Next week brings the year's second supplement for Bolt Action with Campaign: Case Blue. Read on for the first of two blogs giving you some historical inspiration for painting up your armies...

This Campaign Book for the award-winning World War II wargame, Bolt Action, focuses on the new plan devised after the failure of Barbarossa to utterly defeat the Soviet Union, Case Blue. This plan involved pushing through the southern Soviet Union to reach the Caucasus and secure the oil fields that Germany so desperately needed. While initially there was great success and sweeping advances as the autumn began, the Axis advances began to falter in the wake of Soviet resistance and counter attacks, culminating in the battles in and around Stalingrad.

If you're looking to get build up your Soviet forces and get playing, why not start with Warlord Games' Soviet NKVD Squad set, pictured below, containing 10 metal figures.

A photo of fully painted miniature NKVD figures for the Bolt Action WW2 wargame from Warlord Games

And for some historical inspiration to use as a painting reference, here's an illustration by Johnny Shumate and caption from Osprey Publishing's Soviet State Security Forces 1917-46.

An illustration of variously high-ranking and equipped NKVD troops charging under a USSR banner and covering machine gun fire at the Battle of Stalingrad

"Stalingrad, 13 September 1942: a prone NKVD machine-gunner provides cover fire for four NKVD men as they mount a counter-attack as part of the 10th NKVD Internal Troops Rifle Division's effort to defend the Voroshilov district against strong German attacks on the centre of the city.

(1) Kapitan, NKVD Internal Troops: Armed with a 7.62mm Tokarev semi-automatic pistol, this NKVD captain wears the M1940 pullover for NKVD officers; it was identical to that used by the Red Army, though with the rank insignia of the Internal Troops. The two bars on his collar tabs represents his rank. His standard officer's ‘Sam Browne' belt carries only the holster for his pistol. His blue visor cap with red piping and band was the most distinctive element of the NKVD uniform, the colours and design not varying from the lowest enlisted man up to the most senior colonel.

(2) Serzhant, NKVD Internal Troops: Directly behind the leader of the attack is the NCO flag-bearer carrying the regiment's 1940-style unit banner. The reverse is shown, bearing the words ‘From the Supreme Soviet USSR'. The obverse of this pattern of flag bore the wording ‘Workers of the World Unite!' above a globe surrounded by a wreath. The regimental designation was displayed beneath the globe. Flags of this pattern were used until 1943, when a simpler-to-produce design was introduced for the Red Army and NKVD. This sergeant wears a Red Army M1940 shapka-ushanka, an M1940 pullover of coarser material than that worn by his captain, and a standard Red Army enlisted man's belt. His breeches are in the unpiped field style and are worn with a pair of Red Army enlisted man's boots.

(3) Enlisted man, NKVD Internal Troops: Armed with a 7.62mm Mosin-Nagant rifle, this NKVD man is dressed in a similar uniform to that of the NCO but wears his NKVD peaked cap.

(4) Enlisted man, NKVD Internal Troops: Bringing up the rear is an NKVD soldier wearing an SSh-36 helmet and the ‘steel bib' body armour. This style of armour was effective against small pistol rounds, shrapnel and bayonet attacks and was thus very popular for urban combat. It was often worn by combat engineers fighting in built-up areas; for field use, where the combat engineer often had to crawl, such armour was less effective. He carries the 7.62mm PPSh-41 submachine gun, commonly issued to NKVD Internal Troops and an excellent weapon for close-quarter fighting.

(5) Enlisted man, NKVD Internal Troops: Providing covering fire with his 7.62mm Degtyaryov DP-27 light machine gun, this member of the NKVD Internal Troops wears a blue padded telogreika jacket. When fighting against the Finns in 1939–40 the Red Army found that it lacked an adequate heavy winter jacket that was less cumbersome than the issue greatcoat. Observing the Finns wearing quilted padded jackets, the Soviet made their own versions in huge numbers; the telogreika jacket was issued in field drab for the Red Army and in blue for troops of the NKVD. Unlike the NKVD soldier to the rear who is using the outdated – but still used – SSh-36 helmet, this soldier wears the improved SSh-40 helmet, which was simpler to produce than the SSh-36 and by far the most commonly used helmet in all branches of the Soviet armed forces during World War II."
- Douglas A. Drabik & Douglas H. Israel, authors of Soviet State Security Forces 1917-46

Bolt Action: Campaign: Case Blue is out next week in the UK,
and will be out January 2024 in the US.

Pre-order now.

A footer banner for the WW2 miniatures wargame Bolt Action, with a photo of fully painted miniature soldier and tank figures alongside the text: "THE FIGHT CONTINUES! NEW SCENARIOS, NEW UNITS, SPECIAL RULES"