Monday, 7 November 2016

Flames of War: Polish Cavalry - The Mounted Elements

So it occurred to me a good while ago that if I was ever going to be a Polish flames of war player I would never be able to take myself seriously unless I had sizeable options to fight from the back of a horse and over time this thought came to dominate my mind...
I decided that having spent at least a years graft knocking a Piechoty army (and all its variables) into shape I just had to go and do it again and as the Black Brigade were well known for having steeds with wheels I decided that it would just have to be a Polish Cavalry force...and I opted (as I believe I mentioned in my premature Polish Cavalry post) for the 19th Volhynian Uhlans who took such a central part in the Polish victory of the Battle of Mokra on 1st September 1939
As with my Piechoty I have decided to get everything I need to cover all options BUT this time I would need a lot less than I did with my Piechoty because:
i) Polish Cavalry are expensive in points so you don't need to buy so many figures
ii) They don't have a massive amount of variety in what they can field... so you don't need to buy so many figures
iii) Most of the vehicles that are required by the Cavalry I have already bought and painted up.. so I don't need to buy so many 'other' figures! :D
As I see the majority of my Cavalry fighting on foot the mounted elements were relatively limited so I limited myself to the Regimental Commander (being used as a Company commander), a platoon of Tzcankas and two platoons of mounted Uhlans of a single section each.
The complete mounted elements of the Pulk Kawaleria

The complete mounted elements of the Pulk Kawaleria (or Cavalry Regiment for those who don't speak Polish)

...and again, all of the cavalry's mounted elements.... seen from the side this time!

So going into a little more detail we'll start with some better shots of the Regimental Commander who is accompanied with the Regimental Banner Bearer whilst his 2iC is accompanied by the Bugler mounted on his grey charger!

After the commanders of these titans of Polish military come the actual coal face troops themselves. The troops that charged tanks with lances (or not as the case may be) and actually one Brigade which stopped two entire German Divisions for a day. 

The troops:

A Cavalry platoon with the Commander and protection section on the left with the platoons single section along with its Anti Tank rifle team arrayed to the right

Each platoon of cavalry was led by a platoon commander with a protection section. Seen here are the elements with my hand made pennants. We can see that the standard pennant for the 19th was a white and blue pennant whilst the 1st company command elements carried the same pennant with a red box on the inside edge

Another view of the Platoon Command

A closer look at the platoon commander with an opportunity to take a closer look at the 1st Company command pennant

A better look at the make up of a mounted section. We can see the four Uhlan bases with one lance per base (which follows the 25% of troops issued with lances in 1939) and the small anti tank rifle team which accompanies each section. 

A top down look at the complete platoon which is really just an excuse to look at the bases :D

A closer look at a couple of the Uhlan's bases!

One of the attached Anti Tank rifle teams. You can see the Anti tank rifle (wz.35 Ur) slung across the back here, barrel down as they were actually carried

A better look at the wz.35 Ur across the Uhlans back. This is an AT Rifle that was hacked off of a sniping figure. Polished up and strapped to the guys back. Looks good enough for what I wanted!
Last but not least, after the actual mounted infantry which is the bread and butter of Polish mounted troops comes one of the more interested troop types... the Tzcankas

From the time of World War 1 heavy machine guns were carried in carriages pulled by horse teams which enabled heavy support to keep up with the fast moving troops that were so common on the Eastern front.

Poland retained the idea until the fall of Poland in October 1939.

The full tzcanka platoon of 4 tzcankas

A look at the rear of the tzcanka... the business end!

A front view of the tzcanka showing the three horse team that they used.

A rear view of the tzcanka platoon.

So there we have it. All of the mounted elements are now complete and I'm already working on the dismounted elements starting with the dismounted infantry and horse holders. I'll do a post on them as soon as possible and then all I will need to do to complete my Pulk Kawaleria force is a platoon of anti tank guns and a battery of field guns.

Then... finally... I will do my 10BK! (next year maybe :D )

Long Live Poland!


  1. Nice work man! seeing these come together has been a real treat to watch! I especially like the banner barer and commander.

    I need to be careful following your blog, as I always finish reading and go "I could totally start a flames of war army...."!!

    1. Cheers Sam. These took some graft but because of the horses. The guys were dead easy... and I was just itching to do a small flag and pennants. I'm really pleased with them. If you started a FOW army at least you know at least one gamer in Ruislip and I suspect Jim would only need a nudge if he knew you wanted to play as he already has British airborne... the real difficulty is in choosing an army as there is just sooooo much cool stuff out there... anyway in 2017 the Black Brigade happens (Oh Yeah baby!!!!)

  2. Awesome work again, Lee. I'm loving those flags and pennants.

  3. would you recommend the Old Glory/True North tczanka or the Battlefront russian version?

    1. It's a tough call Joel. Principally because they are both appalling options. Neither look like the Polish tczanka that they used in 1939. The Battlefront horses are possibly the worst I have ever seen whereas the True North are possibly the best. The Battlefront tchanka in and of itself isn't a bad miniature and has a touch of class about it BUT the True North one has a lot more potential for conversion work because it's a painfully simple design. You can't use the Battlefront Cossacks and HMG as totally dissimilar BUT the True North crews are (unusually) worse than the Battlefront ones BUT they also provide figures that are both Polish and very useable. For me I would choose True North tczankas over the Battlefront ones simply because of what I can wring out of them...

    2. sorry for the late reply, I had forgotten I even asked this question! :) in the meantime, price was the deciding factor for me. I have a different problem than you, though- the horses are the real glaring issue. 2 horses per team are tiny, whereas two are huge. I thought about putting one large horse flanked by two small ones- but no draft team I've ever seen has done this(probably due to uneven strength). I may swap the horses out for comparable ones in my cavalry, but the saddle bags make them stand out. thinking of emailing the company, as there is no picture on their site I feel I have a case for complaint.

    3. Well if you are happy with the Battlefront Tzcanka but not the horses why dont you look at some of the other 15mm manufacturers that are out there, find some draft horses you like the look of (any Napoleonic or WW1 artillery draft horses would do I should think) and email the bu8siness with an inquiry to just buy some of the horses. Its only horrendously big companies with the Games Workshop business model that wont let you buy bits and pieces... as long as you go to the actual manufacturer ;)

    4. I would have never thought to do that- thanks for the advice! it's the TN tczanka that I purchased, by the way- not BF. the sculpts on their horses are fine, the size discrepancy is the only real issue with them. I was trying to be stingy with my choices, I may not get to though, ha ha.

    5. If you bought the same tczankas as me shouldn't you have the same horses as me? If so I grouped my running horses together and my standing horses together. Just made everything so much easier!

    6. I received no standing horses, only galloping ones. starting to think I got the wrong models. when I say the scale is off, I mean it's really off. the one pair looks slightly smaller than FIB, and the other pair looks almost 20mm in comparison. they're easily 50% larger.

    7. OK yeah that sounds pretty bad. Are you in the UK or the States Joel? I have no experience with the True North guys in the US apart from when I bought my original Poles almost 12 years ago but Andy in the UK that resells them is a top Gent. Very helpfull and always willing to listen.

      At the very least make sure that if you email them put a photo in there of the comparative size so you can back up what you are saying and perhaps mention which of the horse models you would prefer

      Bon Chance mon ami!

    8. in the States, I've emailed them once so I know they'll respond in a timely manner. btw I read your stuff about sculpting vehicles, do you an to sculpt any tczankas?

    9. Hey Joel, funny enough Ive been asked about the wz.25 Tczankas before and up to now Ive had no plans to sculpt them owing to the difficulty of sculpting the wheels. However when I start my Slovaks I need to learn how to do two part moulds for some of the artillery wheels which just look too cool for school and shouldnt be passed up on. I may find the time to sculpt some Tczankas then, but I have no plans to dip into that this year. My calendar is jam packed at the moment and Im swimming up river trying to make progress Im afraid :D

  4. I kinda figured they would be a bit complicated. I'm hanging on with bated breath for new BF Early War plastics, but knowing my luck it'll be last on the docket....
    looking forward to seeing your Slovaks! very glad you're as prolific as you are, plenty of pictures to drool over. once I get a few units finished I may start a blog to show them off myself.

    1. You're quite welcome Joel. I don't have many guys into this stuff in my neck of the woods so this and Facebook is where I find my community... and don't give up on the tczankas yet, stranger things have happened at sea LOL

  5. Yeah I gave to travel 2 hours just to play a game- trying to drum up interest in my area. hopefully 4th ed will get new people playing!