the Romanians or Hungarians.

I have been busy shopping for books and came up with several useful tomes. One issue I have is that I am finding conflicting information out there. The Osprey book on the battle has some bad data about vehicles. It lists the Marder II with the Soviet 76.2mm gun as being present when they didn't reach the front until June.

Anyway, just a brief update. I have managed to paint one M1 Abrams tank for a Cold War project as well.


  1. Glad you're on the mend, best wishes for a speedy recovery

    Would this article be of use?


    1. Thanks. Feeling better each day.

      Thank you for the link. I had forgotten about that site. I will have to check into it.

  2. Take care of yourself and I hope make a speedy and complete recovery.